Developed in 1998 by the Government and Legal Affairs Task Force of the International Cemetery and Funeral Association


Occupational licensing by state regulatory authority is a common practice in many professional fields, which includes the licensing of funeral directors and embalmers. In order to qualify for a professional license, individuals generally have to satisfy certain requirements, such as achieving a specified educational level, undergoing specialized training, completing an apprenticeship or internship in their field, and passing certain professional examinations.

In today’s mobile society, many licensed professionals have recognized that it is desirable to be able to transfer their licenses when they relocate to a new state. Qualified funeral directors and embalmers, who have previously satisfied fundamental requirements when they entered their professions, should also have the ability to apply for reciprocal licenses.

Since specific licensure requirements for funeral directors and embalmers vary from state to state, this guideline attempts to standardize the criteria for reciprocal licenses to help promote universal acceptance of this concept. In those states with separate licensing for funeral directors and embalmers, corresponding reciprocity requirements could also be bifurcated.


  1. A funeral director or embalmer making application for a reciprocal license should furnish the new state regulatory authority with proof that they:
    • a valid license from another state;
    • Have graduated from an accredited program in mortuary science; and
    • Have passed a nationally recognized examination.
  2. The new state regulatory authority should obtain a certified statement from the state regulatory authority where the applicant is licensed attesting to the applicant’s qualifications and certifying the following:
    • That the applicant’s license is in good standing and that there are no pending disciplinary actions relating to the existing license;
    • That the applicant has never been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor related to the practice of funeral directing, embalming, or consumer fraud; and
    • That the applicant had experience as a licensed funeral director or embalmer in the former state for a specified number of years.
  3. The applicant for a reciprocal license should pass a written examination covering applicable laws in the reciprocating state.
  4. When the applicant has satisfied the above requirements, the regulatory authority should not unreasonably withhold issuance of a reciprocal license.
  5. If there is a prerequisite for completion of an apprentice or intern program contained in the reciprocating state law, this requirement should be waived based upon the former state regulatory authority’s certification that the applicant has prior experience as a licensed funeral director or embalmer for a specified number of years.