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Missouri Funeral Legislation: Lowering the Bar


The current shortage of qualified workers has caught up with the death care industry.  Funeral home owners are finding it difficult to fill open positions.  Salary demands are rising, and industries competing for death care workers can offer perks that funeral homes find difficult to match.   While the death care industry has been notorious for having long hours and low pay, some in the industry instead blame licensing standards.  The Missouri funeral directors association has taken that bait and proposed legislation that would eliminate testing for the licensure of funeral directors and embalmers.  SB348 would instead authorize licensure through apprenticeships.    Missouri is one of those states with low education standards for death care licenses and no continuing education requirements.   So, the legislation would further lower the bar by eliminating testing.  A Missouri FD license would not go very far in assuring employers that an applicant is “qualified”.   The prospective employee’s training would only be as good as the individual that supervised his or her apprenticeship.   This would seem to cement, at least for Missouri, that funeral directing is more a trade than a profession.


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