Apprenticeship Diploma Program
The Funeral and Allied Health Services,
Apprenticeship Model Diploma program is available to students who are registered as both funeral director and embalmer apprentices with the Nova Scotia Board of Registration of Embalmers and Funeral Directors.
In Nova Scotia, the duration of a funeral director apprenticeship is a minimum of twelve (12) months and for graduates of the NSCC pre-apprenticeship program the minimum duration is six (6) months. Apprenticeship model students however, may be eligible to take the written and practical funeral director exams within the first year of the program. This is providing they have met the apprenticeship requirements outlined in the Regulations of Embalmers and Funeral Directors Act for Nova Scotia. Apprenticeship requirements include providing documented proof of participation in 25 funerals, 25 assisted arrangements, 25 arrangements and 25 committals to the Board of Registration for consideration.
The minimum requirement for the embalmer apprenticeship is fourteen (14) months for graduates of the pre-apprenticeship program, with a minimum participation in 25 embalming procedures. However, apprentices enrolled in the apprenticeship model program are only eligible to complete the licensing examinations once the requirements of the NSCC Apprenticeship Model Program and the Nova Scotia Board of Registration of Embalmers and Funeral Directors have been met.
Funeral procedures and embalming procedures participation forms are provided to the apprentices by both the Board of Registration and NSCC program faculty. It is the responsibility of the apprentice to maintain a record of his or her participation and to insure that the supervising licensed mentor(s) has signed and dated each form. It is essential that the information provided by the apprentice reflects the learning for each case while maintaining the confidentiality of the patient, client family and funeral home.
Periodically, the NSCC program faculty will review the apprenticeship documentation to better assess learning, potential challenges for both the apprentice and the mentor(s) and the development of skills throughout the period of apprenticeship. The communication between NSCC program faculty and the licensed mentor(s) is important in insuring the success of the apprenticeship participants in the Apprenticement Model Diploma Program.
The courses provided by the NSCC are offered through on-line delivery to the apprentice and are intended to provide a theoretical basis for the embalming and funeral procedures performed at the funeral home under the direction of a licensed mentor. Apprentices and mentors are often invited to attend seminars at the NSCC Kingstec Campus or to join the on-site pre-apprenticeship model students on field trips within the province. These in-house opportunities enhance the learning for the apprentice and provide for networking opportunities with other students. Courses such as Suicide Crisis Intervention, required for program completion, is scheduled several times throughout the year at the Kingstec Campus with offerings at NSCC Campuses throughout Nova Scotia.
The course offerings for the diploma program cover all aspects of funeral directing and embalming beginning with the seven foundation courses. The foundation courses are pre-requisite courses for all remaining program courses. Transfer credits and Recognized Prior Learning credit applications are available.
Diploma Program Courses
The first seven (7) courses listed below are the foundation courses.
Anatomy and Physiology
Medical Terminology Introduction to Funeral Services
Introduction to Funeral Services
Embalming Theory 1
Restorative Art 1
Embalming Theory 11/Restorative Art 11 (separate credits but offered as a combined course)
Funeral Rites 1
Funeral Rites 11
Mortuary Law 1
Mortuary Law 11
Psychosocial Aspects of Death & Dying 1
Psychosocial Aspects of Death & Dying 11
Theoretical Applications 1 (first year documentation assessment)
Theoretical Application 11 (second year documentation assessment)
The pass mark for all funeral and embalming specific couses is 75% in keeping with the standard established for licensing in Nova Scotia. Please review the list of courses above with your apprentice to better determine when he or she is eligible to complete the program.
Although the program courses and the apprenticeship run simultaneously, the theory covered in the courses and the learning opportunities at the funeral home may not always be in sync, therefore it is important that licensed mentor(s) is willing to demonstrate and to explain process, as well as to encourage the apprentice to ask questions relevant to each case. The apprentice should be encouraged to apply theory to practice in order to develop skills in the preparation room and in meeting with the client families, and the general public.
The funeral home's policies and procedures should be clearly outlined and reviewed with the apprentice. These may include:
Application of universal precautions
Use of funeral home vehicles
Funeral protocol, chemical preferences
Cavity and viscera treatment
Requirements for identification of human remains
Occupational health and safety
Funeral home maintenance
Funeral arrangements - protocol and documentation (legal and funeral home specific)
Hours of work and daily responsibilities
Expectations of the apprentice
Since the apprentice is balancing both the apprenticeship requirements and the program courses simultaneously, it is helpful if the apprentice is supported to work on course requirements during quiet times at the funeral home, only after all work commitments have been met.
To convenience the apprentice and the funeral home mentor(s), course tests and exams may be proctored by a licensed funeral director/embalmer in-house.
Following a review of the medical certificate of death on the registration of death form, mentors may consider discussing with the apprentice the following information relative to the case at hand:
Ante-mortem and post mortem changes
Potential embalming challenges (ie. Purge, tissue gas, jaundice)
Intrinsic and extrinsic variables
Determined pressure and rate of flow
instruments and supplies
Anticipated causes of intravascular and extra-vascular resistance
Restorative procedures required
An outline of additional apprentice/mentor learning activities is available that include statistical case reports and apprenticeship documentation check list.