The American Institute of Funeral Service Associates
The American Institute of Funeral Service Associates offers a comprehensive, quality, Certification program for qualified applicants practicing as funeral service associates or assistants in a funeral home. Certification is by educational preparation and/or practice experience. The American Institute of Funeral Service Associates is a division of the American Academy of Grief Counseling.
NOTE: This certification program is for Funeral Service Associates/Assistants only. This program is not for any type of credential for licensed funeral directors.
- Request Information
- CEU Program for Certification
- FAQS: Frequently Asked Questions
- Code of Ethics for Certified Members
- Recertification Information
- Online Resource Board
- Contact Information
- Call for Course Authors/Instructors
Have questions? Join us on "live chat" online now! One of our advisors will be happy to assist you and respond to your questions: Access Now
The objectives of the American Institute of Funeral Service Associates are:
- Provide a high quality program of Certification for those practicing and employed as funeral service associates or assistants.
- Develop and support high standards of education and practice requirements for the attainment of certification and recertification.
- Provide the funeral service industry with a mechanism to support appropriate education, standards of practice and a code of ethics for those employed as funeral associates or assistants.
- Provide the funeral service industry with a means to evaluate and support education and continuing education for quality practice as a funeral service associate or assistant.
- Provide a mechanism for the ongoing involvement of a peer advisory board of qualified professionals to oversee program development and requirements for certification and recertification.
- Provide society with a mechanism to ascertain the appropriate education, skills, knowledge and experience required by those who are employed in the funeral services industry as funeral associates or assistants.
- Establish quality standards and requirements for the recertification of credentialed members, attesting to ongoing education and skill attainment in the practice specialty of funeral services.
- Provide a comprehensive program of approvals for continuing education, seminars, offerings, independent study, and other related educational activities, to ensure high quality standards are met and that such programs are of value to those practicing as funeral associates or assistants.
Certified Funeral Service Associate - requires attainment and/or verification of one of the following certification criteria:
- Completion of an official, established education program to prepare individuals for practice and employment as a Funeral Services Associate or Assistant, working under the direct supervision of a licensed funeral director. Educational programs must have provided a minimum of 200 contact hours of lecture/study. Candidates for certification must present valid evidence of successful completion of such program of study. The administrative review board will review and approve programs on an individual basis. Once a program is approved, it will be published as "approved" by the American Institute of Funeral Service Associates. Programs submitted for approval consideration must have their curriculums specifically based in funeral services education and must include courses and education on grief, grief counseling, the role of the funeral associate and education on universal precautions and other related standards when assisting a licensed embalmer.
To view approved programs and courses, click here.
Candidates, who can demonstrate evidence of successful completion of such programs within a seven (7) year period, prior to the date of application for certification, may be eligible to receive the certification. Such programs may include university and college based courses, continuing education courses and/or programs, seminars, and distance learning programs, etc.
- Certification by Validation of Practice Experience. - this option allows those applicants who are employed currently as a funeral service associate or assistant to apply for Certification by “practice experience” and examination.
Criteria and Requirements for Certification by Practice Experience:
(1) The applicant must be currently employed as a funeral service associate/assistant working under the direct supervision of a licensed funeral director. The employment period must be at a minimum, the equivalent of three years or more of full-time employment/experience in the position.
(2) Applicants must have practice experience in working directly with the public, the families of the deceased, and must have experiences related to assistance of the licensed funeral director in all aspects of funeral services practice, where appropriate for a funeral service associate. This includes assisting with pick ups, preparation of bodies, working with bereaved families and individuals, visitations, full service funerals and burial, and other related duties as allowed by applicable laws and under the direct supervision of a licensed funeral director and/or embalmer.
(3) Applicants must present a comprehensive written recommendation to be considered for certification by the licensed funeral director that they are working with. This recommendation must attest to; (a). the number of years of full-time employment and practice experience as a funeral service associate or assistance, (b). the exact duties of the funeral service associate/assistant, and (c). an evaluation of the applicants level of skills and knowledge related to funeral service assisting, as well as attestation of the applicants adherence to a high standard of ethics in their role as a funeral service associate/assistant. The written recommendation and attestation by the licensed funeral director must be properly notarized by a notary of public.
(4) Applicants must complete the online course "Death, Dying and Mourning," as provided by the American Academy of Grief Counseling. Course information may be accessed at this red link. Or, applicants must have evidence of completion of a college level course related to Grief Counseling, of at least 3 semester hours of credits and must have official transcripts sent to us detailing this course completion.
Certification-Identification & Credentials
Those applicants who met the requirements as defined above will become certified by the American Institute of Funeral Service Associates, and may use the initials, C- FSA after their name (Certified Funeral Service Associate).
All certifications shall be for a period of 3 years from the date that the initial certification is granted.
POLICIES OF THE AIHCP, INC: access here
Affiliate degree Option
Our affiliate, The Graduate Theological Foundation, offers qualified and "certified" Funeral Service Associates of the American Institute of Funeral Service Associates, to enter their Masters in Pastoral Counseling (MPC) program. This graduate level degree program in Pastoral Counseling focuses on a major in Funeral Services. The M.P.C. degree is designed for the already credentialed ministry professional working in the various fields of counseling. Such fields would include school, parish, healthcare and counseling institutions. Registered Nurses are also eligible for enrollment into the graduate degree program.
For detailed information: access here
Certified members may receive recertification at the expiration of their three year term by one of the following means:
Obtaining 30 or more hours of continuing education within the three year period of certification. Continuing education programs must be completed in courses that are directly related to the practice of funeral services, including but not limited to, grief counseling, bereavement education, infection control, business practice, etc. The American Institute of Funeral Service Associates provides its members the opportunity to enroll into online courses that will meet this requirement.
Those applicants who have successfully achieved certification or recertification by the American Institute of Funeral Service Associates will receive a large size official Certificate attesting to certification, as well as an official letter of notification. The certificate is suitable for framing and details the official professional certification title, initials that may be used, and time frames for certification. Those recertifying receive a new, updated certificate.
Standards & Code of Ethics
The Code of Ethics for Certified Funeral Service Associates may be viewed online by clicking here. The Code of Ethics is approved by the Governing Board and the Advisory Board of the American Institute of Funeral Service Associates. All certified members are required to adhere to the Code of Ethics at all times in their practice/employment as a funeral service associate/assistant.
The certification fee for Certified Funeral Service Associates is $ 175.00 for the three year term of certification. Payment in full is due at the time of application. If the candidate’s application is denied, the applicant will be fully refunded. Major credit cards are accepted. Check and money orders are to be payable to: The American Institute of Health Care Professionals, Inc.
Applications must be complete and include official transcripts verifying award of courses according the requirements for certification. For those applying for the practice experience option, the completed recommendation/reference by the supervising licensed funeral director and the application for the examination proctor, must accompany the completed application. Please print application and submit to:
The American Institute of Funeral Service Associates
C/O The American Institute of Health Care Professionals, Inc.
2400 Niles-Cortland Rd. SE, Suite # 3
Warren, Ohio 44484
Updated: February 2010