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Policies: Funeral and Cemetery Board

Board policies direct activities in the following areas:

5-year limit for funeral director and embalmer interns

Interns have up to 5 years to gain experience for licensure as a funeral director or embalmer. If an intern registers and renews annually, their registration won't be renewed after the expiration date of their fifth license.

If a registered intern doesn't renew their registration and then reapplies as an intern, their experience will be calculated based on the number of years they were registered and active as an intern, not to exceed 5 years of cumulative experience.

All fees to maintain their registration in good standing are applicable during their registration period.

Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board, 1/25/2011

Annual report documents

WAC 308-49-170(2) Annual statement requirements

The board waives the need for a balance sheet and a profit and loss statement to be filed with the annual report for funeral establishments.

This policy will be implemented no later than July 1, 2014 and will be in effect until such time as the board formally adopts administrative rules.

Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board, 5/6/2014

AIDS prevention and information education requirements

RCW 18.39.175: Board - Duties and responsibilities - Rules

The Continuing Education Policy adopted by the Funeral and Cemetery Board in November 2011 replaces all of the requirements outlined in WAC 308-48-350 AIDS prevention and information education requirements.

POL 175-2 Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board, 8/14/2012

Archiving incomplete applications

RCW 18.39.035: Applicant for license as a funeral director or embalmer - Eligibility

If a licensing applicant fails to complete the licensing process and his/her records show no activity for 5 consecutive years, the board will consider the application abandoned. No activity includes, but isn't limited to:

  • Failure to submit the required documents within 5 consecutive years from the receipt of the most recent information submitted.
  • Failure to provide the board with any written communication during 5 consecutive years indicating the applicant is attempting to complete the licensing process.
  • If the application is considered abandoned, it may be archived or destroyed, and the applicant will be required to reapply for licensure and comply with the licensing requirements in effect at the time of reapplication.

POL 35-2 Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board, 8/14/2012

Professional development requirements

RCW 18.39.175: Board - Duties and responsibilities - Rules

The board adopts the requirements outlined below to meet the statutory professional development requirement for renewing licenses for funeral directors, embalmers, funeral director interns and embalmer interns.

This policy will be implemented no later than July 1, 2012 and will govern professional development requirements until such time as the board formally adopts administrative rules on these standards.

  • To maintain active practice, licensees must accumulate 5 hours of professional development hours (PDH) for the upcoming 1-year renewal period.
  • The PDH accumulated is subject to audit by the board.
  • Licensees are responsible to seek out qualifying activities that can be demonstrated to the board as relevant to professional development.
    • Activities are not pre-approved by the board.
    • Activities must be relevant to the practice of funeral directing (for licensed funeral directors and funeral director interns) or embalming (for licensed embalmers and embalmer interns) and may include technical, ethical or managerial content.
    • All activities must have a clear purpose and objective that will maintain, improve or expand skills and knowledge relevant to the practice of the profession(s).
  • The board is the final authority with respect to claimed qualifying activities and the respective PDH credit.
  • The qualifying activity becomes eligible for credit upon completion of the given activity.
  • Licensees must maintain the records of the professional development activities. The records must include the date of the activity, the provider's name, a description of activity and its location and the number of PDH.
  • Licensees must keep their records for the cumulative time in the current renewal period plus the 2 years before the last renewal (3 years total).
  • By renewing a professional funeral director license, embalmer license, funeral director intern license or embalmer intern license, the licensee attests they have completed the required professional development for that renewal period.
  • The board will audit a random sample of licensees yearly. If a licensee is selected for an audit, the board will provide instructions about how to respond.
  • Licensees may face disciplinary action for failing to complete the professional development requirement or falsifying PDH records.
  • If an audit disqualifies credits that a licensee reported to the board and results in them failing to complete the PDH requirements, the board may require the shortage to be made up over a period of time established by the board.
Former requirements
Former requirement Policy adopted 11/15/11
10 hours of PDH are needed every 2 years as a condition of license renewal.
WAC 308-48-530 (1)

5 hours of PDH are needed every year as a condition of license renewal.

This aligns the PDH reporting to the actual renewal period (1 year). The total number of hours per year is unchanged.

If a licensee's license has lapsed for less than 1 year, they must submit 10 hours of PDH. If the license has lapsed for over 1 year, the licensee must present evidence of completing at least 10 hours of approved PDH for the 2-year period prior to his/her reinstatement.
WAC 308-48-540

If a licensee's license has lapsed for less than 1 year, they must submit 5 hours of PDH. If the license has lapsed for over 1 year, the licensee must present evidence of completing at least 10 hours of qualifying PDH for the 2-year period prior to his/her reinstatement.

This aligns the PDH reporting to the actual renewal period (1 year).

If the licensee doesn't submit evidence of completion of 10 hours of PDH for the last renewal period, his/her license won't be renewed.
WAC 308-48-530 (3)

When licensees renew, they attest they have completed their PDH as a condition of their renewal. If an audit shows they failed to complete the PDH, or had inappropriate PDH, the licensee may have to make up the hours and may face disciplinary action.

This change asks:

  • Licensees to certify their PDH upon renewal, e.g., "By renewing of my license to practice as a Professional Funeral Director, I affirm I have complied with the requirements for professional development as provided in RCW X and WAC X."
  • For evidence of PDH upon random audit.
Licensees shall submit an affidavit certifying compliance with the PDH requirement with their renewal fee every 2 years.
WAC 308-48-550

Licensees shall submit an affidavit certifying compliance with the PDH requirement for the previous year when they renew their licenses.

This aligns the PDH reporting to the actual renewal period (1 year).

Licensees must maintain the evidence of their PDH, and have it available for inspection at their place of employment.
WAC 308-48-560

Licensees must keep their PDH records for the current renewal cycle, plus the previous 2 renewal cycles (3 years total).

This identifies a time period for PDH record retention.

Licensees must have at least 4 PDH hours in AIDS education.
WAC 308-48-350

Licensees must participate in one hour of OSHA/WISHA* training annually.

This replaces the obsolete AIDS education requirement with annual OSHA/WISHA training.*

  • Licensees must submit PDH activities to the board for approval before participating in the activity.
  • The board must pre-approve a licensee's PDH activities and certify the number of PDH hours awarded for participation.
WAC 308-48-580 and WAC 308-48-600
  • Board staff doesn't pre-approve PDH activities.
  • Board staff will provide guidance about how to document the CE activities.
  • Board staff will evaluate the activities on random audit after the licensee has renewed.

This change:

  • Puts the responsibility of deciding appropriate activities on the licensee, with the exception of the annual OSHA/WISHA* training.
  • Allows the licensee to participate in PDH activities without waiting for approval.
First PDH documentation is needed 2 years after initial licensure.
WAC 308-48-520

No change.

Note: Licenses are issued when an applicant meets all licensing requirements. However, the first renewal is the licensee's next birthday, meaning the first license period may be slightly more or less than a year.

PDH credits in excess of 10 hours earned in any renewal period may not be carried forward to another renewal period.
WAC 308-48-530 (2)
No change.
The board can waive all or part of a licensee's PDH requirement for specific cause, with verification from the licensee.
WAC 308-48-570
No change.
PDH activities must contribute directly to the professional competency of the licensee and be conducted by reputable trainers.
WAC 308-48-590
No change.

*Occupational Safety and Health Administration/Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (OSHA/WISHA) training includes sections on blood-borne pathogens, formaldehyde standards, hazard communications, personal protective equipment, respirator use, etc.

Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board, 11/15/2011

Contract portability

RCW 68.50.160: Right to control disposition of remains

The board clarifies that the right for consumers to change providers (contract portability) isn't the same as the "place and method of disposition," as defined in RCW 68.50.160. Licensees must permit the release of human remains to another provider if requested by a decedent's family, even though a prearrangement contract exists.

Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board, 8/23/2011

Defining capital gains and income

The board adopts the following definitions for the purpose of financial examination:

  • Capital gains means principal.
  • Income includes "earnings" from other endowment care investments, especially in mixed investment situations.

Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board, 8/23/2011

Eliminating off-setting

Effective immediately, the board eliminates the practice of off-setting deposits against withdrawals. Deposits must be made not later than the 20th day of the month following receipt of each payment due.

Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board, 8/23/2011

Endowment care collection for placement in a scattering garden

If the scattering of remains is offered at no cost, no endowment should be collected. If there is a cost associated with the scattering, even if it is waived by the cemetery, then endowment should be collected.

Funeral establishment advertising

RCW 18.235.130: Unprofessional Conduct - Acts or conditions that constitute

The Board doesn't consider the use of P.O. Box numbers in funeral establishment advertising as:

  1. False, deceptive or misleading advertising
  2. Constituting unprofessional conduct

Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board, 8/10/2010

Funeral establishments must comply with OSHA standards

Funeral Establishments are subject to several state and federal laws requiring procedures for safe handling of human remains. The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Administration (OSHA) requires employers to have a written Exposure Control Plan if their employees have exposure to potentially infectious materials. The information contained in this plan is established by OSHA 1910.1030, which also defines human remains as potentially infectious materials. Chapter 246-500 WAC contains further requirements for handling of human remains. Because staff employed by funeral establishments have occupational exposure to human remains, the Funeral & Cemetery Board requires all funeral establishments to comply with OSHA and WAC standards. Failure of a funeral establishment to comply with state and federal standards is considered a violation of professional conduct under RCW 18.39.410 and RCW 18.235.130 and may result in sanctions.

Identification of human remains by unlicensed individuals

The Funeral and Cemetery Board will allow an unlicensed individual to open cremation containers and unwrap human remains prior to cremation, for the sole purpose of making final identification. If any action beyond identification is required, that action must be performed by a properly licensed individual.

Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board, 6/11/2013

Military training or experience

RCW 18.39.570: Military training or experience

The board will evaluate applicants with military training or experience on a case by case basis to determine if the experience/training meets the licensing requirements.

Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board, 1/10/2012

Recognized subject categories

RCW 18.39.045: College course requirements

The board recognizes the following college course subject categories as meeting the educational requirements outlined in RCW 18.39.045.

Social Science

(Subjects with ** can apply as both a Social Science and a Behavioral Science course.)

  • American Cultural Studies
  • American Indian Studies
  • Anthropology**
  • Asian American Studies
  • Communications
  • Economics
  • Environmental Studies
  • Forest Resources
  • Geography
  • Government
  • History**
  • Human Services
  • International Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Music
  • Political Science
  • Psychology*
  • Religion
  • Social Studies
  • Social Work
  • Sociology**
  • Speech Communications
  • Urban Design and Planning
  • Women Studies

Behavioral Science

  • Anthropology
  • History
  • Liberal Studies
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Women Studies

Elective Courses

  • Behavioral Sciences (see list above)
  • Public Speaking
  • Counseling
  • Business Administration and Management
  • First Aid

Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board, 11/6/2012. Policy 18.39.045-1

Reporting Internship Registration and Termination

The intern/sponsor relationship is between individuals, not between an individual and a business entity. Therefore WAC(1) 308-45-200 is clarified as follows:

The responsibility for notifying the director, Department of licensing of internship registration and termination rests with the sponsor. In order to protect the status of the intern in cases where the employing licensee fails to initiate the required report of registration or termination, the affected intern should initiate and ensure submission of same. The notification shall be certified by signature of the sponsor.

Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board, 11/6/2012. Policy 18.39.035-3

Required Embalmings for Internship

The board shall consider the embalming of at least 25 human remains during a 2-year training course under the supervision of a licensed embalmer to satisfy the requirement under RCW 18.39.035.

Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board, 11/6/2012. Policy 18.39.035-3

Qualifying activities for interns and sponsor responsibilities

The board recognizes the following tasks provide interns the appropriate experience to assist in obtaining licensure as a funeral director or embalmer, and expects interns to complete these activities at a minimum during the course of the internship

Funeral director intern activities

  1. Receive initial notification of death.
  2. Remove remains from place of death.
  3. Wear protective clothing/observe universal precautions.
  4. Obtain the identity of remains/place identification on remains.
  5. Comply with embalming/refrigeration regulations.
  6. Observe funeral arrangements.
  7. Conduct arrangement conference.
  8. Gather vital statistic information.
  9. Compose obituary/death notices.
  10. Obtain authorizations for embalming, cremation, release etc.
  11. Obtain burial transit permit.
  12. Complete Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected.
  13. Plan and coordinate service and disposition details.
  14. Present and explain a General Price List.
  15. Present and explain Casket price list.
  16. Present and explain Outer Burial Container price list.
  17. Determine financial responsibility.
  18. Document and remove personal effects.
  19. Complete and file death certificate.
  20. Obtain certified copies of death certificate.
  21. Explain FTC requirements.
  22. Explain Social Security and VA benefits.
  23. Assist with visitation.
  24. Assist with funeral/memorial or graveside service.
  25. Receive and arrange flowers.
  26. Viewing room set-up.
  27. Make disposition arrangements.
  28. Maintain appropriate licensing.
  29. Maintain confidentiality of information.
  30. Coordinate funeral service participants (clergy, military, etc.)
  31. Prepare and present honorariums/gratuities.
  32. Conclude service and dismiss attendees.
  33. Arrange casket/urn settings.
  34. Confirm identity of decedent prior to disposition.
  35. Complete disposition of cremated human remains.

Embalmer intern activities

  1. Wear protective clothing/universal precautions.
  2. Obtain identity of decedent.
  3. Bathe and disinfect remains.
  4. Obtain or verify embalming authorization.
  5. Place and position deceased on embalming table.
  6. Relieve rigor mortis.
  7. Clean and inventory personal effects.
  8. Perform pre-embalming case analysis.
  9. Select and mix embalming fluids.
  10. Shave the deceased.
  11. Set features.
  12. Make incision.
  13. Locate and raise vessels for injection/drainage.
  14. Inject vessels.
  15. Establish fluid distribution.
  16. Establish drainage.
  17. Treat discolorations, bruises, lacerations.
  18. Suture incisions.
  19. Perform autopsy repair (thoracic/abdominal).
  20. Cranial autopsy repair.
  21. Aspirate and inject/treat cavities.
  22. Trocar button/suture.
  23. Suture autopsy incision.
  24. Cosmetize remains.
  25. Dress remains.
  26. Restorative art.
  27. Inject tissue filler.
  28. Dispose of bio-hazardous waste.
  29. Hypodermic treatment.
  30. Place remains in casket/container.
  31. Treat orifices.
  32. Groom hands and nails.
  33. Remove medical devises/implants.
  34. Post embalming clean-up.
  35. Wrap and/or pouch remains.

The board also recognizes that sponsors have responsibilities to provide meaningful evaluation during the internship and will ensure their interns also meet these expectations:

  • Maintain confidentiality of information.
  • Comply with laws, rules, and regulations governing funeral service and business operations.
  • Comply with OSHA standards.
  • Comply with laws, rules, and regulations regarding pre-arrangement sales and funding contracts.
  • Maintain awareness of changes in funeral service law.
  • Apply an understanding of funeral service law.

Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board, 11/6/2012, revised 8/5/14

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