Foundation Program

BC Funeral Service Foundation Program for Embalmer and Funeral Director

Personal. Connecting. Meaningful. Mentoring. Rewarding. Compassionate.

These are words Funeral Service Professionals use to describe the personal satisfaction they receive in their daily activities.

Some of the many rewards of being a funeral service professional include the chance to give solace to grieving families and provide compassionate support at a time of need.

A career in funeral services is a true apprenticeship process which allows you to:

  • Obtain an education which may be paid for by your employer
  • Part of your education includes work-based training, which is compensated by the employer
  • Apply your education immediately and develop practical on the job skills

» Select Your Route To A Career In Funeral Service

Learn through the words of funeral service professionals in this brochure. We hope to inspire you to consider embarking on this as a career choice, or to give back to your profession as a Mentor.

» Honouring Lives Lived

If you are interested in learning more about the profession, please contact us at


Registration for the 2017/2018 Foundation Program is open from June 1 until June 30, 2017. The application package and additional program information can be downloaded HERE 

Foundation Funeral Services Program

An optional entry to the funeral service profession is offered by the Foundation Program. This option is intended to provide an introduction to the basic theory needed for study/ employment in the Funeral Service Profession prior to securing employment as an Embalmer, Funeral Director or both. The program is delivered in a variety of formats combining in-school and on-line studies, all designed to meet the competency standards of a Level One apprentice. Upon completion of the Foundation Program, graduates will need to find employment, register as a Level Two apprentice and complete the work experience requirement for Level One and Level Two of their chosen program.

The Foundation program will require three years to complete rather than the two years a licensed apprentice will require to complete their program.

The BC Funeral Services Foundation Program is a formal training program that involves pre-employment academic study for one year. Following the successful completion of academic study, students must obtain full time employment as a funeral services apprentice in order to continue the program and obtain their license.

The British Columbia Funeral Association is the training service provider for the BC Funeral Services Foundation Program and under Agreement with the Industry Training Authority who funds a portion of the foundation student’s tuition fees.

Our Education Programs Mission Is:

“To train funeral service apprentices through quality apprenticeship education programs and support employers to meet the training needs.”

Academic Study and Practical Experience

The formal training program consists of two equally important parts: academic study and practical (work-based) experience. In the foundation program, the first year of academic study is completed first, with the second year of study and first year of work based experience following. A further year is required in order to complete the balance of the work based requirement.

In some cases, a foundation student obtains employment midway through their first year of academic study and becomes an apprentice documenting work based experience. This is a seamless transition and allows for the completion of the program in less than three years.

The academic calendar is divided into two terms and runs from September through to the end of June. Enrollment is continuous for a two-year (24 month) period. Students take Level 1 courses in the first year and Level 2 courses in the second year. Each academic year for both levels begins in September with a three (3) day orientation seminar; a three (3) day winter term seminar is held in January; and a final two weeks of classroom seminars occurs in June. At the completion of this session, students write final examinations for each level in each subject. During each term, the student will have access to on-line lectures, quizzes, communication and guided reading.

For more information on the Foundation program, please see the Foundation Program Registration Handbook. 

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance may be available to some participants. More information is provided through these links.


Government of Canada

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