Apprenticeship Programs

BC Funeral Services Apprenticeship Program for Embalmer and/or 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:

  • 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 speaking with a funeral director about the profession, please contact us at

Program details

Registration for the next intake of the BC Funeral Services Program will begin in the spring of 2019. If you would like to be added to the waitlist to receive enrollment documentation when available, please email us at and let us know which funeral home you are employed at.

The British Columbia Funeral Association is the recognized training service provider under an Agreement with the Industry Training Authority of British Columbia. Each spring, we begin accepting applications for the next intake, beginning in September of each year. 

To become an Apprentice, you must first seek full time employment at a funeral home (visit our directory of funeral homes to find one in your desired location). Once you have a sponsor employer, and have been accepted into the program, you are ready to start your training and record your work experience. 

You can expect the program to take two years to complete. During the program, the apprentice is guided through academic study and workplace training. Academic study is delivered through classroom instruction (lower mainland BC) and online lesson assignments, and the workplace training is guided by a licensed Funeral Director and/or Embalmer (mentor) in the funeral home using standardized guidelines and assessments.

While you may be able to obtain employment in a funeral home at any time, you will be required to wait until September to begin formal academic training. In many cases, you are able to perform duties other than those performed by licensed professionals. These can include:

  • Acting as a host at services
  • Administration
  • Care of the funeral home, vehicles etc.

The BC Funeral Services Apprenticeship Program is a formal education and training program that involves:

  • Full time employment
  • Work-based training performed under the direct supervision of a licensed Funeral Director and/or Embalmer.
  • Industry-driven training program that promotes a skilled work force
  • Learning how to do a task by performing it on the job
  • In classroom instruction and online study modules.

To begin the funeral services program – You must first obtain full time employment at a funeral home as an apprentice funeral director/embalmer. Work experiences are documented by students in logbooks and case study records, and validated by the overseeing Funeral Director and/or Embalmer, as well as an external assessor. 

The British Columbia Funeral Association is the training service provider for the BC Funeral Services Apprenticeship Program and under Agreement with the Industry Training Authority who funds a portion of the apprentice’s tuition fees. Apprenticeship is a three-way contract between an apprentice, the apprentice’s employer and the Industry Training Authority of British Columbia (ITABC). 

All apprentices must apply to and be licensed by the Consumer Protection BC as a condition of enrollment.

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 apprenticeship program these occur simultaneously over a given period of time.

Continuous enrollment in the two year program is a requirement unless granted a medical leave of absence. If the student fails to obtain a leave of absence or maintain continuous enrollment he or she will be required to apply for a re-admission to the program and re-apply for their apprenticeship license.

Academic study

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.

Practical experience

A Funeral Director and/or Embalmer apprenticeship requires two years of on-the-job training in addition to the formal academic study. Each year consists of full time on the job training, usually working with or being supervised by a qualified licensed journeyperson. On-the-job training provides an opportunity for students to put into practice the theory that they learn in the classroom and lab environments. An apprentice usually spends 80% of his or her time learning on the job and 20% learning the technical skills in a classroom environment.

Practical experience is monitored through an apprentice log book, mentor and peer guidelines and assessor guidelines.

On the job paid training

Individuals in the BCFA Apprenticeship Program must be employed with a funeral home prior to enrollment in the program. Wages are established by the individual funeral home and will vary depending on a number of factors including the compensation practices and wage structure of the employer, the qualifications of the apprentice, and the type of apprenticeship program. A Funeral Service Apprentice is usually paid a training wage or an apprentice wage.

Apprentices may wish to explore the availability of tuition support with their employer and also review the information on financial assistance available through the Industry Training Authority (ITA) of BC.

Finding an apprenticeship

You must obtain full time employment at a funeral home as an Apprentice Funeral Director/Embalmer in order to be accepted into the British Columbia Funeral Association Apprenticeship Program or upon completion of the Foundation Program. When you apply for an apprenticeship, first make sure that you are aware of and possess the minimum skills and requirements for the job. You can find more about requirements in the Program Information section of this website. 

We encourage you to send your resume to the individual funeral homes that are of interest to you. To find a listing of funeral homes in your area, check the directory on the BCFA website.

Financial Assistance

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

When you apply for an apprenticeship, first make sure that you are aware of and possess the minimum skills and requirements for the job. 

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Funeral service is a career choice that delivers more personal satisfaction than almost any other. Whether you’re embarking on your first career, looking to change careers or sharing your experience with someone entering the profession, the rewards and satisfaction in this field are unlimited.

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British Columbia Funeral Association
Suite 211 - 2187 Oak Bay Avenue Victoria BC V8R 1G1
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