«Prepared By: Theresa Milan Center of Excellence Los Rios Community College District Funeral and Embalming Services Research Brief, Northern ...»
Funeral and Embalming Services
in Northern California
Research Brief, January 2013
Center of Excellence
Los Rios Community College District
Funeral and Embalming Services Research Brief, Northern California Region
Table of Contents
Summary and Recommendation
Appendix A: Supply-Demand in California
Appendix B: Map of Northern California Region
Important Disclaimer All representations included in this report have been produced from secondary review of publicly and/or privately available data and/or research reports. Efforts have been made to qualify and validate the accuracy of the data and the reported findings; however, neither the Centers of Excellence, host District, nor California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office are responsible for applications or decisions made by recipient community colleges or their representatives based upon components or recommendations contained in this study.
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Northern California Center of Excellence 2 Funeral and Embalming Services Research Brief, Northern California Region Introduction Establishments in the funeral and embalming sector provide important services to families during difficulty periods of morning. The purpose of this report is to determine if there is sufficient ongoing demand for occupations in the funeral and embalming service sector that warrant investment in a training program in Northern California. For purposes of this study, the Northern California Region is
defined as, and includes, the following sub-regions and counties:
• Bay Area – Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Sonoma, and Solano Counties;
• Central Valley – Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties;
• Far Northern – Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Plumas, Nevada, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Tehama, and Trinity Counties, and;
• Greater Sacramento – Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba Counties.
In this report, there is an overview of the industries in this sector, occupational definitions and projections, and a supply-demand analysis. Appendix A provides an overview of the supply and demand for funeral directors and embalmers throughout California. Appendix B provides a map of Northern California, including locations of existing funeral service and embalming training programs in relation to local employers.
Industry Overview In Northern California, the funeral and embalming services sector employs approximately 2,200 workers, including funeral directors, embalmers, groundskeepers, sales representatives, funeral attendants, etc. Over the last five years, this sector declined by 12 percent, a loss of 500 jobs.
However, as with most other industries, much of this decline can be contributed to the economic recession.
The sector is expected to recover slowly over the next five years, adding about 45 jobs a year. 1 Exhibit 1: Funeral and Embalming Services, Northern California Employment 2007 - 20141 2,800 2,600 2,400 2,200
Occupation Overview This section of the report provides an overview of occupations in the funeral service and embalming sector that require post-secondary education, including definitions, education and licensing requirements, current and projected labor market demand, and a supply-demand gap analysis in Northern California.
In the funeral and embalming service sector, there are two sector-specific occupations that require postsecondary education: funeral service directors and embalmers.
Funeral service directors plan, schedule, and/or coordinate funerals, burials, or cremations. They may also arrange details such as assisting with legal documents (death certificates or burial permits);
assisting with obituary notice wording; and coordinating transportation of the deceased to mortuary, among other coordination activities. Some funeral service directors are also involved in embalming but most are only responsible for oversight of such activities. 2 Funeral service directors are required by law to obtain a license by the State of California. While applicants are not required to obtain a specific degree in mortuary science, to qualify for the funeral service directors’ license, applicants must possess an Associate in Science or an Associate in Arts degree from a nationally recognized accrediting body of colleges and universities. In addition, applicants must pass a criminal background check as well as pass a written examination. Knowledge of mortuary science and related health and safety codes are required to pass the written exam. 3 Embalmers prepare bodies for interment in conformity with legal requirements. 4 They are qualified to “(1) disinfect or preserve dead human bodies by the injection or external application of antiseptics, disinfectants, or preservative fluids; (2) prepare human bodies for transportation in cases where death was caused by contagious or infectious diseases; and (3) use derma-surgery or plastic art for restoring mutilated features.” Embalmers must also be licensed to work in the State of California. To obtain the
license, applicants must complete the following:
• Pass a background check (fingerprints and Live Scan)
• Complete at least two years of apprenticeship under a licensed embalmer
• Graduate from a mortuary science program accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE)
• Pass the sciences section of the national examination administered by the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards
• Pass the state’s examination pertaining to the state’s laws and the rules and regulations of the funeral industry3
2O*NET. www.onetonline.org/link/summary/39-4031.00.Accessed January 14, 2013.
3California Department of Consumer Affairs, Cemetery and Funeral Bureau.www.cfb.ca.gov.Accessed January 28, 2013.
4O*NET. www.onetonline.org/link/summary/39-4011.00.Accessed January 14, 2013.
5CCCCO Data Mart. http://datamart.cccco.edu/Default.aspx.Accessed January 29, 2013.
Labor Market Demand Over the next five years (2012 – 2017), the occupational group, Funeral Service Managers, Directors, Morticians, and Undertakers, is expected to add 90 jobs and replace 105 workers due to retirements and general separations. 6 This equates to nearly 40 open positions annually in the Northern California Region.
The embalming occupation is expected to grow at a slower pace over the same period, adding only 13 jobs and replacing about 40 embalmers due to retirements and separations. 7 This equates to about 10 open positions annually. The median hourly earnings for funeral service directors and embalmers is $26.22 and $24.26, respectively.
Exhibit 2: Projected Funeral Service Employment in Northern California, 2012 - 20177 1,200
Data note: Funeral service director is aggregated into a broader occupation group titled ‘Funeral Service Managers, Directors, Morticians, and Undertakers’ (SOC 39-4831). The two labor market information sources for regional California employment data (EDD’s Labor Market Information Division and EMSI) do not provide disaggregated data to isolate demand for each occupation included in the group.
Supply-Demand Gap Analysis American River College (ARC) has the only mortuary science program in Northern California. Each year, ARC enrolls 30 students in the spring for the two and a half year program. About 17 students graduate annually. 8 Graduates are qualified to apply for an embalmer license and funeral service director license in the State of California.
According to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Cemetery and Funeral Bureau, 75 percent of applicants for the funeral service director license also apply for an embalming license. Having both a funeral service director and embalming license gives candidates a competitive edge in the job market. 9 This correlates to job requirement information found in a survey of recent online job postings. 10 6The replacement estimate does not include turnover. Information on the replacement rate calculation may be found at http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_replacements.htm.
7Calculation based on EMSI Complete Employment - 2012.4.
8Based on five years of historic data, CCCCO Datamart. http://datamart.cccco.edu/Default.aspx.Accessed January 29, 2013.
9Interview with Kat Litral, Analyst, California Department of Consumer Affairs, Cemetery and Funeral Bureau. February 1, 2013.
10In California, there are currently eight Funeral Director job postings. Three-fourths of these positions require or state preference for an Associate Degree (or equivalent coursework) in funeral service/mortuary science and only two do not specify a degree preference. Three of these positions list oversight of embalming as a responsibility. Job Posting Data, Wanted Analytics, http://www.wantedanalytics.com. Accessed February 1, 2013.
Supply-demand analysis provides a starting point for determining the training needs in a region.
However, there are some limitations to these calculations, including: lack of data related to migration patterns (graduates relocating for job opportunities); lack of data related to graduates pursuing other occupations; lack of graduate employment outcomes; and variation in degree requirements.
In regards to the variation in degree requirements, this creates a significant challenge in estimating the training needs in a region. As stated earlier, the funeral service directors occupation is aggregated into an occupation group titled ‘Funeral Service Managers, Directors, Morticians, and Undertakers.’ Some of the jobs within this group may not require a specialized degree in funeral service education.
For example, large funeral home establishments may hire one licensed funeral director and employ several managers or undertakers to assist the director. Although the job responsibilities may be similar, the difference in education requirements may inflate the total projected demand.
To account for differences in degree requirements, Table 2 provides three estimates of supply and
demand for funeral service occupations in the Northern California region:
• The first scenario (A) assumes that 100 percent of embalmers and funeral service directors hired over the next five years will have obtained an A.S. in Funeral Service Education. This is an optimistic scenario that assumes employers in the region will require a specialized degree in funeral service education to qualify for every open position.
• The second scenario (B) assumes 75 percent of embalmers and funeral service directors hired over the next five years will have obtained an A.S. in Funeral Service Education. This is a semiconservative estimate that assumes that about one-fourth of open positions do not require a specialized degree in funeral service education.
• The third scenario (C) assumes half (50 percent) of embalmers and funeral service directors hired over the next five years will have obtained an A.S. in Funeral Service Education. This is an even more conservative estimate that accounts for variance in employer degree requirements as well as the bundling of other non-licensed ‘jobs’ in the funeral service director occupation group.
In all three scenarios, there is a projected shortage of qualified, trained workers. In the most conservative estimate (C), there will be a shortage of 13 workers annually over the next five years.