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«Prepared By: Theresa Milan Center of Excellence Los Rios Community College District Funeral and Embalming Services Research Brief, Northern ...»

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Summary and Recommendation In California, funeral service directors and embalming is a specialized field, requiring specific knowledge related to the funeral service industry and California codes and regulations. State law requires funeral service directors and embalmers to obtain different licenses to work in this field. To obtain the embalming license, applicants must have a specialized degree or certificate in mortuary science accredited by American Board of Funeral Service Education. Applicants for the funeral service directors’ license are required to obtain an Associate degree in any subject area, pass a background check and pass a written exam.

To determine if there is sufficient ongoing demand for occupations requiring postsecondary education in the embalming/funeral service sector, this research brief estimates the average supply and projected demand for embalmers and funeral service directors in the Northern California region.

On the supply side, American River College offers the only accredited funeral service training program in the Northern California region that prepares students for careers in embalming and/or funeral service directing. An average of 17 students graduate from the program annually. Graduates of this

program may need to:

• Relocate to find employment as the majority of jobs are located in the Bay Area.

• Obtain one to five years of work experience in the industry before applying for a funeral service director position.13 On an annual basis, there are approximately 10 job openings for embalmers and 40 job openings for funeral service directors/managers/morticians. For this report, three possible scenarios are presented to estimate the projected training needs for embalming and funeral director occupations.

The most conservative estimate assumes that 50 percent of funeral directors will obtain a degree in mortuary science.

• This estimate adjusts the outlook to account for inflation in the demand data (number of openings projected) as it includes demand for both licensed and non-licensed ‘jobs’ in the funeral service director occupation group.

• Additionally, although the educational requirement for a funeral director license does require an Associate degree, it does not require an Associate degree specific to mortuary science.

Based on these assumptions, through 2017, there is a projected shortage of 13 licensed funeral service directors annually in the Northern California Region.

Given the limitations of supply and demand analysis, the Center of Excellence recommends that American River College conduct a completer-leaver survey to assess employment outcomes of recent graduates. If graduates are finding employment in their field of study and earning good wages, it will verify the findings from this study and provide sufficient support to warrant the ongoing investment in an embalming and funeral service directors program.

13Job Posting Data, Wanted Analytics, http://www.wantedanalytics.com.Accessed February 1, 2013.

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Appendix A: Supply-Demand in California

The following table provides three estimates of supply-demand for funeral service occupations statewide:

• 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 75percentof 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 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 conservative estimate that accounts for variance in employer degree requirements as well as the bundling of other nonlicensed ‘jobs’ in the funeral service director occupation group.

In all three scenarios, there is a projected shortage of qualified, trained workers in California. In the most conservative estimate (C), there will be a shortage of 16 workers annually over the next five years.

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Appendix B: Map of Northern California Region The following map displays the location of American River College (ARC) in relation to funeral home and funeral service establishments and cemeteries in Northern California. ARC has the only accredited funeral services education program in Northern California.

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