Embalmers prepare the deceased for visitation, memorial services or burial. Embalming requires knowledge of anatomy, embalming procedures, health and safety. Embalmers also need to learn by observing and working under the supervision of experienced embalmers. Embalmers are required to be licensed in Texas, which ensures applicants have the experience and knowledge required to practice.
Texas requires embalmers to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. You also need to graduate from an accredited school or college of mortuary science. There are four accredited schools that offer online programs in Texas. While you're attending school for mortuary science, you can apply for your provisional license.
Before you can work as an embalmer, you must obtain a provisional license. The fee for a provisional license is $95 as of 2011. To qualify for a provisional license, you must pass a fingerprint-based criminal record check and fill out a criminal history questionnaire. The fee for the fingerprinting is $44.20 and the fee for the background check is $95 as of 2011. You also need letters of reference and recommendation, and you must write a letter of interest or intent explaining that you want to become an embalmer in Texas and why you should be approved for a license. You also need the Embalmer-in-Charge who's supervising you to sign a form provided by the Texas Funeral Service Commission. Finally, you must pass a Texas Mortuary Law Exam.
Texas Mortuary Law Exam
To receive a provisional license or a reciprocal license if you're already licensed in another state, you must pass the Texas Mortuary Law Exam. The test is given monthly, and you must preregister by submitting a form and a $50 fee (as of 2011) to the Texas Funeral Service Commission. The test contains 50 questions and is an open book exam covering Chapter 651 of the Texas Occupations Code; Health and Safety Code Chapter 193: Death Records; Texas Administrative Code Chapter 181: Vital Statistics; and Health and Safety Code Chapter 716: Crematories. When you take the exam, the test booklet will include the text of the laws for reference.
Exiting Provisional Program
Your Embalmer-in-Charge must notify the Texas Funeral Service Commission in writing when you're ready to exit the provisional program. You and the Embalmer-in-Charge must both sign off on your experience. You must do 10 complete cases within the three months preceding your exit from the provisional licensing program. The Texas Funeral Service Commission will notify you if you're approved to be fully licensed. Once you're fully licensed, you must complete 16 hours of continuing education every two years and pay a renewal fee to remain licensed.