Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 54.1. Professions and Occupations
Chapter 28. Funeral Services
11/29/2022

Article 3. Licensure of the Practice of Funeral Service, Funeral Directors and Embalmers.

§ 54.1-2813. License for the practice of funeral service.

To be licensed for the practice of funeral service, a person shall (i) be at least 18 years of age; (ii) hold a high school diploma or its equivalent; (iii) have completed a funeral service internship prescribed by the Board in regulation; (iv) have graduated from a school of mortuary science or funeral service approved by the Board; and (v) have passed the examination for licensure.

The Board, in its discretion, may license an individual convicted of a felony if he has successfully fulfilled all conditions of sentencing, been pardoned, or has had his civil rights restored.

The Board, in its discretion, may refuse to license an individual who has a criminal or disciplinary proceeding pending against him in any jurisdiction in the United States.

Code 1950, § 54-260.70; Code 1950, §§ 54-260.22 through 54-260.30, 54-260.32; 1956, c. 220; 1966, c. 284, § 54-260.70; 1972, c. 797; 1973, c. 296; 1974, c. 686; 1978, c. 849; 1986, c. 43; 1988, c. 765; 1990, c. 363; 2005, c. 477; 2006, c. 56.

§ 54.1-2814. Examination.

Each applicant for license for the practice of funeral service shall be examined in writing on:

1. Basic and health sciences including anatomy, chemistry, bacteriology, pathology, hygiene and public health;

2. Funeral service arts and sciences including embalming and restorative art;

3. Funeral service administration including accounting, funeral law, psychology, and funeral principles, directing and management.

The Board may recognize other examinations that it considers equivalent to its examination.

Code 1950, § 54-260.70; Code 1950, §§ 54-260.22 through 54-260.30, 54-260.32; 1956, c. 220; 1966, c. 284, § 54-260.70; 1972, c. 797; 1973, c. 296; 1974, c. 686; 1978, c. 849; 1986, c. 43; 1988, c. 765; 2000, c. 773.

§ 54.1-2814.1. Registration as a cremator.

A. No crematorium, cemeterian, memorial society, or other establishment, organization, or person shall cremate a dead human body without having registered with the Board as a cremator.

B. The Board shall prescribe the procedures for registration under this section. Such procedures shall include a requirement that any crematory registered with the Board that engages in the practice of funeral services operate in compliance with the provisions § 54.1-2810. However, nothing in this subsection shall require a crematory registered with the Board to obtain a license as a funeral service establishment as long as the crematory provides cremation services directly to or for a licensed funeral service establishment only and not to the general public.

C. The Board may suspend or revoke any crematory registration or deny any application for such registration, or refuse to issue or renew any such registration, if the Board finds that the applicant or registrant has violated any provision of this chapter, the Board's regulations, or if the Board finds the crematory has operated or is operating in a manner that endangers the health, safety or welfare of the public.

2000, c. 773; 2003, c. 505.

§ 54.1-2815. Application for license; how license signed; duration.

All applications for examination for a license for the practice of funeral service shall be upon forms furnished by the Board.

All licenses shall be issued or renewed for a period prescribed by the Board, not exceeding two years.

1978, c. 849, § 54-260.70:1; 1988, c. 765; 2015, c. 534.

§ 54.1-2816. License renewal; failure to return renewal form.

Prior to the expiration of a license, the Board shall provide to each person licensed to practice funeral service, embalming, or funeral directing a renewal notice to be submitted to the Board together with the prescribed fee. The Board shall provide renewal notices by mail or electronically to any licensee. The license of any person who does not submit the completed form prior to the date of expiration shall automatically expire. The Board shall immediately notify the person of the expiration and the reinstatement requirements. The Board shall reinstate an expired license upon receipt, within 30 days of the notice of expiration, of the completed form and the prescribed fee. Reinstatement after the 30-day period shall be at the discretion of the Board.

1978, c. 849, § 54-260.70:2; 1988, c. 765; 2005, c. 477; 2018, c. 101.

§ 54.1-2816.1. Continuing education requirements; promulgation of regulations.

A. The Board shall promulgate regulations governing continuing education requirements for funeral services licensees, funeral directors, and embalmers licensed by the Board.

B. The Board shall approve criteria for continuing education courses, requiring no more than five hours per year, that are directly related to the respective license and scope of practice of funeral service licensees, funeral directors, and embalmers. Approved continuing education courses shall include one hour per year covering compliance with federal or state laws and regulations governing the profession or one hour per year covering preneed funeral arrangements, provided that at least one hour of continuing education in preneed is completed every three years. Course providers may be required to register continuing education courses with the Board pursuant to Board regulations. The Board shall not allow continuing education credit for courses where the principal purpose of the course is to promote, sell, or offer goods, products, or services to funeral homes.

C. All course providers shall furnish written certification to licensees of the Board attending and completing respective courses, indicating the satisfactory completion of an approved continuing education course. Each course provider shall retain records of all persons attending and those persons satisfactorily completing such continuing education courses for a period of two years following each course. Applicants for renewal or reinstatement of licenses issued pursuant to this article shall retain for a period of two years the written certification issued by any Board-approved provider of continuing education courses. The Board may require course providers or licensees to submit copies of such records or certification, as it deems necessary, to ensure compliance with continuing education requirements.

D. The Board shall have the authority to grant exemptions or waivers in cases of certified illness or undue hardship.

E. The Board may provide for an inactive status for those licensees who do not practice in Virginia. The Board may adopt regulations reducing or waiving continuing education requirements for any licensee granted such inactive status. However, no licensees granted inactive status may have their license changed to active status without first obtaining additional continuing education hours as may be determined by the Board. No person or registrant shall practice in Virginia as an embalmer, funeral director, or funeral service licensee unless he holds a current, active license.

2002, c. 270; 2008, c. 396; 2012, c. 497; 2022, c. 170.

§ 54.1-2817. Funeral service interns.

A person desiring to become a funeral service intern shall apply on a form provided by the Board. The applicant shall attest that he holds a high school diploma or its equivalent. The Board, in its discretion, may approve an application to be a funeral service intern for an individual convicted of a felony, if he has successfully fulfilled all conditions of sentencing, been pardoned, or has had his civil rights restored. The Board shall not, however, approve an application to be a funeral service intern for any person convicted of embezzlement or of violating subsection B of § 18.2-126.

The Board, in its discretion, may refuse to approve an application to be a funeral service intern for an individual who has a criminal or disciplinary proceeding pending against him in any jurisdiction in the United States.

When the Board is satisfied as to the qualifications of an applicant, it shall issue a certificate of internship. When a funeral service intern wishes to receive in-service training from a person licensed for the practice of funeral service, a request shall be submitted to the Board. If such permission is granted and the funeral service intern later leaves the proctorship of the licensee whose service has been entered, the licensee shall give the funeral service intern an affidavit showing the length of time served with him. The affidavit shall be filed with the Board and made a matter of record in that office. Any funeral service intern seeking permission to continue in-service training shall submit a request to the Board.

A certificate of internship shall be renewable as prescribed by the Board. The Board shall mail or send electronically at such time as it may prescribe by regulation, to each registered funeral service intern at his last known address, a notice that the renewal fee is due and that, if not paid by the prescribed time, a penalty fee shall be due in addition to the renewal fee.

The registration of any funeral service intern who is in the active military service of the United States may, at the discretion of the Board, be held in abeyance for the duration of his service. The Board may also waive the renewal fees for such military personnel.

All registered funeral service interns shall report to the Board on a schedule prescribed by the Board upon forms provided by the Board, showing the work which has been completed during the preceding period of internship. The data contained in the report shall be certified as correct by the person licensed for the practice of funeral service under whom he has served during this period and by the person licensed for the practice of funeral service owning or managing the funeral service establishment.

Before such funeral service intern becomes eligible to be examined for the practice of funeral service, evidence shall be presented along with an affidavit from any licensee under whom the intern worked showing that the intern has assisted in embalming at least 25 bodies and that the intern has assisted in conducting at least 25 funerals. In all applications of funeral service interns for licenses for the practice of funeral service, the eligibility of the applicant shall be determined by the records filed with the Board. The successful completion by any person of the internship shall not entitle him to any privilege except to be examined for such license.

Credit shall not be allowed for any period of internship that has been completed more than three years prior to application for license or more than five years prior to examination for license. If all requirements for licensure are not completed within five years of initial application, the Board may deny an additional internship. A funeral service intern may continue to practice for up to 90 days from the completion of his internship or until he has taken and received the results of all examinations required by the Board. However, the Board may waive such limitation for any person in the armed service of the United States when application for the waiver is made in writing within six months of leaving service or if the Board determines that enforcement of the limitation will create an unreasonable hardship.

The Board shall have power to suspend or revoke a certificate of internship for violation of any provision of this chapter.

No more than two funeral service interns shall be concurrently registered under any one person licensed for the practice of funeral service, funeral directing or embalming. Each sponsor for a registered funeral service intern must be actively employed by or under contract with a funeral establishment.

Code 1950, §§ 54-260.34 through 54-260.38; 1956, c. 220; 1970, c. 513, § 54-260.72; 1972, c. 797; 1973, c. 296; 1974, c. 157; 1978, c. 849; 1981, c. 258; 1986, c. 43; 1988, c. 765; 2005, c. 477; 2006, c. 56; 2018, c. 101.

§ 54.1-2818. Registration and display of licenses.

A copy of all licenses shall be displayed in a conspicuous place in each establishment in which the licensee practices.

Code 1950, § 54-260.31; 1956, c. 220; 1972, c. 797, § 54-260.71; 1988, c. 765.

§ 54.1-2818.1. Prerequisites for cremation.

No dead human body shall be cremated without permission of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner as required by § 32.1-309.3 and visual identification of the deceased by the next-of-kin or his representative, who may be any person designated to make arrangements for the disposition of the decedent's remains pursuant to § 54.1-2825, an agent named in an advance directive pursuant to § 54.1-2984, or any guardian appointed pursuant to Chapter 20 (§ 64.2-2000 et seq.) of Title 64.2 who may exercise the powers conferred in the order of appointment or by § 64.2-2019, or, in cases in which the next of kin or his representative fails or refuses to provide visual identification of the deceased, by any other person 18 years of age or older who is able to provide positive identification of the deceased. If no such next of kin or his representative or other person 18 years of age or older is available or willing to make visual identification of the deceased, such identification shall be made by a member of the primary law-enforcement agency of the city or county in which the person or institution having initial custody of the body is located, pursuant to court order. When visual identification is not feasible, other positive identification of the deceased may be used as a prerequisite for cremation. Unless such act, decision, or omission resulted from bad faith or malicious intent, the funeral service establishment, funeral service licensee, crematory, cemetery, primary law-enforcement officer, sheriff, county, or city shall be immune from civil liability for any act, decision, or omission resulting from cremation. Nothing in this section shall prevent a law-enforcement agency other than the primary law-enforcement agency from performing the duties established by this section if so requested by the primary law-enforcement agency and agreed to by the other law-enforcement agency.

1998, c. 867; 2010, c. 377; 2011, c. 88; 2014, cc. 228, 355, 583; 2015, c. 670.

§ 54.1-2818.2. Inapplicability to officers of state and local institutions.

Nothing in this article shall be applicable to any officer of any institution operated by the Commonwealth or by any county, city or town in the performance of his duties as such.

1998, c. 867.

§ 54.1-2818.3. Applications for registration required.

Any crematory shall apply for and receive a registration from the Board as a registered crematory. However, this section shall not supersede or restrict the provisions of § 54.1-2814.1.

1998, c. 867; 2003, c. 505.

§ 54.1-2818.4. Immunity from liability for services after organ and tissue donation.

Unless such act, decision, or omission resulted from bad faith or malicious intent, any funeral service establishment, funeral service licensee, crematory, or registered crematory that receives a body following donation of organs, tissues, or eyes shall be immune from civil liability for any failure to restore such decedent's form or features in a manner acceptable for viewing prior to the final disposition of the remains.

2009, c. 811.

§ 54.1-2818.5. Request for life insurance information; notification of beneficiaries.

A. In any case in which a funeral service provider licensed pursuant to this chapter believes that a decedent for whom funeral services are being provided is insured under an individual or group life insurance policy, the funeral service provider may request information regarding the deceased person's life insurance policy from the life insurer believed to have issued the policy. Such request for information shall include (i) a copy of the deceased person's death certificate filed in accordance with § 32.1-263; (ii) written authorization for the funeral service provider's submission of the request that is executed by a person designated to make arrangements for the decedent's burial or disposition of his remains pursuant to § 54.1-2825, an agent named in an advance directive pursuant to § 54.1-2984, a guardian appointed pursuant to Chapter 20 (§ 64.2-2000 et seq.) of Title 64.2 who may exercise the powers conferred in the order of appointment or by § 64.2-2019, or the next of kin as defined in § 54.1-2800; and (iii) if the deceased person was covered or is believed to have been covered under a group life insurance policy, the affiliation of the deceased person entitling the deceased to coverage under the group life insurance policy.

B. Upon receipt of the information requested pursuant to subsection A, if the beneficiary of record under the life insurance contract or group life insurance policy is not the estate of the deceased person, the requesting funeral service provider shall make all reasonable efforts to contact all the beneficiaries of record within four calendar days of receiving such information and provide to the beneficiaries all information provided to the funeral service provider by the life insurer. The funeral service provider shall, prior to providing any information to the beneficiaries in accordance with this subsection, inform the beneficiaries that the beneficiary of a life insurance policy has no legal duty or obligation to pay any amounts associated with the provision of funeral services or the debts or obligations of the deceased person.

2017, c. 482.