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Certificate in Funeral Services

Gain a professional certificate to affirm your dedication to funeral services

The entry level qualification in funeral service education, recognised as an essential skill-set for the modern funeral professional and intended as a stepping-stone to the professional Diploma in Funeral Services.

Course Length

Approx. Five Months




One Written & Compulsory Coursework


B.I.F.D. Examinations Board, moderated by Greenwich University

Course Structure

What Will You Learn?

The overall aim of the course is to provide you with the fundamental skills necessary to work confidently within the funeral home environment and become an effective member of a funeral team that can show initiative and understanding in the workplace.

This will be achieved through academic study, coursework and supervised workplace assessment.

By the end of the course you should know:

  • The history of the funeral profession from 17th century to the modern day
  • About the Funeral Director: their role in society and desirable attributes including manner and dress.
  • Fundamentals of health and safety legislation and how they affect the funeral professional, essential responsibilities, correct manual handling techniques and an understanding of C.O.S.H.H. regulations and basic first aid.
  • Funeral administration: statutory and non-statutory forms, an introduction to arranging the funeral and the necessary preparations. An introduction to the roles of Her Majesty’s Coroner (and equivalents) and to the Registrar. A knowledge of good practice when dealing with charitable donation administration and floral tributes.
  • Core skills of English and Maths and how these can be applied to various forms of communication and everyday problem solving and calculation.
  • The importance of working with external allied professions and departments inc: Dept. for Work and Pensions (DWP), Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA), Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), Ministry of Justice and local authority.
  • Bereavement and client care: Introduction to expressions of loss, grief and mourning, determinants of grief, how funeral directors are affected by bereaved reactions and how to adapt to the needs of the clients.
Unit 1

History of the Funeral Profession

  • Development of burial grounds
  • Advent of the cremation society and the evolution of cremation
  • The ‘undertaker’ and public funeral practices
  • The transition to ‘funeral director’ and modern funeral practices
  • Kindred Funeral Associations and Institutes
Unit 2

The Role of the Funeral Director

  • Understand the five key roles of the Funeral Director
  • Presentation and attributes required of the Funeral Director



Unit 3

Health & Safety in the Funeral Profession

  • Learn the various instruments of health & safety legislation
  • Understand how the various Acts, Regulations and Codes impact funeral services
  • Prophylactic Immunisation and infection control
  • General first aid principles
  • Hazards in the Funeral Home
Unit 4

Core Skills

  • Types of communication
  • Systems of communication
  • Advertising, market research and SWOT analysis
  • English and the etiquette of letter writing
  • Mathematics in the workplace
Unit 5


  • Handling the ‘first call’
  • Introduction to arranging the funeral
  • The ‘arrangement form’
  • The Registrar for births, marriages and deaths and relevent documentation
  • Her Majesty’s Coroner / Procurator Fiscal and relevant documentation
  • U.K. variations in documentation (England & Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland)
  • The Funeral Home office: Systems and procedures
  • Multimedia and the modern funeral
Unit 6

Working with other Allied Organisations

Gain awareness and a relevant understanding of the following organisations:

  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Advertising Standards Authority
  • Health & Safety Executive
  • Competition and Marketing Authority

Gain awareness and a relevant understanding of the following government departments:

  • Ministry of Justice
  • Dept. for the Environment, Farming & Rural Affairs
  • Dept. of Trade and Industry
  • H.M. Revenue and Customs
  • Home Office
  • Marine Management Organisation
Unit 7

Bereavement and Client Care

  • Introducing grief theories and models
  • Loss, grief and mourning
  • Grief influencers
  • Children, grief and the funeral
  • Complicated grief and the funeral
  • Client care and care for the caregiver

Professional Diploma

Successful completion of the seven theory units, associated tests, summative report and final written examination will earn the candidate a professional certificate in funeral service.

Privileged Membership

Holding the professional certificate in funeral service allows membership to the much respected members association that is the British Institute of Funeral Directors (B.I.F.D.)

Secure Professional Future

In light of ever increasing pressure for funeral industry regulation, certificate holding funeral professionals will be safeguarding their careers and ensuring their commitment to continued professional practice and future personal development.

Platform for Personal Development

Certificate holding funeral service professionals will achieve 30 credits at education level 3 and can build upon their achievements and progress their studies to the full level 4 diploma in funeral service.


A Few Requirements

To be considered for the funeral service certificate course at La Calavera College, prior qualifications are not essential, though a minimum C grade for G.C.S.E. Maths and English or their equivalents are preferred.

The college insists, in line with B.I.F.D. requirements, that applicants have an endorsable ‘relationship’ with a funeral service provider prior to enrolment on the course.

Attitude and Aptitude

A successful funeral service student will want to learn, develop and improve, know that funeral service is a natural vocation for them and above all be passionate about making a positive difference through their contribution.

Professionalism and manner

A successful funeral service student will be creative and dynamic but understand the ‘appropriateness’ of their creativity, they will understand their responsibilities in meeting with and talking to the bereaved and will act and present themselves accordingly.

Social responsibility and mindfulness

A successful funeral service student will be aware of the ‘nature’ of today’s social media, be mindful of the propriety and accessibility of engagement in such activity and only discuss sensitive funeral home experiences when it is appropriate to do so and only with fellow students and Institute members in private, secure and dedicated forums.

Dignity and respect

A successful funeral service student will recognise that dignity and respect for the bereaved client and for the deceased and confidentiality for both parties is complete and non-negotiable.

The Final Outcome

How Will You Benefit?

By completing the level 3 Certificate in Funeral Service at La Calavera College and satisfying, through examination, the Education Board of the British Institute of Funeral Directors (as moderated by Greenwich University), you will be conferred a professional certificate that allows membership into the British Institute of Funeral Directors.

The B.I.F.D. is the only recognised Funeral Directing Institute in the UK and its membership is highly regarded at both national and international level.

“The inspiration for naming the college is derived from the Mexican ‘Dia de Muertos’, day of the dead. This occasion is marked as a cultural celebration and an act of remembrance for deceased relatives and friends. Mexican culture celebrates the occasion by creating skulls (calaveras) through art and craft and decorating them to re-capture the beauty of those being remembered. I want this college and all who form its collegiate to be inspired by this concept, to respect every deceased person entrusted into their care, to treasure the skills they will gain to restore beauty and dignity to the dead and to never lose sight of how important final appearance can be to the family and friends that remain.”

— ANDREW C. FLOYD B.Sc.(Hons), M.B.I.E., M.E.A.E.


How Much Is It?

Academic fees for La Calavera College’s 2024 Funeral Service Certificate course commencing September 2024 have been set at the rate of £2,000

The fee shall be paid in one full payment prior to enrolment.


Common Questions

Will I be eligible for any grants or help towards course fees?

As a private college currently offering a ‘niche’ core subject we are not listed for any government approved subsidy or loan schemes at this time.

Do I have to be within the funeral profession to apply?

Yes, it is a requirement of the British Institute of Funeral Directors that you have an endorsable ‘relationship’ with a funeral service provider before being accepted onto this course of study.

This is intended to help you develop a greater appreciation for funeral services as you progress.

How often do the courses run?

The Certificate in Funeral Service runs annually, commencing in September with final examinations taking place in February.

What age do I have to be to enrol on the course?

The minimum age at enrolment is 16 years.

How long does the course last?

The Certificate course is projected to last 5 months based on weekly class-delivery with final written examinations held in February.

Will I be guaranteed a career in the field on successful completion of the course?

In life there are no guarantees, the college cannot guarantee employment after succesful completion of the course. It is true to say, however, that a qualified applicant with a good work ethic has a significantly greater chance of securing a position within the profession.

Does the college offer distance learning options?

Yes, the college offers distance learning via the virtual learning environment (VLE) with integrated lecture delivery via the ZOOM platform.

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