The North Carolina Board of Funeral Service is responsible for determining whether applicants in the state have met the requirements set forth in the North Carolina State Code to become licensed funeral directors. In general, a funeral director must pass a licensing exam, submit evidence of education, have completed an apprenticeship and paid the required licensing fees to become a licensed funeral director in the state.


Funeral director applicants must be at least 18 years old, of good character and have graduated from a funeral director program at an approved mortuary science college. The program must be accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education. Applicants must have completed at least 32 semester hours or 48 quarter hours of instruction. The applicant must pass oral or written exams in psychology, sociology, pathology, funeral directing, business law, funeral law, funeral management and accounting.


Funeral director applicants in North Carolina are required to have completed a one-year apprenticeship under the supervision of a licensed funeral director whose funeral establishment served at least 100 families during the preceding year. Once the apprenticeship is complete, the licensed funeral director must file an affidavit that states how long the applicant worked for the company. It will become part of the applicant’s application package.

Completing the Apprenticeship

During the apprenticeship, the applicant must file monthly reports with the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service that include the number of funerals that the applicant assisted with during the month. To be considered completed, the applicant must have assisted in the directing of at least 25 funerals during the apprenticeship. If this hasn’t been accomplished, the apprenticeship must continue until that number has been reached.

Criminal Check

Applicants must pass a criminal record check that the Department of Justice conducts. Applicants need to provide their fingerprints, any information that the Department of Justice requests and a signed authorization form. The North Carolina Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation both check the fingerprints with their databases to ensure that no record exists.


North Carolina funeral directors must renew their licenses annually on or before Feb. 1 or the license is considered forfeited or surrendered. During the year when the license is valid, the license holder is expected to take five hours of continuing education courses, of which the Board of Funeral Service can specify that two hours focus on a certain topic. Excess hours can be carried forward.