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  Mortuary Science and Funeral Service Education
  “Along the way, I learned the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, which means 'the healing of the world' and is accomplished through presence in the midst of pain. It can be summarized in the phrase "I'm here with you and I love you" and is accomplished through simple acts of presence. It became a rallying cry for me in my work as a funeral director. Rachel Naomi Remen, in an interview with Krista Tippett, describes it as 'a collective task. It involves all people who have ever been born, all people presently alive, all people yet to be born. We are all healers of the world...It's not about healing the world by making a huge difference. It's about the world that touches you.' Presence and proximity before performance. As I took that to heart, I started to see small, everyday examples of tikkun olam everywhere. When a mother comforts a child, she's healing the world. Every time someone listens to another - deeply listens - she's healing the world. A nurse who bathes the weakened body of an elderly patient is healing the world. The teacher who invests herself in her students is healing the world. The plumber who makes the inner workings of a house run smoothly is healing the world. A funeral director who finds that he can heal the world even at his family's business. When we practice presence and proximity, we may not change anyone, we may not shift culture or move mountains, but it's a healing act, if for none other than ourselves. When we do our work with kindness - no matter what kind of work - if we're doing it with presence, we're practicing tikkun olam.” - Caleb Wilde, Confessions of a Funeral Director: How the Business of Death Saved My Life

Funeral directors provide compassionate, proficient, and individualized professional services to meet the needs of families facing the death of a loved one. Their career satisfaction comes not only from the work itself, but from seeing the results of helping families during a devastating time. Funeral directors make a difference in their communities and take great pride in what they do. The funeral director will supervise substantially all of the activities of the final disposition, including removing the body, embalming, cremating, or burial. To practice funeral directing in the state of Illinois, an individual must be a licensed funeral director in Illinois. 

   So You Want to Become a Funeral Director?  

According to the Illinois Funeral Directors and Embalmers Licensing Code, there are specific requirements that you must meet before being licensed in Illinois as a funeral director. You must:

  1. Be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Successfully complete one academic year in a college or university and successfully complete a course of instruction of at least one year duration in a professional school or college teaching the practice of funeral directing and embalming that is recognized and approved by IDFPR.
  3. Have studied funeral directing and embalming in this State under a funeral director and embalmer, licensed under this Code or any prior Act, for at least one year. Nevertheless, no credit shall be given for the study of funeral directing and embalming in this State as an intern unless the applicant during the period of study was a licensed funeral director and embalmer intern.
  4. Be satisfactorily versed in approved measures used by the practice for the prevention and against the spread of disease and have the skills reasonably involved, and be adequately and properly protected against communicable diseases by means usually adopted and approved by medical science.
  5. Have passed an examination developed or acquired by IDFPR and conducted by IDFPR or its designee to determine the fitness of an applicant to receive a license as a licensed funeral director and embalmer. 

For further questions regarding requirements to be an Illinois funeral director, please contact IDFPR.

   Accredited Illinois Schools of Mortuary Science  

Carl Sandburg College
Mortuary Science Program (AAS)
2400 Tom L. Wilson Blvd.
Galesburg, IL 61401

Malcolm X College
Mortuary Science Program (AAS)
1900 W. Jackson
Chicago, IL 60612
  Southern Illinois University
Mortuary Science and Funeral Service Program (BS)
1263 Lincoln Dr.
Carbondale, IL 62901
Worsham College of Mortuary Science
Funeral Service and Mortuary Science (AAS)
495 Northgate Pkwy.
Wheeling, IL 60090
   American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE)  
  The ABFSE serves as the national academic accreditation agency for college and university programs in Funeral Service and Mortuary Science Education. The accrediting function of ABFSE is recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation.
992 Mantua Pike, Ste. 108
Woodbury Heights, NJ 08097
   Scholarship Opportunities  

The Illinois Funeral Service Foundation offers scholarships to each of the four Illinois schools of mortuary science each year, based on the prior fiscal year's educational contributions.

The school has the responsibility for determining which student should receive the award. This is generally based on academic achievement. Where achievement is equal, the schools typically take into account the need of the individual. The purpose of the scholarships is to promote educational excellence among prospective Illinois licensees.

The checks are made payable to the individual scholars who have been selected by the school. The schools through which the grants are provided are Southern Illinois University School of Mortuary Science, Carbondale; Malcolm X College, Chicago; Worsham College of Mortuary Science, Wheeling; and Carl Sandburg College, Galesburg.

  Illinois Funeral Directors Association
215 S. Grand Ave. West
Springfield, IL 62704
P: 217-525-2000
F: 217-525-8342 | 

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