Training to become a funeral director, like other service industries regulated by state government, requires an apprenticeship. In Massachusetts, The Board of Registration of Embalming and Funeral Directing oversees the registration of funeral professionals and their apprentices and assistants. Currently, Miles Funeral Home is fortunate to have two apprentices working with us to add real life situations to their academic studies, Dalilah-Rain Gilmartin and Phillis LeFave.
Dalilah and Phillis are students at Fine Mortuary College in Norwood, MA where they will complete a two-year college program that leads to an accredited Associate of Applied Science in Funeral Service degree. Their course of study includes a number of sciences including biology, anatomy, biochemistry, pathology, and embalming. The study of social science includes the psychology of grief, ethics and modern topics and issues related to the funeral industry. Business management, marketing, and sanitation and public health courses are also included. As these courses are taken over a two-year period, students simultaneously complete their apprenticeship.
Dalilah and Phillis represent the trend of an increasing number of females entering the industry as funeral directors. According to the New York State Funeral Directors Association, the number of female funeral directors in the United States has jumped in the past 40 years from 5% to 43%, although 2016 U.S. Census Bureau figures showed that 74% of morticians and funeral directors were male. In fact, In 2017, nearly 65 percent of graduates from funeral director programs in the United States were female, according to the American Board of Funeral Service Education. Dalilah and Phillis have plenty of companionship at Fine where the current enrollment is 83% female.
Dalilah’s hard work of full-time academic study plus 12-16 hours a week of apprenticeship. paid off when she recently attended the National Funeral Directors Association’s annual professional women’s conference after winning a David C. Baue Professional Women’s Conference Scholarship administered by the Funeral Service Foundation. The scholarship fully covered her hotel, airfare and cost of the conference. The conference held at the Confidante Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida took place April 29-May 1st. Dalilah competed for the scholarship by submitting a video explaining why she chose the path to funeral directing. At the conference Dalilah enjoyed the company of 120 other women in the industry. She says her favorite topics in the workshops included the importance of pre-planning and why it is more important than ever, as well as presentations on grief healing and trauma, infant loss and how to support families who have lost a child. Congratulations Dalilah!!!
Dalilah will complete her studies December 4th when she begins the next steps to becoming a licensed funeral director which include passing both national and Massachusetts exams, applying for and receiving Massachusetts state licensure, and finally being sworn in by the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Embalming and Funeral Directing. Phillis will follow the subsequent year.
“Everyone wants to be the sun to lighten up someone’s life,
but why not be the moon, to brighten in the darkest hour?” (anonymous)