Qualifications for license as embalmer or funeral director; examinations; conditions for licensure without examination; renewal of licenses.
(A) A person may be issued a license as an embalmer if the person:
(1) is at least eighteen years of age;
(2) has not been convicted of a violent crime or found guilty of a felony or crime of moral turpitude;
(3) has a high school education or the equivalent of a high school education, the equivalence to be determined by the board;
(4) has completed successfully a regular course in an embalming college accredited by the National Conference of State Examining Boards and approved by the board;
(5) has completed a minimum of twenty-four months of service as an apprentice under the direct supervision of a licensed embalmer actively engaged in the practice of embalming in this State;
(6) has passed an examination prescribed by the board. A person holding a valid embalmer's license in another state or territory which has been in effect continuously for at least five years is not required to serve an apprenticeship to qualify for examination.
(B) A person may be issued a license as a funeral director if the person:
(1) is at least eighteen years of age;
(2) has not been convicted of a violent crime or found guilty of a felony or crime of moral turpitude;
(3) has a high school education or the equivalent of a high school education and has a minimum of two years of successful attendance at an accredited academic college or successful completion of a regular course of not less than one year, twelve scholastic months, in an accredited mortuary college;
(4) has completed a minimum of twenty-four months of service as an apprentice funeral director under the direct supervision of a licensed funeral director actively engaged in the practice of funeral directing in this State;
(5) has passed an examination prescribed by the board. A person holding a valid funeral director's license in another state or territory, which has been in effect continuously for at least five years, is not required to serve an apprenticeship to qualify for examination.
(C) An applicant for licensure must be examined on subjects as are prescribed by the board and the examination must be by a standardized written test. The passing grade must be established by the board in regulation.
An application for examination must be upon a form furnished by the board and must be accompanied by a fee established by the board in regulation. An application for examination must be submitted at least thirty days before the date of the examination.
(D) A person holding a valid embalmer or funeral director license in another state or territory having substantially similar requirements to the requirements of this chapter and has been licensed for a minimum of five years, upon establishing residence in this State, may apply for a license to practice in this State by filing with the board a certified statement from the examining board of the state or territory in which the applicant holds the license, showing the basis upon which the license was granted and a recommendation for licensure. If the board finds that the applicant has fulfilled substantially similar requirements, the board shall grant a license upon receipt of a fee established by the board in regulation and upon satisfying the board that the applicant is familiar with the laws and regulations of this State concerning funeral directing and embalming.
(E) No license may be issued or renewed for a period exceeding one year, and all licenses and renewals expire on the thirtieth day of June unless sooner revoked or canceled. The date of expiration may be changed by unanimous consent of the board and upon ninety days' written notice of the change to all persons licensed by the board.
(F) A person holding a license under this chapter may have the license renewed for a one-year period by applying within thirty days preceding or following the expiration of his license, upon forms provided by the board and payment of a renewal fee as established by the board in regulation. A person who fails to renew the license, at the discretion of the board, may have it renewed by making application and appearing before the board and paying a renewal and revival fee established by the board. The license of a person who is engaged actively in the military service of the United States may be held in abeyance for the duration of service, and the licensee may be relieved of the payment of renewal fees as the board considers justifiable and expedient.
SECTION 40-19-240. Apprentices; application; certificate; periodic reporting; eligibility for licensure; sponsor limitations.
(A) A person desiring to become an apprentice funeral director or embalmer shall apply to the board on forms provided by the board. The applicant must be at least eighteen years of age, shall take the oath contained on the application form, and shall submit a fee established by the board in regulation. If the board is satisfied as to the qualifications of an applicant, the board shall issue a certificate of apprenticeship. If an apprentice wishes to engage in an apprenticeship with a person licensed as a funeral director or embalmer, a request must be submitted to the board. If permission is granted and the apprentice leaves the apprenticeship of the licensee in whose service the apprentice has been engaged, the licensee shall give the apprentice an affidavit showing the length of time served. The affidavit must be filed with the board. If the apprentice subsequently desires to continue the apprenticeship, the apprentice must apply to the board as provided for in this subsection.
(B) A certificate of apprenticeship must be signed by the apprentice, the licensee, and the manager of the establishment in which the apprenticeship is to be served and is renewable twenty-four months after registration for twelve months, by payment of a renewal fee established by the board in regulation. A certificate may not be renewed more than three times. The registration of an apprentice who is actually engaged in the military service may be held in abeyance for the duration of service, and the apprentice may be relieved of the payment of renewal fees and penalties.
(C) An apprentice quarterly shall report to the board on forms provided by the board indicating the work which has been completed during the preceding three months. The report must be certified by the licensee under whom the apprentice has served.
(D) Before an apprentice is eligible to receive a license for the practice of funeral service, evidence required by this chapter must be submitted to the board showing that the apprentice has completed successfully the educational requirements set forth in Section 40-19-230. Affidavits also must be submitted from the licensees under whom the apprentice worked showing that as an apprentice embalmer the apprentice has assisted in the embalming of at least fifty bodies or that as an apprentice funeral director the apprentice has assisted in conducting at least fifty funerals, during apprenticeship. Eligibility for licensure is determined by the board based upon the reports filed with the board pursuant to subsection (C).
(E) Only two apprentices at a time are permitted to register under any one person licensed as a funeral director or embalmer. Each sponsor for a registered apprentice must be actively connected with a funeral establishment.
SECTION 40-19-245. Student permits to engage in practice of funeral service.
(A) Upon registration with the South Carolina State Board of Funeral Service, the board shall issue a student permit authorizing the student to engage in the practice of funeral service if:
(1) the student is enrolled in an accredited mortuary science college or mortuary science college or a program in the process of seeking accreditation in South Carolina;
(2) the funeral service activities in which the student engages are in conjunction with the student's academic training; and
(3) the student's funeral service activities are under the supervision of a licensee designated by an accredited mortuary science college in South Carolina.
(B) The board shall promulgate regulations to implement the provisions of this section.
SECTION 40-19-250. Continuing education program; persons exempt.
The board shall develop in regulation a continuing education program and each licensee must attend a minimum of three credit hours annually. This continuing education program must be offered, at a minimum, four times a year at locations easily accessible to participants and must be available through correspondence courses. This continuing education requirement does not apply to a person who is not the manager of record of a funeral home, funeral establishment, or mortuary if the person has been licensed for thirty or more years or is sixty years old or older.
SECTION 40-19-260. Business establishment; presence of funeral director required.
The practice of funeral service may be engaged in only at a licensed establishment. A licensed funeral director shall make arrangements with clients and must be at the place of the funeral and committal services.
SECTION 40-19-270. Permit for funeral establishment; funeral services in private residence, church, or lodge; inspection of premises; residence of funeral director; application for permits; partnership or corporation operating funeral establishment.
(A) No person shall conduct, maintain, manage, or operate a funeral establishment or crematory unless a permit for each establishment or crematory has been issued by the board and is displayed conspicuously in the funeral establishment or crematory. Funeral services held in a private residence, church, or lodge hall require no permit.
(B) The board or its inspector or agents may enter the offices or premises of a funeral establishment, funeral home, mortuary, branch funeral home, chapel, or crematory to inspect the premises or observe the training provided to apprentices. Acceptance of a permit constitutes permission for entry to the premises as provided in this section without legal process.
(C) No permit to operate a funeral establishment or crematory may be issued unless the funeral establishment or crematory has a person licensed as a funeral director who resides a reasonable distance from the establishment or crematory and is accessible at all times the establishment or crematory is open for any type of funeral business or activity. Upon the death, resignation, or incapacity of the manager of a funeral establishment or crematory, the board may issue a temporary permit to another person upon terms and conditions the board considers to be in the best interest of the community in which the establishment or crematory is located.
(D) An application for a funeral establishment permit or crematory permit must be made on forms furnished by the board and must be filed with the board before July second of each year accompanied by a fee established by the board in regulation. All permits expire on June thirtieth of each year.
(E) When more than one person proposes to engage in the operation of a funeral establishment or crematory as a partnership or a corporation, one of the partners or corporation officers must be a licensed funeral director and must be registered by the board as the manager of the funeral establishment or crematory. No partner or corporate officer shall hold himself out through advertising or otherwise as being a licensee unless the person is licensed in accordance with this chapter.
SECTION 40-19-280. Removal or embalming of body where information discloses death caused by crime or violence; notice to next-of-kin before body sent to funeral establishment; contract to pay insurance or benefits to funeral establishment; interference with public freedom of choice.
(A) No person licensed as a funeral director or embalmer shall remove or embalm a dead human body when the person has information indicating crime or violence of any sort in connection with the cause of death until permission first has been obtained from the coroner or medical examiner or some other qualified person acting in this capacity.
(B) No public officer or employee, the official of any public institution, physician, surgeon, or any other person having a professional relationship with a decedent may send or cause to be sent to a funeral establishment or to a person licensed for the practice of funeral service the remains of a deceased person without having first made due inquiry as to the desires of the next of kin and of the persons who may be chargeable with the funeral and expenses of the decedent. If any kin is found, authority and directions of the kin govern except in those instances where the deceased made prior arrangements in writing.
(C) No company, corporation, or association engaged in the business of paying or providing for the payment of the expenses of the funeral, disposition, or other similar expenses of the deceased members or of certificate holders, or engaged in the business of providing insurance upon the life of an individual, under which an obligation may arise to care for the remains of the insured, shall contract to pay or shall pay insurance or benefits, or part of insurance or benefits, to a funeral establishment, licensee, or individual in a manner which may deprive the representative, next of kin, or family of the deceased person from, or in any way control them in, procuring a funeral establishment, person licensed for the practice of funeral service, or other proper and competent person to perform funeral services and furnish supplies to care for the remains of the decedent.
(D) No person licensed as a funeral director or embalmer or anyone acting for a funeral director or embalmer shall have a part in a transaction or business which in any way interferes with the freedom of choice of the general public to choose a person licensed for the practice of funeral service or to choose a funeral establishment except where the body or a part of the body is given for anatomical purposes.
(E) It is unlawful for a person, partnership, corporation, or association who has not been licensed or registered as provided for in this chapter to transact, practice, or hold himself or itself out as transacting or practicing funeral service or operating or maintaining a funeral establishment within this State.
SECTION 40-19-290. Disclosure of expenses in connection with available services and merchandise; representations as to legal requirements; posting of casket prices.
(A) The personnel of a funeral establishment shall make every reasonable attempt to fulfill the desires of the deceased and persons making arrangements both as to services and merchandise, and a full disclosure of all its available services and merchandise must be made before selection of the casket. Before the arrangements are completed, the licensee of the funeral service firm shall disclose fully what is included in the funeral and identify other related expenses such as cemeteries and florists.
(B) Statements of legal requirements or statements relative to the conditions under which embalming is required or advisable must be complete and factual. Representations as to legal requirements for embalming, the use of a casket or other receptacle, and the necessity, if any, of an interment receptacle in connection with a funeral must be truthful, and all legal or cemetery interment requirements must be disclosed.
(C) A funeral service establishment shall have a card or brochure in each casket stating the price of the casket.
The funeral establishment shall provide to the persons making the arrangements, at the time the arrangements are completed and before the time of rendering the service, a written statement signed by a representative of the funeral home and by the person authorizing the services showing to the extent then known:
(1) the price of the service that the persons have selected and what is included in the service;
(2) the price of each of the supplemental items of service and merchandise requested;
(3) the amount involved for each of the items for which the funeral service firm shall advance monies as an accommodation to the family;
(4) the method of payment.
SECTION 40-19-300. Construction of chapter; limitations on authority of persons with fiduciary relationship with deceased; sale of burial vaults by operators of commercial cemeteries.
Nothing contained in this chapter may be construed to govern or limit the authority of an administrator or executor, trustee, or other person having a fiduciary relationship with the deceased. Further, nothing contained in this chapter may be construed to prohibit the sale of burial vaults by persons engaged in the business of operating a commercial cemetery.
SECTION 40-19-310. Chapter not applicable to preparation and burial of paupers and inmates of state institutions; effect of chapter on other board duties and responsibilities.
(A) The provisions of this chapter do not apply to the preparation and burial of dead bodies of paupers or of inmates of state institutions when the paupers or inmates are buried at the expense of the State.
(B) Nothing in this chapter alters the responsibilities of the board or limits the board in carrying out its duties and responsibilities as required in Chapters 7 and 8, Title 32.
SECTION 40-19-320. Severability of chapter provisions.
If a provision of this chapter or the application of a provision to a person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of this chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are severable.