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Embalming & Restorative Art: Keep Your Skills Sharp With NFDA

July 24, 2018

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Embalming & Restorative Art: Keep Your Skills Sharp With NFDA

Brookfield, Wis. – On the heels of a successful Embalming & Restorative Art Seminar, held in May at the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) is offering funeral professionals even more opportunities to hone their technical skills during the second half of 2018. The association is also making plans to host the Embalming & Restorative Art Seminar in 2019.

2019 Embalming & Restorative Art Seminar

NFDA will, again, host the Embalming & Restorative Art Seminar in 2019. During the 2018 seminar, both novice and seasoned embalmers gained advanced skills, ideas and knowledge that could be applied when they returned to their funeral homes.

Participants in the seminar described it using superlatives such as, “fantastic,” “amazing,” “totally exceeding my expectations” and “the best presentation I ever attended in my 54 years as a licensed funeral director and embalmer.”

The seminar was led by some of the country’s most respected authorities on embalming and restorative art: Dominick J. Astorino, CFSP, MBIE; Jzyk Ennis, Ph.D.; T. Scott Gilligan; and Wallace Hooker, CFSP, MBIE. Sessions at the conference included: embalming procedures and techniques for all experience levels, including a live demonstration; advanced restorative art techniques to help make the most difficult cases presentable; embalming standards of care; and how to manage risk and reduce liability exposure.

Information about the 2019 Embalming & Restorative Art Seminar will be available on the NFDA website,, in the months to come.

Bringing Education to You

For many funeral directors, traveling to a conference may not fit with the demands of their business. NFDA will host a live webinar, Meet the Embalming Experts (1 CE hour), with presenters Melissa Johnson and Wallace Hooker, on September 6 at 1 p.m. CT. Registration will be available on the NFDA website in the weeks to come.

NFDA also offers several online learning courses focused on technical skills that enable funeral professionals to boost their skills wherever and whenever they have Internet access. Courses include:

  • Embalming Risk Management (3 CE hours) presented by Scott Gilligan and Jzyk Ennis, Ph.D.
  • Embalming Perspectives and Paradigms Challenged (6 CE hours) presented by John S. “Jay” Rhodes III, CFSP
  • Embalming the Obese Case (3 CE hours) presented by Vernie Fountain, CFSP

Later this year, NFDA will be adding a new online learning course based on the live embalming demonstration that took placed during the 2018 Embalming & Restorative Art Seminar.

To learn more about NFDA Online Learning Courses, visit

Technical Skills at the NFDA Convention 

Embalming and restorative art topics are on the agenda of the 2018 NFDA International Convention & Expo, taking place October 14-17 in Salt Lake City. Noted experts will present education sessions on a variety of topics.

Kick things off with a preconvention seminar on Sunday October 14The Vernie Fountain Files: Embalming, Restoration and Death Investigation presented by Vernie Fountain.

Workshops covering technical skills include:

  • Treating Difficult Institutionalized Medical Cases presented by Karl Wenzel, CFSP, MBIE (Sunday, October 14)
  • The Relevance of Restorative Art presented by Dominick Astorino, CFSP, MBIE (Monday, October 15)
  • Creating Lasting Memories: Perfecting the Final Touch presented by Wallace Hooker, CFSP, MBIE (Tuesday, October 16)
  • Restoration and Repair of Trauma Cases presented by Amanda McElreath and Melissa Johnson (Wednesday, October 17)

Complete details about the 2018 NFDA International Convention & Expo can be found at

Advice From Your Peers

Embalmers who have questions about how to approach a challenge they face in the prep room or want to share a tip that has helped them in the past can visit the new online “Embalmers’ Community.”

Exclusively for NFDA members, the online community is a place to meet, share ideas and collaborate with peers. The “Embalmers’ Community” can be found on the NFDA website, (click on the “Resources” link at the top of the page; choose “Online Communities” from the menu).

Educate Your Families

 NFDA has developed a consumer brochure, “Embalming: Answers to Your Questions.” This brochure gently explains the embalming process, describes the value of viewings and visitations as part of end-of-life rituals, and answers common questions that families may have. The brochure can be ordered through the NFDA Resource Store,, or by calling 800-228-6332.

Funeral directors may also want to encourage families to visit NFDA’s new consumer-facing website, which serves as a guide to honoring a life well-lived, from planning a tribute to mourning a loved one. The site offers guidance on how to start the planning process, the kinds of decisions families will make, and the many options available to make a tribute personal and meaningful. The site highlights information on service options (including embalming and the value of viewing), details about cremation and burial, and prefunding options.

About NFDA

NFDA is the world’s leading and largest funeral service association, serving more than 20,000 individual members who represent nearly 11,000 funeral homes in the United States and 49 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit