Academy Information & FAQ's

We are often asked, “What is the Academy? And what do those initials mean?” Another frequent question is, “Why should I become a CFSP?”
Read on for a crash course in Academy 101.

Why was the Academy formed? To recognize licensed funeral directors who voluntarily sought self-improvement through continuing education courses and community involvement.
Background: The founding Task Force wanted the program to pick up where licensing requirements left off and to recognize those who chose lifelong learning. They wanted it to mean something to the individual participant, the licensing agencies of the various states, and the public in general. And they wanted the program to be accessible, attainable, and affordable. 

When was the Academy founded? November 17, 1975 
Background: Early in 1967, the Board of Governors of NFDA discussed the notion that funeral service should investigate and become involved in continuing education. When the Board of Governors met in 1974, a concrete proposal was made and the Task Force on Professional Certification was appointed in January 1975 by Ed Fitzgerald, NFDA President-elect and who became Academy member #76-1. Members appointed to the Task Force included NFDA Governors and Past Presidents, an American Board of Funeral Service Education representative, and licensed funeral directors, with Royal Keith as Chairman. 

What is the organizational structure of the Academy? The Academy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization.
Background: Individual membership consists of licensed funeral directors and student/interns. Members to the Board of Trustees are elected by the membership every two years to serve six year terms. Please see the Call for Nominees on the back of this newsletter. • Background – Until 1994, the governance was appointed and was composed of one representative from NFDA, NFDMA, NSM, OGR, ICFSEB, ABFSE, JFD, and National Foundation of Funeral Service. In 1994, the Academy Board was changed from an organization-appointed Board to Academy member-at-large positions. The Academy still maintains a close relationship with all national organizations.

Why should I join the Academy? For all the time and effort you put into bettering yourself professionally, it’s obvious you believe in lifelong learning. It’s time to acknowledge your hard work by earning the CFSP designation, the highest professional designation awarded in funeral service.

What else does the Academy do? The Academy maintains a member transcript of all the submitted continuing education and community involvement. This transcript includes dates and hours completed. The Academy also approves continuing education that is presented by Academy Approved Providers. Those Providers and their approved courses can be found on the Academy website,, by anyone who is looking for funeral related continuing education courses.