Embalmers of all skill levels are invited to learn from some of the funeral profession’s foremost experts during the National Funeral Directors Association 2021 Embalming & Restorative Art Seminar, taking place September 16-17 at the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This year’s seminar will feature live demonstrations and highlight best practices for ensuring organ and tissue donors are viewable by loved ones and friends.

The dynamic and engaging NFDA Embalming and Restorative Art Seminar offers both experienced and novice embalmers an opportunity to cultivate their knowledge and techniques; everything they learn can be immediately applied when they return to their funeral home.

The seminar will be led by some of the country’s most respected authorities on embalming and restorative art and organ and tissue donation:

  • Sarah Czajowski, licensed funeral director and certified tissue bank specialist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • T. Scott Gilligan, NFDA general counsel, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Amanda Marie Ellis King, licensed funeral director and embalmer from Springfield, Missouri
  • Cara Krepp, certified tissue bank specialist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Jason Mishler, CFSP, MBIE, licensed funeral director and embalmer and reconstructive specialist from Columbia City, Indiana

These noted experts will lead sessions on a variety of topics, including: the recovery process for long bones, tendons, skin, eyes, heart valves and tissue; embalming donor cases; preparing unembalmed cases; color theory and the biology behind the application of cosmetics; and embalming risk management.

Participants in past Embalming & Restorative Art Seminars have praised the program. One attendee said, “I would highly recommend this conference for any funeral director – from apprentice to 50-year licensee – everyone will benefit from it, whether you learn a new embalming/restoration tip or renew your passion for what we do for families.”

Attendees will pay up to 25 more if they register after August 17; registrations must be received by September 8.

  • NFDA member licensed funeral director         
    • On or before August 17: $325
    • After August 17: $349
  • Nonmember licensed funeral director
    • On or before August 17: $375
    • After August 17: $400
  • Student/Apprentice
    • On or before August 17: $100
    • After August 17: $100

Complete details about the 2021 NFDA Embalming & Restorative Art Seminar, including information on how to register, can be found on the NFDA website, www.nfda.org/embalmingseminar. Funeral service professionals may also call NFDA at 800-228-6333 for information and to register.

There are a number of hotels located near the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science; attendees may visit www.nfda.org/embalmingseminar for recommendations.

Health and Safety Measures

NFDA prioritizes the safety of its event attendees and will continue to monitor the status of the pandemic right up to and during the Embalming & Restorative Art Seminar. NFDA is prepared to take whatever steps necessary, in accordance with current local, state and national requirements and best practices, to keep attendees safe. As the seminar nears, NFDA will share information with attendees about the specific measures it will take to protect their health and safety.

Keep Your Embalming Skills Sharp With NFDA

Embalmers will also have a chance to refine their skills during the 2021 NFDA International Convention & Expo, taking place October 17-20 in Nashville, Tennessee. Technical skills will be covered during a preconvention seminar and several education sessions. Look for full details online, www.nfda.org/convention, when registration for the NFDA Convention opens on July 1.

For some embalmers who are not yet comfortable traveling – or for whom travel does not fit with the demands of their business – NFDA offers several online learning and home study courses focused on technical skills. Courses cover a variety of topics and enable funeral professionals to boost their skills wherever and whenever they have Internet access. A full list of online learning and home study courses can be found on the NFDA website, www.nfda.org/education (select the “Home Study & Online Learning Courses” button).

NFDA developed a consumer brochure, Embalming: Answers to Your Questions. This brochure helps families understand the embalming process, the value of viewings and visitations as part of end-of-life rituals, and answers common questions they may have. The brochure can be ordered through the NFDA Resource Store, www.nfda.org/store, or by calling 800-228-6332.

Funeral directors may also want to encourage families they serve to visit NFDA’s consumer-facing website, www.RememberingALife.com, 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.


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 www.nfda.org.