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1. Review the NBE Candidate Handbook and The Conference Policies and Procedures carefully. As an exam candidate, you must agree to the terms and conditions.

2. Please review the NBE FAQ page for answers to frequently asked questions.

3. Apply for the NBE after you have reviewed the NBE Candidate Handbook. Please allow 2-3 business days for processing. 

Please Note: Only eligible candidates can sit for the NBE. Acceptable forms of eligibility include Verification of Graduation (submitted by the mortuary program), or a copy of official conferred transcripts.

***If you are seeking ADA accommodations, please review the ADA Testing Accommodations Handbook.

4. OPTIONAL study material is available and may be ordered here:
Order The National Board Exam Study Guide
Order The Practice National Board Exam 

5. Once you have received the confirmation email from The Conference that your application has been processed, you may schedule your examination. If you would like, you may locate a test center (follow link and click on “find a test center”) ahead of time.  You may also tour a test center to familiarize yourself with the general layout of a Pearson VUE testing location.

6. After your examination you will receive notification of pass/fail, you can also retrieve your NBE results from your online Pearson VUE account.
NBE Results – What to Expect.


Eligible candidates may sit for the National Board Exam (NBE) up to three times in 12 month period. Candidates must wait 90 days before taking a failed section of the NBE.

Please report a potential security breach if you are aware of an examination security issue.


The purpose of the National Board Examination (NBE) is to provide official licensing agencies with a national evaluation of an applicant for licensure in the diverse areas of competency required for the field of funeral service. The International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards develops, administers and provides score reporting services to the state licensure boards.

The NBE is used by regulatory licensing boards as an assessment of content knowledge needed to practice as a licensed Funeral Director or Embalmer. The exam contains two separate sections, a 170-item Arts section and a 170-item Sciences section. As of January 1, 2018, each of these examinations covers the following topics.

NBE Arts Section
Funeral Arranging and Directing 51 Items
Funeral Service Marketing/Merchandising 21 Items
Funeral Service Counseling 22 Items
Legal and Regulatory Compliance 36 Items
Cemetery and Crematory Operations 20 Items
Pretest Questions 20 Items

NBE Science Section
Embalming 58 Items
Restorative Art 34 Items
Preparation for Disposition 31 Items
Funeral Service Sciences 27 Items
Pretest Questions 20 Items

Sample Questions


The NBE is one of the elements used by regulatory boards in making licensing decisions. The current examination was developed from a Job Task Analysis Survey conducted in 2017 utilizing a diverse group of practitioners from across the nation. This survey is performed every 5-7 years by The Conference, with the most recent survey taking place in 2017. This process is used to determine the significance/importance of the various activities performed by current practitioners. From the analysis of data, the new content outline is developed. This job analysis produces a practitioner-oriented outline, which is the basis for an examination possessing substantial content validity. The examination is highly representative of the content/knowledge domain that it intends to measure. The most recent NBE blueprint was updated on January 1, 2018 to reflect the results of the 2017 survey (please see NBE sections above).

This content validity approach (domain sampling and expert review of the questions by practicing professionals and educators) resulting from the job analysis conducted by The Conference is recommended by the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures and the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing.

The results of these surveys shape not only the actual questions that appear on the examinations, but the very need for a particular examination within a specific scope of practice. The examinations are carefully developed and maintained by The Conference and its Examination Committee.

Examination policies are established by the elected Board of Directors and the National Board Examination Committee. The NBE is reported on and discussed with The Conference membership at each Annual Meeting.

Please contact The Conference at or 479.442.7076 for additional information.