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National Board Exam

Please Note: As of January 1, 2016 eligible candidates may sit for the NBE up to three times in one calendar year. Candidates must wait 90 days before taking a failed section of the NBE.


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

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

3. Submit Your Registration Application after you have reviewed the NBE Candidate Handbook. Please allow 2-3 business days for processing.
***please note that As of January 1, 2016, only verified graduates from an ABFSE-accredited program will be permitted to sit for the NBE.

***If you are seeking ADA accommodations, please submit the ADA Accommodations Form. Please follow the instructions carefully.

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 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.

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 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia 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. Each of these examinations covers the following topics.

As of September 1, 2012

NBE Arts Section
Funeral Directing 52 Items
Funeral Service Marketing/Merchandising 22 Items
Funeral Service Counseling 23 Items
Regulatory Compliance 38 Items
Cemetery & Crematory Operations 15 Items
Pretest Questions 20 Items

NBE Science Section
Embalming 60 Items
Restorative Art 38 Items
Preparation for Disposition 22 Items
Funeral Service Sciences 30 ITems
Pretest Questions 20 Items


The NBE is one of the elements used by regulatory boards in making licensing decisions. The examination itself was developed from a task analysis performed in 2011 utilizing a diverse group of practitioners from across the nation. A task analysis is performed by The Conference every 5-7 years. This “task inventory” is used to determine the significance/importance of the various activities performed by current practitioners. From the analysis of data, a new content outline was developed. This job analysis produces a practioner-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.

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 policy is established by the elected Board of Directors and the National Board Examination Committee. The National Board Examination is reported on and discussed with the total membership at each annual meeting.

Please contact The Conference at or 479.442.7076 for additional information.