SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.

National Certificate: Funeral Services Practice 
21787  National Certificate: Funeral Services Practice 
SGB Funeral Services 
SERVICES - Services Sector Education and Training Authority  OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
National Certificate  Field 11 - Services  Personal Care 
Undefined  122  Level 3  NQF Level 03  Regular-Unit Stds Based 
Passed the End Date -
Status was "Reregistered" 
SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2023-06-30 
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

This qualification is for any individual who is or wishes to be involved in the Funeral Services Industry, will have access to this qualification. It also serves as the entry qualification into Funeral Services operations. This qualification will be registered at NQF Level 3.

A learner can complete the qualification specialising in Embalming and Restoration, Marketing and Merchandising or Disaster Management. The core unit standards are common to all three areas of specialisation. Portability across these areas of specialisation is therefore ensured.

Learners working towards this qualification will find that the acquisition of competence in the unit standards, which make up the qualification, will add value to learner`s job. This qualification is intended to enhance the provision of entry level service within the Funeral Service Industry.

The learners will be able to integrate all the selling, administrative, funeral provision and preparation of human remains knowledge and skills with those operational specifics in a given context.
The building on day-to-day specific funeral services as well as selling and providing an administrative competency, the qualification ensures progression of learning throughout their careers in this industry

It will provide the broad knowledge, skills and values needed in the Funeral Services Industry and will facilitate access to, and mobility and progression within, education, training and to progress along a learning path for learners who:
  • Were previously disadvantaged or who were unable to complete their schooling and were therefore denied access to Further Education and Training.
  • Have worked in Contact Centres for many years, but have no formal qualification in Contact Centre Support.
  • Wish to extend their range of skills and knowledge of the industry so that they can become competent workers in Contact Centres.

    The qualification has building blocks that can be developed further and will lead to a more defined Funeral Services learning path at various NQF levels. It also focuses on the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes required to progress further. The intention is:
  • To promote the development of knowledge, skills and values that are required in Contact Centres.
  • To release the potential of people.
  • To provide opportunities for people to move up the value chain.

    Rationale for the qualification:

    The National Certificate in Funeral Services Practice: Level 3 is designed to meet the needs of those learners who enter the field of Funeral Services, or are already involved and now wish to pursue a career in the Funeral Service Industry. The Funeral Service Industry is an essential industry and by its very nature a constant supply of customers is ensured. This means there is a need to develop career paths in this field, and it is an industry constantly in need of skilled people.

    The Funeral Services Practice National Certificate at NQF Level 3 supports the objectives of the NQF in that it gives the learner access to a National Qualifications Framework register. It will therefore ensure that the quality of education and training is enhanced and be of a world class standard.

    The National Certificate in Funeral Services Practice: NQF Level 3 allows the learner to work towards a nationally recognised qualification. The qualification will allow both those in formal education and those already employed in organisations in the funeral business access to a qualification that can be used as a benchmark to gauge their competence against local and international standards. 

    Language, literacy, numeracy and communication are intrinsic to human and cognitive development and therefore central to lifelong learning. The learning assumed to be in place at this level is intended to accommodate a range of different contexts; that is, they can be demonstrated in ways that are appropriate to each individual learners needs. The learning assumed to be in place is only a guide in order to help the learner cope with attaining competence of the unit standards in the qualification.

    The following is the learning assumed to be in place:
  • Numeracy at NQF Level 2 or equivalent.
  • Verbal and written communication at NQF Level 2 or equivalent.

    Recognition of Prior Learning:

    The structure of this Unit Standard based Qualification makes the Recognition of Prior Learning possible, if the learner is able to demonstrate competence in the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes implicit in this Funeral Services Practice Qualification. Recognition of Prior Learning will be done by means of an Integrated Assessment (see Assessment Criteria).

    This Recognition of Prior Learning may allow:
  • For accelerated access to further learning
  • Gaining of credits towards a unit standard

    All recognition of Prior Learning is subject to quality assurance by the relevant accredited Education, Training, Quality, Assurance Body and is conducted by a registered workplace assessor. 


    Motivation for number of credits assigned to fundamental, core and elective

    Fundamental Credits:

    SAQA stipulates that a minimum of 20 compulsory credits are allocated to Communication Studies and Languages and 16 compulsory credits are allocated to Physical, Computer Mathematical and Life Sciences.
    36 credits have been allocated to each of these two fundamental competences.


    Seventy-six credits have been allocated to the Core Unit Standards. This is to ensure that the qualification has a strong Funeral Services focus.

    The Core Unit Standards offer a broad contextual understanding and will enable the learners to gain an all round picture of the Funeral Service Industry.


    Between 8 and 11 credits have been allocated to the selected Elective Unit Standards. There are 10 credits for the Elective area of Embalming and Restoration, 8 credits for the Elective area of Marketing and Merchandising and 11 credits for the Elective area of Disaster Management. They also allow for progression to the next level of learning. 

    On achieving this qualification, the learner will be able to:
  • Work with both internal and external stakeholders in a funeral business.
  • Present and demonstrate funeral services and products to customers to meet their needs.
  • Deal with customers in different situations including handling complaints.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of basic health and safety practices when working with human remains.
  • Prepare and clean human remains for different routine requirements.
  • Comply with all legal and ethical issues pertaining to the funeral service industry.
  • Assist with the preparation, transportation and conducting of funeral ceremonies.
  • Exhume human remains on request.
  • Comply with housekeeping and merchandising requirements.
  • Implement the necessary disaster management administration procedures and processes. 

    In particular assessors should check that the learner must demonstrate an ability to consider a range of options and make decisions about:
  • The principles, methods and techniques for dealing with people, both internal and external.
  • Creating the right climate for the presentation of funeral service options and products.
  • The most effective way of dealing with customer complaints.
  • The correct methods and techniques for complying with health, safety and ethical regulations.
  • The correct procedures and processes for preparing, cleaning and embalming human remains.
  • Legal, regulatory and ethical requirements for a funeral business.
  • The applicable administrative systems and procedures.
  • The legal and practical requirements for exhuming human remains.
  • Marketing and merchandising issues in a funeral business.

    Integrated Assessment:

    Because assessment practices must be open, transparent, fair, valid, and reliable and ensure that no learner is disadvantaged in any way whatsoever, an integrated assessment approach is incorporated into the qualification.

    Learning, teaching and assessment are inextricably lined. Whenever possible, the assessment of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values shown in the unit standards should be integrated.

    Assessment of the communication, language, literacy and numeracy should be conducted in conjunction with other aspects and should use authentic Funeral Services contexts wherever possible.
    A variety of methods must be used in assessment and tools and activities must be appropriate to the context in which the learner is working. Where it is not possible to assess the learner in the workplace or on-the-job, simulations, case studies, role-plays and other similar techniques should be used to provide a context appropriate to the assessment.

    The term `Integrated Assessment` implies that theoretical and practical components should be assessed together. During integrated assessments the assessor should make use of formative and summative assessment methods and assess combinations of practical, applied, foundational and reflective competencies.

    Assessors and moderators should make use of a range of formative and summative assessment methods. Assessors should assess and give credit for the evidence of learning that has already been acquired through formal, informal and non-formal learning and work experience.

    Assessment should ensure that all specific outcomes, embedded knowledge and critical cross-field outcomes are evaluated. The assessment of the critical cross-field outcomes should be integrated with the assessment of specific outcomes and embedded knowledge. 

    Benchmarking was done by comparison to Unit Standards/Outcomes of learning against:
  • The New Zealand qualifications - National Certificate in Embalming, National Certificate in Funeral Directing and the National Diploma in Funeral Directing, with a total credit value of 302 credits. The SGB also compared the unit standards in this qualification to the 21 New Zealand unit standards at levels 3, 4 and 5.
  • NVQ Qualifications from Britain. The NVQ`s in Funeral Service - Levels 2 and 3.

    A direct comparison of the title, specific outcomes, assessment criteria and embedded knowledge was undertaken with each and the best practice points were highlighted and incorporated into each unit standard. However the points incorporated were written in a South African context.

    Because of the difference in levels across the different countries, difficulty was found in making actual direct comparisons, level to level. 

  • Anyone assessing a learner or moderating the assessment of a learner against this Qualification must be registered as an assessor with the relevant Education, Training, Quality, and Assurance (ETQA) Body.
  • Any institution offering learning that will enable the achievement of this Qualification must be accredited as a provider with the relevant ETQA.
  • Assessment and moderation of assessment will be overseen by the relevant ETQA according to the ETQA`s policies and guidelines for assessment and moderation; in terms of agreements reached around assessment and moderation between ETQA`s (including professional bodies); and in terms of the moderation guideline detailed immediately below.
  • Moderation must include both internal and external moderation of assessments at exit points of the qualification, unless ETQA policies specify otherwise. Moderation should also encompass achievement of the competence described both in individual unit standards as well as the integrated competence described in the qualification.

    Anyone wishing to be assessed against this Qualification may apply to be assessed by any assessment agency, assessor or provider institution that is accredited by the relevant ETQA. 

    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this qualification was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 


    Core  14172  Building rapport with clients in a funeral business  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  14182  Comply with organisation ethics  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  14156  Exhuming human remains  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  14154  Implementing and participating in administrative procedures in a funeral business  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  14137  Participating in conducting funeral ceremonies  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  14184  Preparing and cleaning human remains for storage  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  14186  Preparing and cleaning human remains for visitation and coffining  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  14188  Preparing the funeral site for burial, cremation or memorial services  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  14174  Providing and demonstrating funeral product and service information to individuals to enable informed decision-making  Level 3  NQF Level 03  10 
    Core  14152  Transporting human remains, the bereaved and materials and equipment  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  10025  Handle a range of customer complaints  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Core  14177  Presenting funeral provision options to individuals  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Core  14136  Work as a team member in a funeral business  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Fundamental  8968  Accommodate audience and context needs in oral communication  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  9010  Demonstrate an understanding of the use of different number bases and measurement units and an awareness of error in the context of relevant calculations  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  9013  Describe, apply, analyse and calculate shape and motion in 2-and 3-dimensional space in different contexts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  8969  Interpret and use information from texts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  9012  Investigate life and work related problems using data and probabilities  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  8973  Use language and communication in occupational learning programmes  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  7456  Use mathematics to investigate and monitor the financial aspects of personal, business and national issues  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  8970  Write texts for a range of communicative contexts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14164  Maintain housekeeping in a funeral business  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  14163  Displaying and marking funeral merchandise  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14159  Preparing human remains for embalming  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14162  Comply with legal requirements and understand legal implications when embalming  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Elective  14169  Gathering and collating resource data and sourcing and placing disaster equipment  Level 4  NQF Level 04  11 


    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.

    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.