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Local CFSP gets re-certified

March 6, 2018
Bryce Berginski - Tribune Reporter , Pierce County Tribune

Continuing education is important to Dale Niewoehner.

"My father, who was born in the early part of the 20th Century, didn't ever graduate from high school, but he went to NDSU, or the Agricultural College, two or three winters for classes. His father was a teacher and his grandfather was a teacher," said Niewoehner. "So education has always been important to our family."

In the 1990s, the owner-operator of Niewoehner Funeral Home which recently celebrated its 46th anniversary-went through the initial process of becoming a Certified Funeral Service Practitioner through the Buchanan, Ga.-based Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice. Recently he was re-certified.

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Niewoehner said the re-certification, which happens annually, is a commitment to continuing education.

"It's saying that we feel strongly about the program and that we want to continue our certification," Niewoehner said.

Niewoehner said continuing education is currently not a requirement for North Dakota funeral directors. The State Board of Funeral Service, of which Niewoehner is the secretary (Other members include Chair Jeff Brose, of Mohall; Treasurer Mike Such, of Grafton; and State Health Officer Mylynn Tufte), has the authority per Chapter 43-10-06.2 of the North Dakota Century to establish continuing education requirements for licenses, but Niewoehner said "That pretty much depends on the makeup of the board and the attitudes of the board members."

In the initial stages of becoming a certified funeral service practitioner, one must provide documentation of a license and write papers regarding different subjects. The continuing education portion is broken down into four areas: academic, professional, career review and public service.

The academic portion includes having a certain education, writing articles, presenting programs, and participating in disaster mortuary operation support. The professional portion includes attending Academy meetings, workshops and serving on funeral service boards and committees. Career review grants credit for completed activities and programs in which those undergoing certification participated. Public service grants credit in community, civic and church organizations; making presentations at events; and conducting tours, all of which pertain to funeral service.

To maintain certification, 20 transferable hours of continuing education are required.

"I felt that doing this would be educational for myself, and an opportunity to extend myself and my business to others in the community by doing various things," Niewoehner said.

Niewoehner said that an advantage of being a CFSP is that it shows one has done the work, continues to participate in activities in one's profession, and that one wants to make him or herself better.

"Many of us went to school 20 to 50 years ago and then we were done with school," Niewoehner said. "Well, if you don't continue to learn in some means, you're not going to be current with what's going on in the work that you've pledged to do, and that's why it's important. It says you're current with information and knowledge."

In addition to the State Board of Funeral Service, Niewoehner is also a member of the N.D. Funeral Directors Association, and the National Funeral Directors Association. Niewoehner also served as the treasurer of the Academy.

Niewoehner also said people regularly come to him for help with genealogy, and that he enjoys helping those who do so solve family mysteries and dig up previously unknown documents.

"I've dedicated a lot of my life to helping others," Niewoehner said.

Other CFSP's through the Academy in North Dakota include Jay Seibel, of Beulah; Bryan Thomas, of Minot; Gary Carlson, of Wahpeton; and Rick Clemes, Seth Thomas Coughlin and Dennis Gendreau, all of Williston.



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