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Home funeral workshop

Home funeral training for hospice volunteers

Beyond Hospice is an 88-hour online course that leads to a certificate as a Midwife to the Dying (or Death Midwife), and Home Funeral Guide. The course contains 32 modules [see bottom of this page] which consist of reading material, videos, podcasts and assignments. One of the modules has an option for in-person training from a third-party if you prefer that. All modules are accessed online and as such no course materials are sent to you.

Part of the richness of this course is the wide perspectives offered. By viewing online videos and podcasts, you learn from many teachers, not just one. You may feel quite at home with some teachers, and with others you may not share their perspective. This is valuable training because the wider base of knowledge you have the better for relating to people with many different perspectives.

There are no third-party national credentialing organizations to offer certification for home funeral guides or midwives to the dying. Beyond Hospice offers its own internal “credential” program. Unlike a program certified by an independent, third-party agency, this certification may not be nationally recognized.

The cost of the Beyond Hospice course is $645.

TO REGISTER & PAY FOR THE COURSE: Please send an email to saying you would like to register for the course. She will send you some information and then email you an invoice which you can pay online, or by postal mail. At this time we do not offer scholarships or payment plans.

Additional costs: There are books that are required reading for the course. The cost of these books is less than $40 on

Why take this course
Some people who take the Beyond Hospice course do so to expand their perspectives and education and plan only to be available to their friends and families as needed. Others work as educators and advocates committed to educating the public about choices and funeral alternatives that are available to them. They may work in a field such as nursing or social work and want to add new perspectives to skills they already have. And some people feel that at the completion of the program they can earn a livelihood for themselves. At this point in time, it is not advisable to take the course as a way to earn a livelihood because this is such a new concept that most people are not aware of it, therefore the pool of clients is extremely small.

A funeral at home

A funeral taking place at home

Steps to complete the Beyond Hospice program
After you register for the course you will be sent a password which will enable you to access all the online materials. There are no materials that will be sent to you as everything is accessed online.

The self-paced course may be started at any time and must be completed within eighteen months of the start date. Proceed through the materials at your own pace, and when you have completed the modules, submit the following assignments to receive your certificate. Because it’s self-paced, the program takes discipline and self-motivation. Participants work through the exercises and assignments on their own. It’s like doing a correspondence course — only without the instructor and grades. This is perfect for some people, but it’s not for everybody.

Step 1
Complete each of the 32 modules, and indicate on the Assignment Sheet the time it took to complete the module, and the date you completed each module. 

Step 2
Select three of the modules and write a two-page paper about the module reflecting your thoughts. For example write about: which things stood out to you, what was new information for you, what you agreed or disagreed with, what you would change or do differently, etc. There are no right or wrong answers since it is simply your thoughts, insight and opinions that are being solicited. There is no need to summarize or repeat what is in the module as if writing a book report. [If you complete any module and want feedback, I am happy to review and comment.~DB]

Step 3
Hands-on home funeral practice. Selection either of the two options. Option 1: Arrange an informal home funeral practice session with at least three other people. Write a two-page summary of the hands-on experience, and if possible, include a few photos taken at the practice session. Option 2: Attend an in-person training offered by a third party. Write a two-page summary of your experience.

Step 4
Listen to or participate in two of the National Home Funeral Alliance’s monthly teleconferences. Write a one-page summary of each teleconference. [You are strongly urged to join the organization as well — they have excellent resource, and it is free to join. The teleconferences are free as well.]

Submit all the materials as a packet to be reviewed, and after review you will be awarded your Certificate. It is your option to submit an assignment once you complete it for feedback, and you are encouraged to do this. However, it will need to be included as part of the packet to be reviewed.

To summarize, your final packet to complete the program should contain:
1. Assignment Sheet
2. Three two-page papers on the modules you selected
3. Two-page paper on home funeral practice session
4. Two one-page summaries of a podcast or teleconference

The Beyond Hospice Modules consist of five sections

Caring for a loved one

Caring for a loved one

I. Foundational Work, Required Reading

Creating Sacred Space
Healing techniques
Rituals, Vigils, Lying in Honor
Music, singing and sounding
Memorial Art
Home funeral procedures for care of the body (option for third-party in-person training)

III. Prepare yourself
Language of death care
Mental ego
Near Death Experiences
Dying Patient Bill of Rights
Fostering Relaxation
Grief and Bereavement
Personal beliefs
Personal preparation
Plan your funeral
What happens when we die
Right attitude
Unusual circumstances at death

IV. Working with others
End-of-Life Guide (Midwife to the Dying process)
Working with hospice & your community
Laws for your area
Green Burials
Business and Ethics
Public presentations

V. Luminaries
Meredith Little, Sacred Space
Goldberrg, Helping Loved Ones
Visiting Shane