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Determining and Documenting Qualifications

Qualifications and Documentation

Determining and Documenting Qualifications

ALL Applicants:  Please read the following definitions and explanations before completing your application.

Field of Study Definitions

  • Social Sciences---Instructional programs that focus on the systematic study of social systems, social institutions, and social behavior. 
  • Behavioral Sciences--A program with a combined or undifferentiated focus on the social sciences, psychology, and biomedical sciences to study complex problems of human individual and social growth and behavior.
  • Human Services-- A program that focuses on the general study and provision of human and social services to individuals and communities and prepares individuals to work in public and private human services agencies and organizations. Includes instruction in the social sciences, psychology, principles of social service, human services policy, planning and evaluation, social services law and administration, and applications to particular issues, services, localities, and populations.

[Source: U.S. Government National Center for Education Statistics]

  • “Related fields”—Programs that prepare graduates for multidisciplinary careers which involve careful analysis of human behavior and social relationships and, in application, can help people navigate and/or improve their quality of life.

    Thanatology Field Experience Hours

    What counts as Thanatology field experience?

  • Refers to work experience completed within the field of Thanatology through teaching about, working with (or managing others working with) persons experiencing life-threatening circumstances, terminal conditions, traumatic death, loss, grief and mourning.
  • Is measured in “Thanatology experience hours” and can include:
  • Professionally compensated work experience
  • Volunteer experience
  • Supervised internships, apprenticeships, clinical practice experience.
  • Is quantified in hours using the following equivalency guidelines:
    • 1760 hr = 1 year full time work (or 2 years of half time work)
    • 3520 hr = 2 years full time work
    • 5280 hours = 3 years full time work
    • Note: if your thanatology role constituted only a percentage of your full time field experience, then you must calculate the hours dedicated to thanatology.[i.e. 40% of full time job is thanatology = 704 eligible hours you may claim]
  • Can be verified by including a signed statement (from administrator, supervisor, colleague, mentor, department manager, professor or person in charge of oversight) that includes;
  • Length of experience time (calculated in hours)
  • Description of responsibilities within the thanatology role


Thanatology Education Hours

Thanatology education

  • Consists of educational activities wherein:
    • The applicant participated as a student.
    • The learning content fits within the definition of thanatology: the study of death, dying and bereavement (loss, grief and mourning).
    •  If the wording of the title does not clearly reflect that the educational content is an area of Thanatology, you MUST submit either the syllabus, course description or a letter from the instructor indicating course content and hours.


    Examples of topics as they directly relate to death, dying, loss, grief and mourning:

    • Cultural, social, religious, and spiritual considerations
    • Development across life-span; individual, family and disabled/differently-abled considerations
    • Thanatology concepts, models, theories, resources, and research (early in the field and current)
    • Societal, institutional, global issues; demographic/epidemiologic implications
    • History of the thanatology field and contemporary developments in the field
    • Ethical, legal, moral and medical issues regarding death, dying and bereavement
    • Assessment models and tools;practice models, interventions, treatments, and modalities
    • Support for bereaved and those facing life-threatening and life-limiting circumstances
    • The challenges of Thanatology work, i.e. therapeutic relationships, boundaries, burnout


  • Is measured and documented in contact hours

    (One contact hour = 50-60 minutes of learner participation in a thanatology education activity)

  • Can be verified by including documents/certificates from the educational sponsor that include:
    • Date of attendance
    • Contact hours, CEUs, CEs or similar unit of measure
  • For ceu’s/contact hours awarded from a thanatology-specific conference, (such as ADEC)
    • List the name of the conference and the sum total of contact hours earned.
    • Do not list each individual session.
  • If the wording of the title does not clearly reflect that the educational content is an area of Thanatology, you must submit either the syllabus, course description or a letter from the instructor indicating course content and hours.
  • Due to the impact of COVID-19 Contact Hour documentation has been adjusted for 2020. Certificants can provide registration confirmation OR an announcement regarding an educational event AND a screen shot of real time presence in the webinar showing the time of attendance. A maximum of 15 of your required 45 contact hours can be claimed in this manner.

Examples of Eligible Thanatology Education Activities:  academic courses, workshops, conferences, webinars, symposiums, seminars, online learning and self-study courses that award continuing education hours.

Examples of Non-eligible Thanatology Education Activities: : journal club discussion, reading a book, watching a movie or play, reviewing journal articles or conference abstracts, teaching a class, making a presentation, publishing an article or book.


Letters of Recommendation

Each letter of recommendation must include the following: 

  • Their professional role or title
  • Their relationship to you
  • The length of time of the professional relationship

  A letter of recommendation can double as verification of thanatology experience hours only if the calculation of your experience hours in included in the signed letter.