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STLCC’s Funeral Service Education Program Earns Candidacy Status

April 10, 2014

Funeral Service Education  

The Funeral Service Education program at St. Louis Community College has been granted candidacy status by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) Committee on Accreditation for its Associate Degree in Applied Science in Funeral Service Education.


The committee approved candidacy status this morning at the ABFSE Annual Conference in Minneapolis. Next year at this time, representatives of the Funeral Service Education program will appear again for initial accreditation, which is the intermediary step leading to full seven-year accreditation. In the meantime, all students admitted to the program will be considered graduates of an ABSFE-accredited program that is required for licensure in most states.


“We are pleased that the accreditation process has worked as it is intended -- to ensure that our programs are designed and delivered to meet both national standards and the needs of our community,” said Cindy Hess, Forest Park president.


The STLCC administration and faculty has aggressively worked toward reinventing the learning experiences in funeral services, and hired a consultant to assist in the re-accreditation process.


Hess praised the work of Tracy Hall, vice president of academic affairs, and Vince Featherson, dean of allied health, natural sciences and physical education, as well as faculty members David Coughran and Steve Smith, for bringing the program up to standards expected.


“We still have work to do, but are thrilled to have accomplished this step,” Hess said.


The 65-credit-hour program, which prepared students for entry-level employment in funeral homes, lost accreditation last year because student scores on the National Board Examination were below the expected percentage for three consecutive years. Examination scores for first-time takers fell below the 60 percent threshold.


All remaining students in the program were not affected and will complete the program, but STLCC did not accept any new students into the program during the fall 2013 or spring 2014 semesters. Students who were currently enrolled in the program were not affected, and were allowed to continue with their studies.


The funeral directing certificate of specialization was not affected. The entire curriculum continues to be transferable to the associate degree program.


With the candidacy status approval, STLCC will start accepting new students for fall 2014 semester. The revised 66-credit-hour curriculum will be posted on the Interactive Course Schedule at www.stlcc.edu after it is approved by the STLCC Board of Trustees, which is expected to take place at the May 15 meeting.


Prior to enrolling, each applicant must meet the pre-matriculation requirements of the state in which the student intends to practice. Students also must submit a separate admissions application for the program, which will include job shadowing with the appropriate funeral service licensee. More information will be posted on the program website as it becomes available.