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Funeral Service Education

Funeral Service Education

Associate in Applied Science Degree (FP)

Associate in Applied Science in Funeral Service Education is a 66-credit-hour program that prepares students for entry-level employment in funeral homes.

The American Board of Funeral Service Education Committee on Accreditation has granted candidacy status to the Funeral Service Education (FSE) program which is a revised 66-credit-hour curriculum leading to the Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree.

In April 2015, representatives of the Funeral Service Education program are expected to appear again for initial accreditation. During this time, all students who successfully complete the program will be considered graduates of an ABSFE accredited program that is required for licensure in most states.

CAUTION: Students applying for admission to the funeral service program at St. Louis Community College should contact their respective state boards of funeral service regarding that state board's approval of this particular program of instruction.

The Funeral Service Program at St. Louis Community College is a "Candidate" for Accreditation with the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) (3414 Ashland Ave., Suite G, St. Joseph, MO 64506, 816-233-3747, www.abfse.org)

The annual passage rate of first-time takers on the National Board Examination (NBE) for the most recent three-year period for this institution and all ABFSE accredited funeral service education programs is posted on the ABFSE website.

Starting January 1, 2004, each accredited program in funeral service education must require that each funeral service education student take the National Board Examination (NBE) as a requirement for graduation.

For additional information, please email David Coughran, M.A.T., Funeral Service Education Program Director.

Students gain practical experience in the various techniques of embalming through the use of modern facilities at local funeral homes as well as in the classroom.

Program Objectives

At the completion of program, students are expected to know and be able to:

  1. Demonstrate competency as a funeral director/embalmer, as defined by nationally accepted standards.
  2. Explain how the treatment, handling, and disposition of the dead human body meet the sociological, psychological, theological, physical, and legal needs of the family and the community.
  3. Apply knowledge of the state and federal laws regulating funeral service practice.
  4. Demonstrate proficiency by successful completion of both national and state licensing examinations.
  5. Identify and provide varieties of funeralization rites and ceremonies, as seen in major religious and ethnic subcultures, fraternal, and military groups in the United States.
  6. Counsel families about funerals prior to a death, during the time of the funeral, and continue to assist as long as needed.
  7. Demonstrate an active role in the community to provide service and be a community resource to client families.
  8. Demonstrate professionalism and constantly be aware of their role as guardians of the public health and those measures of safety which must be followed when dealing with dead human remains.
  9. Recognize the high standards of ethical conduct, which must be adhered to in order to promote the dignity of funeral service.
  10. Utilize research to expand knowledge in the field of funeral service.
  11. Establish an active role in promoting and attending continuing education programs offered in the profession.

Persons interested in funeral service education should possess emotional stability, the desire to serve others and be in good physical health to withstand the irregular working hours and stresses of the job. Good grooming habits also are important. In most states, graduates are required to work as interns under the supervision of a licensed funeral director or embalmer for a specified period of time.

Prerequisites: Prior to applying for admission to the Funeral Service Education program, the student must complete a minimum of 40 hours of documented job shadowing which has been completed and verified under the direct supervision of a licensed funeral director and embalmer, and which must also occur in two unaffiliated and licensed funeral service establishments. In addition, the student is required to meet with the program director and/or other Funeral Service Education faculty for a personal interview.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment of embalmers is expected to grow at an average rate through 2019. In 2014, 10,500 people were employed in the funeral service field in the surrounding area and the most popular form of education was a postsecondary vocational award.