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Embalming Courses and Classes Overview

Embalming courses are offered as part of an associate or bachelor's program in mortuary science or funeral service. Courses cover information pertaining to the correct methods and procedures as well as the legal aspects of embalming a body and preparing it for burial. Students who take these classes are usually working towards becoming a funeral director or embalmer.

Essential Information

Students interested in mortuary science can find programs at universities and community colleges. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently 57 programs accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education. Although associate's degrees are an option, many employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree. Curriculum includes coursework in the sciences, such as anatomy and chemistry, along with practical experience working in a funeral home or similar setting. Individuals with a degree in mortuary science are qualified to become licensed funeral directors.

List of Common Courses

Below are some of the courses required in a mortuary science degree program.

Human Anatomy Course

A human anatomy course provides students with an overview of the human body with a specific focus on anatomy that is important in embalming. Emphasis is put on teaching students about the circulatory system. Students may also learn about various body cavities, such as the abdominal cavity. This class is usually taken towards the beginning of a program. It provides students with basic knowledge of the body needed for embalming.

Organic Chemistry Course

A course in organic chemistry explains how embalming effects the body. This includes the toxicology and chemical changes within the body when embalmed. Sanitation and disinfection of the body are covered. Students also learn how embalming fluids work, along with how to work safely with the fluids. Students generally enroll in the course at the beginning of their studies.

Body and Tools Preparation Course

This intermediate course covers what a student needs to know about preparing a body to be embalmed. It examines the different chemicals and instruments used. Students learn embalming methods and sanitation techniques. This course may also cover the legal and ethical aspects of embalming. By the end of the course, students should understand the process of safely preserving human remains through embalming and be able to prepare a body for the process.

Procedure and Techniques Course

Students learn about the embalming process though practical experience in embalming. Students practice all the technical aspects of embalming, along with the procedures and methods used in the process. It also teaches students pre- and post-embalming procedures. Procedures and techniques is an advanced course.

Advanced Procedures Course

Areas that fall outside a typical embalming situation are investigated in this course. Students learn about special cases where bodies may not be in good condition, such as fire or accident victims. By the end of this course, students are familiar with embalming procedures and methods used in unique cases. Students would take the course near the end of their program.

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