Funeral Directing Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Aspiring funeral directors can get the education they need to prepare for licensure through an associate's or bachelor's degree program in funeral service or mortuary science. Read on to learn more about educational opportunities in this field.

As of 2017, there are 59 institutions that provide funeral service programs accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE). Of these, 55 offer associate degrees, 8 offer bachelor's degrees and 5 offer certificates or diplomas.

Schools with Funeral Directing Programs

These schools have undergraduate programs in mortuary science or funeral science:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees 2015-2016*
Miami Dade College Miami, FL 4-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,834 in-state, $9,661 out-of-state
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Public Bachelor's $13,790 in-state, $22,210 out-of-state
American River College Sacramento, CA 2-year, Public Associate's $1,104 in-state, $7,440 out-of-state
St. Petersburg College Clearwater, FL 4-year, Public Associate's $3,352 in-state, $11,607 out-of-state
Tidewater Community College Norfolk, VA 2-year, Public Associate's $5,171 in-state, $11,009 out-of-state
Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,830 in-state, $9,944 out-of-state
Chandler-Gilbert Community College Chandler, AZ 2-year, Public Associate's $2,046 in-state, $7,830 out-of-state
San Antonio College San Antonio, TX 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,088 in-district, $5,550 in-state, $10,740 out-of-state
Nassau Community College Garden City, NY 2-year, Public Associate's $4,854 in-state, $9,388 out-of-state
Southern Illinois University Carbondale Carbondale, IL 4-year, Public Bachelor's $13,137 in-state, $26,390 out-of-state

Sources: *National Center for Educational Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students should consider the following when looking for funeral directing schools:

  • Prospective students must make sure that the program is accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE).
  • Students may want to find out what the pass rate is for graduates of the program on the licensing exam in which they intend to work.
  • Prospective students who have scheduling constraints or who do not live near an accredited school may want to look for programs that are offered online.
  • Before they can get a job in the field, aspiring funeral services must have completed one to three years of real-world training, which may be completed either during or after a funeral service program. Students may want to find out if internships are included within the program or if they will need to complete all of their hands-on training requirements after they graduate.

Associate's Degree Programs

Most aspiring funeral service directors get the training they need for certification through associate's degree programs in funeral service or mortuary science. Students in these two-year programs study topics such as grief counseling, business law, ethics and embalming/body preservation. Graduates are prepared for the national board exam and the training internships that they must complete for licensure in most states.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Bachelor's degree programs for aspiring funeral directors are offered as traditional four-year programs or as two-year degree completion programs. In four-year programs, students take a combination of liberal arts and funeral-focused courses. They may gain hands-on experience through internships, mock funerals and case studies. In some two-year programs, students who already hold an associate's degree complete the introductory funeral services coursework necessary for licensure; no general education classes are required. Other two-year completion programs are intended for licensed funeral service professionals who want to take more advanced courses in the field. Some degree-completion programs are available online in order to accommodate working professionals with scheduling constraints.

Certificate Programs

Individuals who already hold an associate's or bachelor's degree in a subject other than funeral services can redirect their careers toward the field by completing a certificate program. These programs include the basic funeral-related coursework needed to prepare for state licensing. Often, these programs are provided in an online format to meet the needs of students who work full-time or do not live near an accredited school.

When choosing between programs, aspiring funeral directors should be sure to choose an accredited program and consider licensure exam success and internship opportunities available through the school.

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