An associate's degree in mortuary science or funeral service is the most common path to becoming a funeral director. Also available are funeral director certificates, which are often not accredited but are desirable in certain situations, and bachelor's degrees, which offer more in-depth study, but are rare.
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: School websites, *National Center for Educational Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Students should consider the following when looking for funeral directing schools:
- Prospective students must first consider whether they wish to pursue a certificate, a 2-year degree or a 4-year degree in a mortuary science program.
- Students should choose a program that prepares them for the licensing exam offered by the state in which they intend to work.
- Prospective funeral directors enrolled in a mortuary science program should look at school programs that emphasize not only the preparation elements of the field, such as embalming, restorative arts and chemistry, but also the psychological, legal and business aspects of funeral services.
- Some programs offer internships or practicums in funeral homes, which helps students develop their skills and build their resumes.
Mortuary science programs are typically two years in length, and are available at community colleges and universities; certificates and four-year bachelor's programs are also available. Students should look for accredited programs that prepare them for state licensure, and internships may be beneficial as well.