Mortuary Science Schools and Colleges: How to Choose

Dec 09, 2019

Students can find associate and bachelor's degree programs in mortuary science at 4-year universities and 2-year community colleges through schools' health services divisions.

Morticians, undertakers, funeral directors and embalmers have all received their training from mortuary science programs. Since funeral directors must deal with the reality of preserving or disposing of human remains along with the survivors of the deceased, mortuary science programs feature a wide range of education, from psychology to microbiology.

Colleges with Mortuary Science Programs

These colleges offer mortuary science programs at the associate and bachelor's degree levels.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition 2018-2019*
American River College Sacramento, CA 2-year, Public Associate $1,104 in-state, $8,712 out-of-state
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Public Bachelor's $14,760 in-state, $30,438 out-of-state
Gannon College Erie, PA 4-year, Private Bachelor's $32,136
Nassau Community College Garden City, NY 2-year, Public Associate's $5,880 in-state, $11,230 out-of-state
University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA 4-year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's $15,887 in-state, $34,570 out-of-state
Mount Hood Community College Gresham, OR 2-year, Public Associate's $5,441 in-state, $10,346 out-of-state
Point Park University Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Private Bachelor's $31,450
Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College Cumberland, KY 2-year, Public Associate's $4,248 in-state, $14,400 out-of-state
St Petersburg College Clearwater, FL 4-year, Public Associate's $2,682 in-state, $9,286 out-of-state
Jefferson State Community College Birmingham, AL 2-year, Public Associate's $4,800 in-state, $8,670 out-of-state

Sources: *School websites, National Center for Educational Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Considerations for students include the following:

  • Students should consult the National Funeral Director's Association (NFDA) to gain information on which schools will satisfy all state regulations and what other education, training or licenses they may need outside of the mortuary science degree.
  • Schools typically conduct preliminary interviews and background checks for mortuary science programs, as well as require previous education in the sciences, so students should research those prerequisites before applying to a program they may not qualify for.
  • Students will want to make sure their school is accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE).
  • Students should consider programs that offer internships.

Mortuary Science Program Overviews

Associate of Applied Science in Mortuary Science

The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Mortuary Science program lasts around 2-4 years. Most associate degree programs require students to have completed general education courses prior to enrolling in the AAS program. Prior to becoming a licensed mortician, all students must pass the national board exam for funeral directors.

Bachelor of Science in Mortuary Science

Bachelor of Science in Mortuary Science programs last four years, including general college courses. Undergraduate programs not only prepare students for the national board exam and provide mortician education and laboratory experience, but they often require that students take on internships in local funeral homes. Throughout the program, students learn to support the bereaved, prepare bodies, secure legal documents, advise survivors and manage business.

Mortuary science degrees typically take two-to-four years to complete, and prepare students to become morticians, undertakers, embalmers and funeral home directors. Students should look for accredited programs that will prepare them to become licensed morticians.

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