As of 2018, there are 57 institutions that provide funeral service programs accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE). Of these, 52 offer associate degrees, 5 offer bachelor's degrees and 1 offers a diploma.
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*|
|American River College||Sacramento, CA||2-year, Public||Associate's||$1,104 in-state, $7,440 out-of-state|
|Chandler-Gilbert Community College||Chandler, AZ||2-year, Public||Associate's||$2,046 in-state, $7,830 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|
|Miami Dade College||Miami, FL||4-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||$2,834 in-state, $9,661 out-of-state|
|Nassau Community College||Garden City, NY||2-year, Public||Associate's||$4,854 in-state, $9,388 out-of-state|
|Pierce Colleges||Dallas, TX; Decatur, GA; Jefferson, KY||2-year and 4-year, Private nonprofit||Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's||$11,150|
|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|
|Southern Illinois University Carbondale||Carbondale, IL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$13,137 in-state, $26,390 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|
|University of Minnesota-Twin Cities||Minneapolis, MN||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$13,790 in-state, $22,210 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.
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.