Mortuary Science Schools and Colleges: How to Choose
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.
How to Select a Mortuary Science School
The selection process for mortuary science programs may be simple for prospective funeral directors because there are very few schools or programs in mortuary science, typically only one or two per state, and funding is limited. Students will want to make sure their school is accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE), which is the only accrediting agency accepted by the U.S. Department of Education.
Depending on the state, requirements for funeral directors and embalmers may vary, so students may want to check with the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) for additional requirements by state. By doing this, students can find out which schools will satisfy all state regulations and what other education, training or licenses they may need outside of the mortuary science degree. For example, Alabama requires funeral directors to complete some postsecondary education in mortuary science and a 2-year apprenticeship prior to completing a national exam, while Florida requires an associate degree in mortuary science, 1-year apprenticeship and continuing education credits.
Prospective students should contact their potential mortuary science schools to assure that they meet the requirements. Schools will conduct preliminary interviews and background checks, as well as require previous education in the sciences. Students may be required to complete an internship.
Mortuary Science Program Overviews
Associate of Applied Science in Mortuary Science
The Associate of Applied Science in Mortuary Science (A.A.S) program lasts around 2-4 years. Most associate degree programs require students to have completed general education courses prior to enrolling in the A.A.S. program. Courses offered cover topics in psychology, pathology, embalming and restorative art, mortuary law and management. 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; they often require that students take on internships in local funeral homes. Throughout the program, students learn to support bereaved, prepare bodies, secure legal documents, advise survivors and manage business.
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