Online Degrees in Funeral Service Management

Online funeral service management degree programs offer students the fundamental skills and abilities needed to work in the funeral service industry. This article looks at online associate's or bachelor's degree programs in funeral service management.

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Essential Information

Many associate's and bachelor's degree programs in mortuary science, which is another name for funeral service management, are offered in a hybrid format, with some courses offered online. Some required courses, such as embalming, require hands-on work and must be completed in person.

Online courses in funeral service management may include grief counseling, legal and ethical matters, along with business courses such as marketing and accounting. Online programs require internships in a funeral home where students can complete requirements in embalming and cosmetic restoration.

An associate's degree in mortuary science is the minimum requirement for licensing as a funeral director in all states, and, increasingly, employers are looking for bachelor's degrees. Requirements for licensing vary, but every state says a funeral director must be at least 21, have graduated from an approved mortuary science program and have completed an internship in a funeral home. Applicants for licensing must pass an exam.


Overview of Online Associate's Degree in Funeral Service Management

Online associate's degree programs in funeral service management provide students with the fundamental training and skills necessary to perform various funeral services. Students learn how to coordinate funerals, embalm bodies and offer grief counseling. Coursework combines theory with practical labs. Topics include funerals and the law, restorative arts, anatomy and embalming.

Program Information and Requirements

Students can earn an associate's degree in funeral service management through a fixed format of online and on-campus courses. Since coursework combines theory with practical application, associate's degree programs in funeral service management cannot be taken solely online. Many programs require students to perform embalming clinical assignments at a school-approved funeral home. An online associate's degree in funeral service management takes approximately two years to complete.

List of Common Online Associate's-Level Funeral Service Management Courses

Students learn about the laws and precautions surrounding deceased individuals. Instruction also includes knowledge concerning the processing of all necessary documentation related to a death. Other online courses may include the following:

Introduction to Funeral Services Course

This course provides an overview of the funeral service industry. Topics covered include funeral service history, duties and responsibilities of funeral directors, common industry practices and career outlook.

Introduction Embalming Course

Students learn about the legal and ethical concerns of embalming. The course also covers human death, the decomposition process and chemicals used during the embalming process.

Mortuary Law

The online mortuary law course covers federal and state regulations, body shipping laws and regulations and laws that pertain to funeral services. Survivor benefits, including estates and wills, are also covered.

Career Information for Graduates

Students who earn an associate's degree in funeral service management often work as funeral home directors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median hourly wage for funeral home directors was $26.14 as of May 2009. Employment opportunities are expected to grow by 12% between 2008 and 2018. This projected growth is on par with the national average for all jobs (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Individuals who have earned an associate's degree in funeral service management are eligible for state licensure. Licensing laws and requirements vary by state; however, most states require students complete at least two years of education and one year apprenticeship before taking a formal examination. Students interested in further education may want to pursue an online bachelor's degree in funeral service management.


Overview of Online Bachelor's Degree in Funeral Service Management

The funeral industry is becoming competitive as more people enter the field. Online bachelor's degree programs in funeral service management help individuals gain a marketable edge over their peers by providing extensive training in funeral services and bereavement studies. Programs are usually designed as degree completion programs. Topics include industry trends, technological advances, best practices and marketing techniques.

Program Information and Requirements

Online bachelor's degree completion programs expect students to have at least two years of mortuary study completed before entering the program. Applicants should have an associate's degree from an accredited funeral service program, licensure in their state and experience working in a funeral home. Courses are offered 100% online. Programs take anywhere from 3-5 years to complete.

List of Common Online Bachelor-Level Funeral Service Management Courses

The courses in an online bachelor's in funeral home management provide students with the knowledge and skills to take on the many positions required of a funeral home manager. They are trained to become a business executive, caregiver, administrator and advisor, among others. Specific courses may include:

Grief Counseling Course

This course covers the grief process and techniques for working with bereaved clients. Students acquire the skills needed in grief counseling, including establishing trust, listening actively and interviewing.

Marketing Course

Students learn how to create, develop and implement marketing plans. Topics include understanding buyer's behavior, consumer and market analysis, service promotion and marketing campaign management.

Cultural Death Rituals Course

This course provides students with an overview of various cultural views and death rituals. Major religious beliefs associated with mourning and death is discussed. Students also learn how to facilitate different cultural death rituals.

Career Information for Graduates

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for funeral home directors was $54,370 as of May 2009. Those who earn a bachelor's degree in funeral service management can expect to earn more than individuals without an undergraduate degree. The top five paying states for funeral directors in 2009 were Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Delaware and New York.

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