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Associate in Science

Funeral Service

The Funeral Service program incorporates a traditional two-year program that follows the American Board of Funeral Service Education curricular standards for mortuary education and allows eligibility for licensure as a funeral director and embalmer in most states. In addition to the professional courses required for licensure by the American Board of Funeral Service Education and the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards; business law, management, bereavement, grief, and other issues specific to the profession and community outreach techniques are also covered.

The Funeral Service Program at Cape Cod Community College received Initial Accreditation status by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE), 992 Mantua Pike, Suite 108, Woodbury Heights, NJ 08097 (816) 233-3747. Web:

Students applying for admission to the funeral service program should contact their respective state licensing agency regarding that state agency's approval of this particular program of instruction.

Classes are held on the Bridgewater State University campus. Housing options are available.

COVID Vaccine Statement for Health Profession Students 

Although currently the Commonwealth of Massachusetts doesn’t mandate the COVID Vaccine, students in a health profession program may be required to have the vaccine and show proof if required by a clinical/fieldwork partner.   

While the college will make a reasonable effort to place you in a clinical facility, clinical placement cannot be guaranteed in an un-immunized status. If the college cannot secure a clinical placement due to your un-immunized status then you will be unable to complete the program's clinical requirement. Thus, you will be unable to progress and will fail out of the program. In order to avoid this situation, the College strongly recommends that all Health Profession students obtain the COVID Vaccine no later than August 11th, 2021.   

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First SemesterCredits
ENL101 English Composition I
COM103   Human Communication
Elementary Statistics

Finite Math
BIO105* Survey of Human Anatomy & Physiology
FSR128*   Social Foundations of Funeral Service
Second SemesterCredits
ACC100* Survey of Accounting
PSY101   General Psychology
BUS100*  Introduction to Business
FSR131* Embalming I
FSR132* Embalming Clinical
FSR129* Funeral Directing I
Third SemesterCredits
FSR134* Embalming Chemistry
FSR232* Embalming II
FSR140*    Funeral Directing II
BUS120*    Business Law
FSR150*    Sanitary Sciences
Fourth SemesterCredits
FSR209*   Funeral Service Merchandizing and Management
PSY210*   Psychology of Grief
FSR294*    Regulatory Compliance for Funeral Service
FSR239*    Restorative Art
FSR298*    Board Certification and Competencies Skills
Total Credits 63

Capitol letter M to designate a milestone course Designates a Milestone course. A milestone course must be completed in the semester indicated to ensure that you remain on track to continue on in your program and graduate on time.

*Students must earn a minimum grade of "C" in each Board tested course to progress in the Funeral Service program.

The Funeral Service Program at 4Cs

Students with an Associate degree in Funeral Service, upon passing the National Board Examination and completion of apprenticeships, are eligible for licensure as funeral directors and embalmers in many states. Graduates of the Associate degree in Funeral Service program are also positioned to be employed by or to own and operate their own funeral homes; they may also qualify to work within a corporate setting serving the funeral service profession. In addition, student have the opportunity to complete a bachelor degree and pursue more advanced studies.

This occupational profile is provided by O*NET.

See also: What can I do with this major?

Upon successful completion of the Cape Cod Community College A.S. Funeral Service program, students are able to demonstrate a factual, conceptual, and applied understanding of:

  • Funeral Directing: The funeral directing curriculum focuses on the basic duties, responsibilities and expectations of those practicing funeral service including: notification of death, transfer of remains, conduct of the arrangement conference, prefunded/preplanned funerals, religious practices, fraternal funerals and military honors, shipment of remains, cremation, aftercare and regulatory and legislative compliance.
  • Funeral Service Marketing and Merchandising: The curriculum for funeral service marketing and merchandising is designed to introduce the funeral service student to the basics of marketing and merchandising as they apply to the funeral profession. This curriculum considers both service and merchandise as the products provided by funeral service practitioners.
  • Business Management Practices: The principles of small business management are explored. Attention is given to a business plan, marketing, human resources, financing, operations, and the use of technology. The basic principles of funeral service management are examined with an emphasis on general management technique and theory, and specific guidelines for funeral service management. Additionally, the curriculum includes an introduction to the basic principles of accounting with applications to funeral home operations.
  • Funeral Service Counseling: Funeral service counseling examines the basic principles of psychology and counseling as they relate to funeral service. Especially stressed are the psychological concepts in the areas of grief, bereavement, mourning, aftercare, and crisis intervention with particular emphasis on the roles of the funeral director.
  • Historical and Sociological Perspectives in Funeral Service: This aspect of the curriculum explores the basic principles of sociology as they relate to funeral service. Especially stressed are family structures, social structures, and the factors of change that relate to funeralization. A survey of the history of funeral service is presented with emphasis on individuals and events that have influenced contemporary funeral principles and practices, and the progression of associations and education within funeral service.
  • Regulatory Compliance: The curriculum for regulatory compliance is designed to introduce the student to the rights, duties, and responsibilities of the funeral service practitioner and funeral establishment. The basic principles of business law as they relate to funeral service are also presented. Especially stressed are the bodies of law and the judicial system found in the United States. Additionally, the curriculum is designed to familiarize the student with the Federal Trade Commission and the Trade Regulation Rule on Funeral Industry Practices.
  • Cemetery and Crematory Operations: The cemetery and crematory operations curriculum focuses on the history, laws, and regulations that apply to cemetery and crematory operations, as well as the important considerations involved when assisting others with choosing between forms of disposition.
  • Embalming: The embalming curriculum examines the process of chemically treating the dead human body to reduce the presence and growth of microorganisms and to temporarily inhibit organic decomposition, and to restore an acceptable physical appearance. The subject examines procedures and treatments for handling and embalming difficulties encountered due to disease and pathological changes, autopsied and procurement cases, organ and tissue donation cases, and various conditions encountered in the dead human body.
  • Restorative Art: The curriculum examines the basic principles of restorative art as they relate to funeral service, and emphasizes the techniques of restoring and recreating an acceptable physical appearance of the deceased for the benefit of surviving family members.
  • Preparation for Disposition: The various methods and means of disposition of the dead human body are explored, including how the handling, treatment and disposition of the body meets the sociological, psychological, theological, physical and legal requirements of family and community.
  • Funeral Service Sciences: The funeral service sciences focus on those systems providing the foundation for embalming, pathology, public health and restorative arts; the chemical principles and precautions involved in the preservation and disinfection of the dead human body; the basic principles of microbiology as they pertain to sanitation, disinfection, public health, and embalming practice; and those conditions which relate to or affect the embalming or restorative art process.

*Note: With permission of the American Board of Funeral Service Education, these Program Outcomes are based on the ABFSE Curriculum Guidelines Subject Descriptions.

Upon successful completion of the Funeral Service Program, students are able to:

  • explain the importance of funeral service professionals in developing relationships with the families and communities they serve.
  • identify standards of ethical conduct in funeral service practice.
  • interpret how federal, state, and local laws apply to funeral service in order to ensure compliance.
  • apply principles of public health and safety in the handling and preparation of human remains.
  • demonstrate technical skills in embalming and restorative art that are necessary for the preparation and handling of human remains.
  • demonstrate skills required for conducting arrangement conferences, visitations, services, and disposition of remains.
  • describe the requirements and procedures for burial, cremation and other accepted forms of final disposition of human remains.
  • describe methods to address the grief-related needs of the bereaved.
  • explain management skills associated with operating a funeral establishment.
  • demonstrate verbal and written communication skills and research skills needed for funeral service practice.

Licensing Authority & Licensure Categories

StateFuneral BoardGovernment Office/DepartmentFuneral DirectorEmbalmerFuneral Director/
Crematory OperatorTransporterOther
Massachusetts X Local Boards of Health     X     Funeral Assistant
Rhode Island (info from 2017)   X          
New Hampshire X     X X      
Maine Office of Professional & Occupational Regulation     X   X Funeral Attendants
Vermont X   X X        

Funeral Director/Embalmer Combination License

StateBackground Check RequiredEducation RequirementsExam & Fee RequirementsApprenticeship/Internship RequirementsLicense FeeLicense Renewal Fee & FrequencyMinimum Age
    ABFSE Other Educational Requirements NBE
SBE LRR Served before, during, or after training, in state/province, etc.? Case Reports   Renewal Fee Annually Biennially  
Massachusetts State   Associate degree in Mortuary Science   X


Served anytime in MA N/A $66 $155 X   18
Rhode Island (info from 2017) N/A X Associate of Science X X   Served in RI, reports due quarterly $30 $30   N/A
New Hampshire State X 30 credit hours post-secondary education X   X

Served anytime in NH 50 emb

25 fd
Prorated $300   X 18
Maine State     X   X

Served before training N/A $230 $230 X   18

Note: Vermont does not offer a combination License.

For the licensure requirements in additional states:


Daniel Shea, Program Coordinator
Jeffrey Megna