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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.

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

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First SemesterCredits
ENL101 English Composition I 3
COM103   Human Communication 3
Elementary Statistics (or)
Finite Math
BIO105* Survey of Human Anatomy & Physiology 4
FSR128*   Social Foundations of Funeral Service 3
Second SemesterCredits
ACC100* Survey of Accounting 3
PSY101   General Psychology 3
BUS100*  Introduction to Business 3
FSR131* Embalming I 3
FSR132* Embalming Clinical 1
FSR129* Funeral Directing I 3
Third SemesterCredits
FSR134* Embalming Chemistry 3
FSR232* Embalming II 3
FSR140*    Funeral Directing II 3
BUS120*    Business Law 3
FSR150*    Sanitary Sciences 4
Fourth SemesterCredits
FSR209*   Funeral Service Merchandizing and Management 3
PSY210*   Psychology of Grief 3
FSR294*    Regulatory Compliance for Funeral Service 3
FSR239*    Restorative Art 4
FSR299*    Board Certification and Competencies Skills 2
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.

Related Information:

Students who successfully complete this Funeral Service program and enter the Funeral Service profession will aim to:

  • Become a member of a human services profession
  • Become a member of the community in which they serve
  • Be a participant in the relationship between bereaved families and those engaged in the funeral service profession
  • Become a professional knowledgeable of and compliant with federal, state, provincial/territorial, and local regulatory guidelines in the geographic area where they practice
  • Become a professional sensitive to the responsibility for public health, safety, and welfare in caring for human remains.

Funeral Service program will work to:

  • Enlarge the background and knowledge of students about the funeral service profession
  • Educate students in every phase of funeral service and to help enale them to develop proficiency and skills necessary for the profession
  • Educate students concerning the responsibilities of the funeral service profession to the community at large
  • Emphasize high standards of ethical conduct
  • Provide a curriculum at the post-seconday level of instruction
  • Encourage student and faculty research in the field of funeral service.

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 indivuduals 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.

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

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?


Jeffrey Megna, Program Coordinator

Daniel Shea