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Funeral Service and Mortuary Science


Funeral service and mortuary science programs prepare people to work as funeral directors or morticians.

Funeral service and mortuary science programs prepare people to work as funeral directors or embalmers. Students learn mortuary science. They study the psychology of grief and the history and laws of funeral service. They also learn to manage a business and counsel family members.

These programs include topics such as:


Many community colleges offer associate degree programs in funeral service and mortuary science. An associate degree program usually takes two years of full-time study.

A few colleges and universities offer a bachelor's degree in funeral service and mortuary science. A bachelor’s degree usually takes four years of full-time study to complete.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Some schools may require you to complete prerequisite courses in the following subjects before entering the program:

You may also need to complete a personal interview.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

Most programs either offer or require a practicum as part of their curriculum. This is a hands-on opportunity to practice some of the skills you have learned in a variety of funeral services. You might help with restoration and embalming processes. You might also work together with a funeral director, counseling families and walking them through funeral planning.

Whatever the setting or the role that you play, you benefit from the guidance and direct supervision of an experienced funeral services professional.

Things to Know

You need to be licensed to be a funeral director or embalmer. Although most states have separate licensure processes for each position, some states offer a single license for both.

Licensure requirements vary from state to state. They typically include completion of an accredited funeral services and mortuary science program, a one-year apprenticeship, and an exam. Usually you need to be at least 21 years old.

Some states require you to have a bachelor's degree to practice. Check your state board for more details.

You are expected to purchase your own lab equipment for course work.


King-Snohomish Area

Lake Washington Institute of Technology