Mount Ida College offers an Associate of Science degree program in Funeral Service that prepares students for eligibility for licensure as a funeral director/embalmer in many states.
The Funeral Service Degree Program incorporates a traditional two-year funeral service degree program and follows the American Board of Funeral Service Education standards for mortuary education. In addition to the standard professional courses required for licensure by the American Board of Funeral Service Education and the International Conference of Funeral Examining Boards of the United States, Inc., business law, management, bereavement, grief and other issues specific to the profession are covered.
Career and Further Study Options
Students with an associate degree in the Funeral Service degree program, 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 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, students have the opportunity to complete a bachelor degree and pursue more advanced studies.
The central aim of the Funeral Service Degree Program is recognition of funeral service personnel as:
- Members of a human services profession;
- Members of the community in which they serve;
- Participants in the relationship between bereaved families and those engaged in the funeral service profession;
- Professionals knowledgeable of and compliant with federal, state, provincial/territorial, and local regulatory guidelines (in the geographic area where they practice) as well as;
- Professionals sensitive to the responsibility for public health, safety, and welfare in caring for human remains.
The objectives of the Funeral Service Degree Program are:
- To enlarge the background and knowledge of students about the funeral service profession;
- To educate students in every phase of funeral service and to help enable them to develop proficiency and skills necessary for the profession, as defined in the Preamble at the beginning of this chapter;
- To educate students concerning the responsibilities of the funeral service profession to the community at large;
- To emphasize high standards of ethical conduct;
- To provide a curriculum at the post-secondary level of instruction;
- To encourage student and faculty research in the field of funeral service.
Upon successful completion of the Mount Ida College Funeral Service Education degree programs, students will 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 of America. 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 the 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 the permission of the American Board of Funeral Service Education, these Program Outcomes are based on the ABFSE Curriculum Guidelines Subject Descriptions.
Conditions, Policies, Fees and Provisions
Accreditation and National Board Examination Passage Rate Information:
The Funeral Service Degree Program and the Funeral Home Management Degree Program at Mount Ida College are accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE), 992 Mantua Pike, Suite 108, Woodbury Heights, NJ 08097. Office (816) 233-3747. FAX (856) 579-7354. Web: www.abfse.org . National Board Examination pass rates, graduation rates (beginning in 2015), and employment rates (beginning in 2015) for this and other ABFSE-accredited programs are available at www.abfse.org To request a printed copy of this program’s rates, go to the Department of Funeral Service Education, Suite 013, School of Applied Sciences, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org , or by telephone at (617) 928-4714.
PROGRAM INFORMATION - Mount Ida College
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NATIONAL BOARD STATISTICS - Mount Ida College
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* Timely graduation = complete program in 1½ times designated program length.
** Left before completing the program; did not finish.
Progression in Program
First semester (Pre-Funeral Service) students must earn a minimum grade of B- in both SC 100 and FS 160 and achieve an overall grade point average of 2.5 for formal acceptance into the Funeral Service - Funeral Home Management Degree Programs.
To be eligible for the National Board Examination (NBE), students must earn a C or higher in all courses on subjects tested on that examination. A cumulative grade point average of 2.00 in all subjects is necessary.
The Department Chair of Funeral Service Education, the Dean of the School of Applied Sciences, and the Provost and Chief Academic Officer will review the standing of any student whose record and/or performance may indicate termination from the program. Students who have failed a course twice cannot be considered in good standing in the Funeral Service Degree Program. The Review Board may discontinue a student’s candidacy in the program whenever poor academic performance warrants such action. In addition, all College progression standards apply.
In addition to the above requirements, in order for a student to be authorized to take the National Board Examination (NBE), the student must pass a written comprehensive examination in the arts and sciences, with a minimum score of 85% on both sections.