Funeral Service Education - Degree

Restricted Entry, Associate of Applied Science Degree Programmhcc.edu/FSE

Faculty Adviser

Doug Ferrin: 503-491-6940 | Doug.Ferrin@mhcc.edu

Accreditation

The Funeral Service Education degree program at Mt. Hood Community College is accredited by:

American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE)
992 Mantua Pike
Suite 108
Woodbury Heights, NJ 08097
Phone: 816-233-3747

The Associate of Applied Science degree in Funeral Service Education can be earned by following a prescribed course of instruction, which requires six quarters in residence. Transferring all non-FSE classes from accredited institutions may allow a student to complete his/her professional coursework in a three-quarter sequence, beginning each fall quarter.

One condition of graduation from the Funeral Service Education program is taking the National Board Examination (NBE), which is administered by the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards.  Most states require that applicants pass the NBE as one condition of receiving a license to practice funeral directing and embalming. National Board Examination pass rates, graduation rates, and employment rates for this and other ABFSE-accredited programs are available at www.abfse.org in the Directory of Accredited Programs. To request a printed copy of this program’s scores and rates, go to room AC1554.

All core courses must be completed within 5 years in order for the degree to be awarded.

Program Outcomes

At the completion of this program, students should be 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 ceremonies.
  • 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.

Note: When multiple course options are available, the recommended selection is listed first. All Funeral Service Education degree requirements must be completed with a grade of “C” or better. Before beginning the fourth quarter of the program, complete all non-FSE courses. 

For the most part, courses that fulfill general education requirements can be taken in any term. 

Plan of Study Grid
First Quarter
FallCredits
MO111 Medical Terminology (Course offered online) 4
FSE121 Funeral Service Orientation 3
WR121 English Composition (Course offered online) 4
Health and Physical Education requirement 3
Select one of the following: 4
Introduction to Business Computing (Course offered online)  
Computer Concepts I (Course offered online)
and Computer Concepts Lab I (Course offered online)
 
 Credits18
Second Quarter
Winter
FSE122 Funeral Service Sociology 3
MTH065
Beginning Algebra II (Course offered online) (or higher)
or Quantitative Reasoning I
4
PSY201
General Psychology (Course offered online)
or General Psychology (Course offered online)
4
BI100
Survey of Body Systems (Course offered online)
or Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology I (Course offered online)
or Human Anatomy and Physiology I (Course offered online)
4
 Credits15
Third Quarter
Spring
AC110
General Accounting I
or Financial Accounting I (Course offered online)
4
FSE124 Funeral Service Law 4
CH104
General Chemistry for Health Professions
or Basic Chemistry
or General Chemistry I
5
COMM100
Basic Speech Communication (Course offered online)
or Fundamentals of Public Speaking (Course offered online)
or Introduction to Intercultural Communication (Course offered online) (Cultural Literacy course)
or Interpersonal Communication (Course offered online)
or Small Group Communication
or Psychology of Human Relations (Course offered online)
3
 Credits16
Fourth Quarter
Fall
Before beginning the fourth quarter of the program, complete all non-FSE courses.  
FSE211 Embalming I 4
FSE215 Cremation 2
FSE219 Funeral Service Chemistry 3
FSE221 Funeral Home Management I 3
FSE225 Funeral Directing 3
 Credits15
Fifth Quarter
Winter
FSE212 Embalming II 4
FSE214 Restorative Art 3
FSE216
Funeral Service Microbiology
or Microbiology
3
FSE222 Funeral Home Management II 3
FSE227 Funeral Service Counseling 3
 Credits16
Sixth Quarter
Spring
FSE213 Embalming III 3
FSE217 Funeral Service Pathology 3
FSE240 Funeral Service Clinical Practicum 1 6
FSE245 Funeral Service Issues 3
 Credits15
 Total Credits95

Admission Information

Prospective students must satisfactorily meet program admission criteria and the application deadline to be considered for admission. Application information is available on our website at mhcc.edu/FSE. Once you have read the application materials, if you have questions about the admission process, email LRAdmissions@mhcc.edu.

FSE121 Funeral Service Orientation

Credits 3Fall

Registration Requirement: Acceptance into the Funeral Service Education program.

A survey course of funeral trends and history from ancient days to present. Specialized vocabulary of funeral service is introduced.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Recognize the historical roots of some contemporary funeral service practices
  2. Compare the history and current practice of embalming, burial, cremation and alternatives.
  3. Understand the development of funeral service education\\n
  4. Consider criticism of various facets of funeral service\\n
  5. Begin to prepare for the National Board Examination \\n

FSE122 Funeral Service Sociology

Credits 3Winter

Registration Requirement: Acceptance into the Funeral Service Education program.

This course analyzes the interplay of societies and funeralization, surveys religious and ethnic funeral customs found in American society, and explores families and family roles in the funeral.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Describe the changing social factors which affect funeral rites and the families that are served by the funeral director
  2. Describe the different types of family structure
  3. Determine the role of the deceased in the family structure and the effect of the death on that family's structure
  4. Explain the application and purpose of sociology in funeral service
  5. Explain the cultural requirements and cultural diversities of each family the funeral director is privileged to serve
  6. Identify the family governing systems found in our society

FSE124 Funeral Service Law

Credits 4Spring

Registration Requirement: Acceptance into the Funeral Service Education program.

A survey course of relevant legal principles. Mortuary law, probate law and business law are reviewed. Emphasis is placed on legal responsibilities of the funeral service practitioner.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Comply with laws and regulations that affect funeral homes.
  2. Identify legal relationships, duties and liabilities between the funeral director, the dead body and the consumer
  3. Limit legal liabilities.
  4. Practice with the various documents which are required in funeral service
  5. Recognize situations when professional services are required for death planning and estate administration
  6. Recognize various business law terms that are relevant to funeral service, including bailments, contracts and property.
  7. Satisfy the academic requirements for licensure, and begin to prepare for the regulatory compliance section on the NBE.
  8. Comply with laws and regulations that affect funeral homes.
  9. Demonstrate knowledge necessary to pass the law requirement for licensure.
  10. Explain how to limit legal liabilities.
  11. Identify legal relationships, duties, and liabilities between the funeral director, the dead body, and the consumer.
  12. Practice with the various documents that are required in funeral service.
  13. Recognize situations in which professional services are required for family disputes, death planning, and estate administration.
  14. Recognize various business law terms that are relevant to funeral service, including bailments, contracts and property.

FSE211 Embalming I

Credits 4Fall

Registration Requirement: Second year standing in the Funeral Service Education program.

In this course, students are introduced to practical embalming theory supported by learning of injection methods, types of embalming agents, post-mortem conditions and their treatment. Students participate in embalming lab throughout the course.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Define and employ the necessary terminology to facilitate communication with members of allied professions and the public
  2. Demonstrate adequate methods of self-protection from communicable and infectious diseases and hazardous chemicals
  3. Demonstrate and explain adequate methods of personal and environmental protective measures in the art and science of embalming
  4. Demonstrate and explain how the handling, treatment and disposition of the dead human body meets the sociological, psychological, theological, physical and legal requirements of family and community
  5. Demonstrate embalming techniques and procedures
  6. Demonstrate the proper disposal of blood and other body fluids
  7. Demonstrate the proper disposal of contaminated materials from the embalming process
  8. Demonstrate the use of embalming instruments, equipment and sundries
  9. Describe and solve the problems related to the embalming procedures necessitated by disaster situations
  10. Document the embalming techniques and procedures with written reports
  11. Explain embalming treatments for infections, communicable diseases, traumatic and pathological conditions
  12. Explain the concepts of sanitation, disinfection, temporary preservation and restoration of human body remains
  13. Explain the implications of the types of death to embalming
  14. Explain those conditions whereby notification of death is required to public officials

FSE212 Embalming II

Credits 4Winter

Registration Requirement: FSE211 with a grade of "C" or better, and second-year standing in the Funeral Service Education program.

The lecture portion of the course focuses on systemic circulation, distribution and diffusion of fluid and embalming chemistry.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Define and employ the necessary terminology to facilitate communication with members of allied professions and the public
  2. Demonstrate adequate methods of self-protection from communicable and infectious diseases and hazardous chemicals
  3. Demonstrate and explain adequate methods of personal and environmental protective measures in the art and science of embalming
  4. Demonstrate and explain how the handling, treatment and disposition of the dead human body meet the sociological, psychological, theological, physical and legal requirements of family and community
  5. Demonstrate embalming techniques and procedures
  6. Demonstrate the proper disposal of blood and other body fluids
  7. Demonstrate the proper disposal of contaminated materials from the embalming process
  8. Demonstrate the use of embalming instruments, equipment and sundries
  9. Describe and solve the problems related to the embalming procedures necessitated by disaster situations
  10. Describe the circulation of blood through the heart, arteries and veins
  11. Document the embalming techniques and procedures with written reports
  12. Explain embalming treatments for infections, communicable diseases, traumatic and pathological conditions
  13. Explain the concepts of sanitation, disinfection, temporary preservation and restoration of human body remains
  14. Explain the implications of the types of death to embalming
  15. Explain those conditions whereby notification of death is required to public officials

FSE213 Embalming III

Credits 3Spring

Registration Requirement: FSE212 with a grade of "C" or better.

Lecture classes place an emphasis on special embalming problems, such as discolorations, decomposition, edema, dehydration and contagious and infectious cases. Students participate in embalming lab throughout the course.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Define and employ the necessary terminology to facilitate communication with members of allied professions and the public
  2. Demonstrate adequate methods of self-protection from communicable and infectious diseases and hazardous chemicals
  3. Demonstrate and explain adequate methods of personal and environmental protective measures in the art and science of embalming
  4. Demonstrate and explain how the handling, treatment and disposition of the dead human body meets the sociological, psychological, theological, physical and legal requirements of family and community
  5. Demonstrate embalming techniques and procedures
  6. Demonstrate the proper disposal of blood and other body fluids
  7. Demonstrate the proper disposal of contaminated materials from the embalming process
  8. Demonstrate the use of embalming instruments, equipment and sundries
  9. Describe and solve the problems related to the embalming procedures necessitated by disaster situations
  10. Document the embalming techniques and procedures with written reports
  11. Explain embalming treatments for infections, communicable diseases, traumatic and pathological conditions
  12. Explain the concepts of sanitation, disinfection, temporary preservation and restoration of human body remains
  13. Explain the implications of the types of death to embalming
  14. Explain those conditions whereby notification of death is required to public officials

FSE214 Restorative Art

Credits 3Winter

Registration Requirement: Co-requisite: FSE212 enrollment, and second-year standing in the Funeral Service Education program.

A study of the anatomy of the face and head, surface anatomy and physiognomic forms, reconstructions of facial tissues employing different media, general restorative treatments, projection, form and color in the restorative process.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Explain the importance of obtaining authorization to perform and document restorative procedures
  2. Understand the relationship between restorative art and embalming procedures
  3. Identify and locate the major bony structures of the skull and explain how each influences surface form
  4. Identify and locate the major muscles pf the face and explain how each influences surface form and expression
  5. Identify and describe the natural and acquired facial markings of the face and neck
  6. Describe and explain facial proportions, and how they relate to the natural form of the facial features and facial restoration
  7. Identify and describe the forms of the head and face from the profile, frontal and bilateral views
  8. Identify and describe the four major facial features, their parts and variations
  9. Describe the principles of color theory as it applies to restorative art
  10. Apply the correct colorants to achieve a natural appearance under various conditions
  11. Identify, describe and apply various cosmetic materials, treatments and associated equipment
  12. Employ the principles of illumination
  13. Restore and/or reconstruct decedents in all conditions

FSE215 Cremation

Credits 2Fall

Registration Requirement: Second-year status in the Funeral Service Education program.

This course introduces students to cremation and its associated processes, options and legal requirements. Students will be prepared to assist bereaved clients with cremation choices.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Describe considerations recommended when using third party crematories
  2. Describe options for proper disposition of cremated deceased including legal restrictions and local customs
  3. Describe the importance of legislative and regulatory compliance
  4. Describe the legal and practical requirements for shipping cremated remains using common carriers and the post office
  5. Discuss the historical significance of cremation
  6. Distinguish between cremation containers, containers for cremated deceased, and other related merchandising options
  7. Explain the importance of using appropriate paperwork to document cremation related decisions, including forms required by state and local agencies and those designed for legal protection
  8. Explain the specific elements of the FTC Funeral Rule that applies to cremation
  9. Identify services and trends in conjunction with cremation
  10. Identify the primary consideration for funeral directors working with those interested in cremation as a method of disposition

FSE216 Funeral Service Microbiology

Credits 3Winter

Registration Requirement: Acceptance into the Funeral Service Education program.

A study of microorganisms with emphasis on pathogens and infectious processes. Applications are made to personal health and public health concerns of embalmers and funeral directors.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of host-parasite relationships and interactions and the requirements for successful parasitism
  2. Describe and demonstrate knowledge of personal and environmental disinfection and decontamination procedures
  3. by proper use of chemical disinfection and sterilization procedures
  4. Describe the fundamentals of the infectious processes and nonspecific and specific defense mechanisms against disease
  5. Differentiate between indigenous microorganisms and pathogens and/or opportunists causing disease commonly associated with the human host and dead human remains
  6. Explain basic microbial morphology and physiology
  7. Explain the methods of transmission of infectious diseases and describe protection to the embalmer, the funeral director and the public

FSE217 Funeral Service Pathology

Credits 3Spring

Registration Requirement: Acceptance into the Funeral Service Education program. Co-requisite: MO111 or equivalent medical terminology course.

A survey of disease processes: etiology, pathogenesis, homeostatic mechanisms and regressive tissue changes. Implications of forensic pathology for funeral service professionals are considered.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate a knowledge of diseases and related terminology which will enable competent communication with members of the medical community, allied professionals and surviving family members
  2. Describe the benefits derived from the postmortem examination of human remains
  3. Identify the pathological conditions and etiological factors which require special procedures in the removal, handling, preparation and disposition of human remains

FSE219 Funeral Service Chemistry

Credits 3Fall

Registration Requirement: Acceptance into the Funeral Service Education program; and CH104, CH151, or CH221 with a grade of "C" or better; or equivalent.

A basic survey of inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry as they relate to the embalming and decomposition processes. Emphasis is placed on components and their uses in embalming fluids.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Understand why general chemistry is a basis for embalming chemistry
  2. Identify potentially harmful chemicals used in the funeral home and describe their safe handling and storage
  3. Identify the characteristic features of solutions, suspensions, emulsions, and the processes of diffusion
  4. Identify components of embalming fluids and describe their respective functions
  5. Describe the characteristic processes of decomposition
  6. Relate organic chemistry to the preparation for disposition of human remains
  7. Define the basic characteristics of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins

FSE221 Funeral Home Management I

Credits 3Fall

Registration Requirement: Second-year standing in the Funeral Science Education program.

The role and function of the funeral director as an effective manager is explored. Considerations in establishing a funeral home are covered. Emphasis is placed on management functions of planning, organizing, motivating, directing and controlling. Human relations as they relate to management of personnel are discussed.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Define and discuss the role of small business in the economy
  2. Describe Federal Legislation impacting small business
  3. Describe the composition of small business
  4. Describe the human resource requirements needed for success in being a self-employed business owner
  5. Discuss methods of estimating capital needs and types of financing available
  6. Discuss the future trends of small business
  7. Discuss the importance of inventory procurement and control
  8. Discuss the importance of location in the success of a small business
  9. Discuss the risks and problems involved with opening a small business
  10. Discuss the role of a small business as an economic contributor to society
  11. Explain how credit and collection programs are managed
  12. Explain how to reduce risks through insurance
  13. Explain the factors involved in buying/selling an established business, making direct application to the purchase and sale of a small business
  14. Explain the importance of managing capital assets
  15. Explain the purpose of the Small Business Administration
  16. Explain why management in a small business is more demanding than in a large firm
  17. Identify elements of sound business management
  18. Identify ways in which the odds for survival among small business firms can be improved

FSE222 Funeral Home Management II

Credits 3Winter

Registration Requirement: FSE221 with a grade of "C" or better.

This course examines business operations within funeral service. Emphasis is placed on merchandising principles as they are related to the funeral business. Mock arrangements in which students set up a large room with merchandise and offices for the purpose of making practice arrangements with the community are part of this class.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of effective methods of merchandise display
  2. Demonstrate conceptual and practical knowledge of factors and strategies for determining the firm's product mix
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of funeral merchandise to facilitate communications with colleagues, sales representatives and the public
  4. Establish methods of price determination and price quotation
  5. Recognize the importance of monitoring and evaluating sales
  6. Understand the component parts of funeral merchandise, including materials used, component part styles, finishes, dimensions and functions
  7. Utilize techniques for the effective presentation of merchandise and services

FSE225 Funeral Directing

Credits 3Fall

Registration Requirement: Acceptance into the Funeral Service Education program.

A survey of the funeral directors responsibilities: funeral arrangements, conduct of the funeral, visitation, final disposition and responsibilities of the family in need.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Converse using the specific vocabulary associated with funeral service
  2. Describe how to conduct an arrangement conference with a family
  3. Describe the regulations for the transferring of human remains
  4. Describe the time frames in which the services of the funeral director are typically provided (i.e. pre-need, at-need and post funeral follow-up)
  5. Differentiate the primary responsibilities of the funeral director
  6. Discuss prefunded/preplanned funeral options
  7. Explain a cross-section of American religious funeral customs
  8. Explain fraternal and military funeral procedures
  9. Explain the value of proper telephone procedures
  10. Transfer human remains from the place of death to the funeral home using generally accepted procedures and equipment

FSE227 Funeral Service Counseling

Credits 3Winter

Registration Requirement: Second-year standing in the FSE program.

Analysis of the funeral director's role as counselor in matters pertaining to death, dying, grief, bereavement and mourning. Counseling principles are applied to the funeral service setting.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Recognize the application of general psychology to funeral service
  2. Describe the values and purposes of the funeral rite for the family and friends
  3. Recognize all types of grief reactions and responses
  4. Describe the theories of grief
  5. Describe issues relating to children and death
  6. Explain how grief affects families
  7. Differentiate between the types and styles of counseling therapy
  8. Recognize the major goals of counseling as well as the functions of the counselor
  9. Utilize basic counseling skills and techniques
  10. Recognize pre-need, at-need, and post-funeral counseling opportunities
  11. Recognize and understand how loss and stress affect the funeral practitioner
  12. Develop strategies for self-care of the funeral practitioner
  13. Recognize when and demonstrate how to make referrals to appropriate community or professional resources

FSE240 Funeral Service Clinical Practicum

Credits 6Summer/Spring

Registration Requirement: Instructor consent is required.

A term-long clinical practicum experience served in local funeral homes; learning experiences are guided by faculty and supervised by a funeral home preceptor. FSE program faculty will help students find clinical sites. Students take three credit hours of FSE240A in summer, fall, winter or spring, or six credits in FSE240 in summer or spring, for six credits overall.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Assist in the cremation of dead human remains
  2. Assist in the removal of bodies from place of death
  3. Assist licensed embalmer in embalming dead human remains
  4. Assist licensed funeral director in conducting committal services at cemeteries
  5. Assist licensed funeral director in conducting funeral services
  6. Assist licensed funeral director in file death certificates and disposition permits and in other relevant forms
  7. Assist licensed funeral director in making a variety of funeral arrangements
  8. Drive company vehicles for body delivery and various other tasks
  9. Inform medical examiner when necessary
  10. Notify relatives of pertinent information
  11. Prepare and deliver obituary and funeral notice
  12. Receive first calls

FSE240A Funeral Service Clinical Practicum

Credits 3Summer/Fall/Winter/Spring

Registration Requirement: Instructor consent is required. Students must obtain a state intern license. The intern license requires a criminal background check.

A term-long clinical practicum experience served in local funeral homes; learning experiences are guided by faculty and supervised by a funeral home preceptor. FSE program faculty will help students find clinical sites. Students take three credit hours of FSE240A in summer, fall, winter or spring, or six credits in FSE240 in summer or spring, for six credits overall.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Assist in the cremation of dead human remains
  2. Assist in the removal of bodies from place of death
  3. Assist licensed embalmer in embalming dead human remains
  4. Assist licensed funeral director in conducting committal services at cemeteries
  5. Assist licensed funeral director in conducting funeral services
  6. Assist licensed funeral director in file death certificates and disposition permits and in other relevant forms
  7. Assist licensed funeral director in making a variety of funeral arrangements
  8. Drive company vehicles for body delivery and various other tasks
  9. Inform medical examiner when necessary
  10. Notify relatives of pertinent information
  11. Prepare and deliver obituary and funeral notice
  12. Receive first calls

FSE245 Funeral Service Issues

Credits 3Spring

Registration Requirement: Second-year standing in the FSE program.

This course reviews and tests all 13 subjects that are tested on the National Board Examination (NBE). The NBE is the nationally-recognized standard for FSE graduates and taking the NBE is one requirement of graduation from the FSE program at Mt. Hood Community College. This course is taken during the students' sixth term, their last before graduation.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of relevant FSE material on tests
  2. Differentiate between various kinds of test questions that may appear on the national board exam (NBE)
  3. Recall relevant information from thirteen subjects that will appear on the NBE