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Funeral Service Education

Funeral Service Education


Are you interested in the funeral services program?

The Associate of Applied Science degree in Funeral Service Education will prepare you for a career as a funeral director and embalmer. The coursework can equip you with a broad understanding of funeral home operations, funeral directing, public health and embalming. It covers everything from the business fundamentals of the industry to grief counseling. If you're interested in learning more, fill out our interest form.

The Funeral Service associate degree program at Southwest Tennessee Community College is accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE), 992 Mantua Pike, Suite 108, Woodbury Heights, NJ 08097 (816) 233-3747. Web: www.abfse.org/html/dir-tn.html. Funeral Service Education program graduates are eligible to take the National Board Exam. Graduates must successfully complete an apprenticeship and the State of Tennessee funeral service law exam to become a licensed funeral director or embalmer.

Classes for this degree are offered at Southwest’s Whitehaven Center, 1234 Finley Road in Memphis.

CAUTION: If you are applying for admission to the Funeral Service Education program, you should contact your state board of funeral service about that state board's approval of this program of instruction.

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.

The Program Learning Outcomes (PLO) for this program are:

  • 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.

As a central goal, this program recognizes the importance 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 and local regulatory guidelines in the geographic areas where they practice
  • Professionals sensitive to the responsibility for public health, safety and welfare in caring for human remains

The program will have at least the following objectives:

  • 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 needed for the profession
  • 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

Funeral Service Education graduates will complete 63 semester hours of coursework in the following disciplines:


  • Funeral Home Management
  • Funeral Directing
  • Accounting
  • Communications
  • Computer Applications

Law and Ethics

  • Business Law
  • Funeral Service Law
  • Funeral Service Ethics


  • Microbiology
  • Pathology
  • Chemistry
  • Anatomy
  • Embalming
  • Restorative Art

Social Sciences

  • History and Sociology of Funeral Services
  • Funeral Service Psychology and Counseling

See our Academic Catalog listing of required courses for the Funeral Service Education.

Classroom and laboratory instruction are located at our Whitehaven Center, 1234 Finley Rd. in Memphis, Tennessee.


Contact Information


Blue Campus

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