Learn mortuary science from one of the nation’s oldest mortuary science schools.

Mount Ida College’s Funeral Service Associate of Science Degree Program offers applied, hands-on training that will help you stand out in the job market—and in the mortuary science profession. In addition to standard courses often required for licensure as a funeral director and embalmer, our Funeral Service Degree Program covers grief and bereavement, community outreach, business management and general education.

The Funeral Service Degree Program and 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 Number:
(816) 233-3747
Fax Number: (859) 579-7354.

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 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, or by telephone at (617) 928-4714.


Year Total enrolled # of New Students # of Grads Timely Grad* Graduation rate Did not finish** Overall % Employed Employed In FS
2015 81 40 31 27/31 87% 5 97% 93%
2014 98 36 21 18/21 86% 5 86% 86%



3 year Average % Pass Arts % Pass Sciences
2015 – 2013 65% 70%
2014 – 2012 66% 69%
Most recent # Takers # Passed
2015 Arts 21 14
2015 Sciences 19 14

Timely graduation = complete program in 1½ times designated program length.

** Left before completing the program; did not finish.


Our Funeral Service Associate of Science Degree Program features small class sizes, ensuring that you get plenty of personalized attention from our expert faculty. You’ll receive practical, hands-on instruction in embalming and restorative art, and will become eligible for examination by the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards upon successful completion of the program.

The Funeral Service Associate’s Degree Program includes immersive lab courses that cover:

. Anatomy & Physiology
. Embalming
. Restorative Art

You’ll also examine mortuary science case studies drawn from real life, tackling the same type of challenges you’ll confront as a funeral service professional.

Core courses in the Funeral Service Associate of Science Degree Program focus on the science and ritual of funeral direction. You’ll take courses in embalming, restorative art, human anatomy and related sciences, along with introductory courses that cover bereavement and grief, funeral service ethics, regulatory compliance, accounting and small business management.

The funeral service associate degree requires 68 credits, broken down as follows:

  • 44 credits in funeral service (including embalming) and bereavement
  • 6 credits in related business and science courses
  • 18 credits in arts, sciences and humanities

Program Aims

The central aim of the funeral service associate of science 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.

Program Objectives

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.

Program Outcomes*:  Upon successful completion of the Mount Ida College Funeral Service Education degree programs, students will demonstrate a factual, conceptual, and applied understanding of:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

For complete course listings please refer to our catalog. To learn more about our faculty, please visit the faculty and staff directory.


Upon completion of the Funeral Service Associate of Science Degree Program, passing the National Board Examination, completing your required apprenticeship and State licensing requirements, you may be eligible for licensure as a funeral director and embalmer in many states.