Funeral Service Education

Associate Degree

A.S. in Funeral Service Education

This degree prepares students for entry-level positions in funeral service. It is designed to meet the prerequisites for licensure and employment in the field of funeral service as funeral directors or embalmers.

The Funeral Service Education Program at American River College is accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) 3432 Ashland Avenue, Suite G, St. Joseph, Missouri 64506 (816) 233-3747. Web:

NOTE: All courses, including general education, require a grade of "C" or better, and the National Board Examination must be completed before graduation.

The annual passage rate of first-time takers on the National Board Examination (NBE) for the most recent three-year period for this institution and all ABFSE accredited funeral service education programs is posted on the ABFSE web site (

National Board Examination scores, graduation rates, and employment rates for this and other ABFSE-accredited programs are available at To request a printed copy of this program’s scores and rates, go to Health and Education 770 or by email at or by telephone at (916) 484-8158.

Catalog Date: June 1, 2019

Degree Requirements

Course Code Course Title Units
Pre-FSE Semester:
BIOL 102 Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology (4) 4
   or BIOL 103 Human Anatomy for Funeral Services (4)
ENGWR 300 College Composition (3) 3
   or ENGWR 480 Honors College Composition (3)
FSE 300 Introduction to Funeral Service 2
MATH 100 Elementary Algebra (5) 5
1st Semester:
BUS 340 Business Law 3
CHEM 130 Chemistry for Funeral Service 4
FSE 310 Funeral Directing I 3
FSE 320 Funeral Service Law and Ethics 3
SPEECH 301 Public Speaking (3) 3
   or SPEECH 331 Group Discussion (3)
2nd Semester:
BIOL 130 Microbiology for Funeral Services 3
FSE 312 Funeral Directing II 3
FSE 330 Merchandising in the Funeral Service Industry 3
FSE 340 Pathology for Funeral Service 2
3rd Semester:
ACCT 101 Fundamentals of College Accounting 3
FSE 335 Funeral Service Management 3
FSE 350 Restorative Art 3.5
FSE 360 Embalming I 4
4th Semester:
FSE 297 Internship in Funeral Service Education 5
FSE 365 Embalming II 2
FSE 370 Funeral Service Counseling 3
PSYC 390 Psychology of Death and Dying 3
Total Units: 67.5

The Funeral Service Education Associate in Science (A.S.) degree may be obtained by completion of the required program, plus general education requirements, plus sufficient electives to meet a 60-unit total. See ARC graduation requirements.

Enrollment Eligibility

To be eligible for enrollment in the program, the student must meet the following criteria:

  • Graduation from an accredited high school (graduates from outside the United States must have transcripts evaluated by an approved independent agency), or successful completion of General Educational Development (GED) Test or California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE).
  • BIOL 102 or BIOL 103, ENGWR 300 or ENGWR 480, FSE 300, and MATH 100 or MATH 104 with a grade of "C" or better.
  • Minimum cumulative college GPA of 2.0.
  • A Curriculum Planning Summary Sheet completed by an ARC counselor and dated within the semester the enrollment packet is submitted.
  • A completed pre-enrollment application.

Enrollment Process

Eligible students are selected for the program according to the following steps:

  • Pre-enrollment applications to the program may be obtained from the Health and Education Division Office, the Coordinator of the Funeral Service Education program, or at The Funeral Service Education program currently accepts students once per year for the Spring semester which begins in January. Deadline to submit the application is by the second Friday in November.
  • Only students who meet the pre-enrollment requirements and follow the pre-enrollment procedures will be considered for the program.
  • Selection is based on a random selection process should the number of applicants exceed available space in the program.
  • Students admitted to the Funeral Service Education program are required to have a physical examination, laboratory and licensing agencies inoculations, drug screen, and background check by the completion of the first semester of the program. Students are responsible for any costs incurred related to meeting the health requirements.
  • If a minimum number of qualified applicants are not received, enrollment will be delayed until the following semester, at which time applicants will need to reapply.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, the student will be able to:

  • choose the correct techniques for each embalming case.
  • analyze information given by the family to complete the necessary paperwork for the state of California and other government agencies.
  • recommend options for the appropriate disposition of the decedent's remains.
  • contact the appropriate clergy, agencies, and organizations for the disposition of the remains.
  • evaluate and prioritize the funeral choices of the family in a timely manner.
  • create a funeral service for the family.
  • participate as a volunteer in a community service activity.

Career Information

The student is eligible to take the state board examination to become a licensed funeral director in California. The student also meets the criteria to take the state embalmer's examination. As an accredited mortuary college our program goals and objectives are as follows: ·To prepare students to be members of a human services profession ·To prepare students to be members of the community in which they serve ·To be participants in the relationship between bereaved families and those engaged in the funeral service profession ·To offer professional knowledge of and compliance with federal, state provincial/territorial, and local regulatory guidelines ·To be sensitive to the responsibility for public health, safety and welfare in caring for human remains The Primary Objectives of this 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 the proficiency and skills necessary for the profession as defined by the American Board of Funeral Service Education, Inc. ·To educate students concerning the responsibilities of the funeral services 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 ·To equip students with information related to the social, legal, psychological, religious and public health issues that are associated with death ·To offer students a comprehensive curriculum that will challenge their academic abilities that are consistent with the curriculum required by the American Board of Funeral Service Education, Inc. ·To prepare students for success on the National Board Examination as well as state examinations