Carl Sandburg College offers both a traditional and an accelerated associate degree program for students interested in a career in mortuary science. Mortuary Science Program Aims and Objectives – prepares students to serve within the funeral service profession, adheres to the institutional commitment to student success in both human development and achievement of educational goals. This challenge is met by educating students in all phases of funeral service, with special attention being given to the high ethical standards within the funeral service profession. These goals are accomplished through a wide variety of educational experiences aimed at developing the many skills needed in order to successfully serve within the funeral service profession. This curriculum is based upon the American Board of Funeral Service Education curriculum outlines. Several of the mortuary science classes require some outside work as well as research about various aspects of the funeral service profession. Upon completion of the mortuary science program, each graduate will have attained those skills necessary to uphold and foster the dignity of the funeral service profession.
Nature of the Work
Funeral directors arrange the details and handle the logistics of funerals. They interview the family to learn what they desire with regard to the nature of the funeral, the clergy members or other persons who will officiate and the final disposition of the remains. Sometimes the deceased leave detailed instructions for their own funerals. Together with family members, funeral directors establish the location, dates and times of wakes, memorial services and burials. Funeral directors also prepare obituary notices and have them placed in newspapers, arrange for pallbearers and clergy, schedule the opening and closing of a grave with the cemetery, decorate and prepare the sites of all services and provide transportation for the remains, mourners and flowers between sites. Most funeral directors are also trained and licensed embalmers. Embalming is the cosmetic and preservative process through which the body is prepared for interment.
Opportunities are excellent with many openings in the funeral service profession. These include, but are not limited to; funeral directors, embalmers, grief facilitators, and pre-need sales. Most funeral homes are family run businesses, and the funeral directors either are owner operators or employees of the operation.
The Mortuary Science program has specific admission requirements and a separate application process. Students must apply and be accepted into the program in order to enroll. Completed applications may be submitted beginning Oct. 1 every year for classes that start the next academic year. Admission to the program is on a rolling basis, but new students are only admitted for the fall semester each year. Mortuary science admission requirements are:
- Meet admission requirements of Sandburg
- Complete all general education courses
- Complete an application for the mortuary science program
- Submit all transcripts (High School, College or GED) to Sandburg
- Submit proof of interview with a licensed funeral director
- Hepatitis B Vaccination is required prior to admissions
Enrollment in the program is limited to a specific number of students due to accreditation requirements. Students who enroll in the program must earn a minimum grade of "C" (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) in all courses required in the mortuary science program. Failure to attain these grade requirements will result in dismissal from the program with an option to reapply to the program only available on a onetime basis.
Students are expected to purchase required clothing or protective equipment used in the program. Additional living and incidental expenses should be expected by the student.
The Mortuary Science program is accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education, 3432 Ashland Avenue, Suite G, St. Joseph, MO 64506, 816 / 233-3747. 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 (www.abfse.org)