Enrolling in an American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) accredited school is essential for all funeral service and mortuary science students. The American Board of Funeral Service Education is the national, educational accreditation agency for all postsecondary funeral service and mortuary science programs. The ABFSE is acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Accreditation is an external excellence review designed to examine colleges, universities, and educational programs for quality assurance and improvement. Institutions apply for accreditation to demonstrate educational value and be eligible for federal funds.
ABFSE Mission, Values, and Vision
The American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) serves the public and funeral service profession with a mission to advance funeral service education and practice through high standards that prepare students for careers.
ABFSE’s values and guiding principles include consistency, continuous program improvement, fairness, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity in all actions, and professionalism.
Furthermore, the American Board of Funeral Service Education vows to carry out its vision to “prepare funeral service practitioners to provide dignified death care experiences through quality higher education.”
Academic Funeral Service Accreditation (Further Explained)
Accreditation of funeral service programs ensures that essential elements of a funeral service education are applied, regardless of where a student studies. It ensures that students fulfill a comprehensive curriculum and training experiences, and graduates walk away with the skills needed to be successful. The ABFSE created 13 standards to develop this objective and evaluate funeral service programs.
Listed below are the ABFSE accreditation benchmarks for funeral service programs:
- Structure, organization, and administration
- Program learning outcomes
- Administrative practices and ethical standards
- Library/learning resources
- Program planning and evaluation/ assessment
- Default rates in the student loan programs under Title IV and compliance with Title IV program responsibilities
- Program length, tuition, and fees must relate to the subject matter
- Program length in credit hours
The ABFSE also determines accreditation per its procedures and regulations as outlined in its Manual of Criteria and Procedures for Accreditation and Policy.
The ABFSE school accreditation process can be broken down into three parts:
- Self-Study — Conducted by the institution. Results are summarized in the Self-Study Report and submitted to the Committee on Accreditation
- On-Site Visit — A visiting committee appointed by the Committee on Accreditation readies an On-Site Evaluation Report which is presented to the Committee on Accreditation and reviewed by the program
- Review — All documentation, including the program’s responses to the on-site report, are examined and called into Committee on Accreditation Action
Cause for Concern: Meaningless Paper Mills
When prospective funeral service students are researching schools to attend, they must be cognizant of avoiding accreditation and degree mills. Misleading accreditation and degree mills provide invalid certifications to institutions and unfounded educational offerings to students.
Such mills may not be acknowledged by other schools when students seek to transfer or graduate. Potential employers may also reject applicants who received their education from a certificate or degree mill upon hire or determining tuition assistance for continuing education credits.
To evade wasting money and time on a mortuary science education without proper credentials and merit, prospective funeral service students should only pursue schools accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE).
From Curriculum to Career
An associate degree in funeral service or mortuary science is the typical education required to become a funeral service worker. Typically, this needs to be earned from an ABSFE accredited institution. In addition, most employers and state licensing laws require employees to have supervised training and pass a state licensing exam.
In Connecticut, for example, aspiring morticians and embalmers are required to complete an associate degree in mortuary science or funeral service, from an educational institution accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education. After completion of their degree from an ABSFE accredited school, Connecticut applicants must also successfully complete the Arts and Sciences examinations of the Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards (CFSEB), plus a one-year apprenticeship under the supervision of a licensed embalmer. After the apprenticeship, one may complete the state’s board examination.
For an associate degree in funeral service, the program must consist of at least 60 semester hours of academic course work, with at least 25 percent of the work in general courses. Most programs also require the completion of an internship within a funeral home.
A funeral service program curriculum may include:
- Business and funeral home management —Accounting, Business Communications, and Computer Applications for Funeral Service
- Law and ethics — Funeral Service Ethics and Funeral Service Law
- Sciences — Biology, Microbiology, and Embalming and Restorative Art
- Social sciences — History, Psychology and Counseling, and Sociology of Funeral Service
A Future in Funeral Service
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2021, the average annual wage for morticians and funeral arrangers was $48,950, while the median yearly salary for funeral home managers was $74,000.
In such an integrity-driven industry, funeral service graduates must receive an ABFSE accredited degree they can utilize in the real world. The funeral service profession is a rewarding, compassionate career providing service-oriented support. A distinguished profession, funeral service workers help give grieving families peace while honoring their departed loved ones.
The Funeral Service associate degree program at Goodwin University is accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE). If you are interested in pursuing a funeral service career in Connecticut, contact Goodwin for more information.
Click here to request more information about our accredited mortuary science program.