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
As it prepares students to serve within the funeral service profession, the mortuary science program adheres to the institutional commitment to student success in both human development and achievement of educational goals. This includes educating our students in all phases of funeral service with special attention given to the high ethical standards within the funeral service profession. These goals are accomplished through a wide variety of educational experiences that develop the many skills needed to successfully serve within the funeral service profession.
The curriculum is based upon the American Board of Funeral Service Education curriculum outlines. Required program learning outcomes include:
- 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.
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 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 who have successfully completed all of the prerequisite courses contained within the mortuary science program course of study are eligible for the accelerated option. 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 (H.S., College or GED) to Sandburg
- Submit proof of interview with a licensed funeral director
- The Hepatitis B Vaccination is required prior to admission
Enrollment in the program is limited to a specific number of students due to accreditation requirements. The accelerated program is designed to meet the needs of those applicants who have already attained the necessary educational requirements in order to complete the required Mortuary Science major courses in a two-semester sequence. 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.
Department of Health Professions
2400 Tom L. Wilson Blvd.
Galesburg, IL 61401
For Additional Information Contact:
The Welcome Center
For Graduation Requirements:
See the graduation policies and procedures page for details.
Note: Students must apply for admission to this program. Please click here to view to the program’s page for admission requirements.