Frequently Asked Questions about Funeral Service Education

Q?  What is required to be accepted into the Funeral Service Program?

A!  At MHCC the Funeral Service Program is a Restricted Entry program.
This means that a limited number of students are accepted each year.
To be fair, a selection process was created to give people who have worked at a funeral home the highest number of points on a scale. Fewer points are given for some related work experience.  Success in the program is best achieved by an individual who understands the unique environment of working at a funeral home. Applicants from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana are considered first. Then all other states.

Q? Does this mean that it is required to have an apprenticeship before someone could be accepted?

A!  No. We accept those with apprenticeships first, then those with related work experience, then we interview applicants who have no applicable experience. Some are accepted.
Q? Are there any other requirements to be accepted?

A! An applicant may need to take the CPT or College Placement Test. That is, if the applicant has not passed college math and English courses. This test measures reading, writing, and math. If the scores are high enough the person can take the required classes, specifically WR 121 and Math 65. If not, the applicant may need to pass a preliminary course or two.

Q? How long does it take to complete the program?

A!  This is a two-year (6 quarter) Associate of Applied Science degree, if a person takes 15 or more credits per term. There are 96 total credits required. Fifty-six (56) are in funeral service and must be taken from MHCC FSE. The other courses may be taken at most any other college and transferred with a grade of "C" or better.

Q? Does the program start every quarter? That is can a student enter the program during any quarter?

A! No and yes. When a student enters the final, graduating year, all of the general education courses are completed, the student takes just FSE classes , only beginning Fall quarter. Most of the funeral service courses are connected and sequential.

Q? If I am just out of high school, what should I do?

A! Take as much college as you can afford.  About 25% of the Funeral Service students have Bachelor degrees already, even an occasional graduate degree. Enjoy your youth. Don't do hard drugs. Travel if you can. Eventually you will have to work for a living so then seek out an apprentice position. That is an entry-level, paid, full-time job. When you are ready, apply for the program.

Q? Do you have any distance education, online classes?

A! No. No Funeral Service classes are offered online.

Q? What is the National Board Examination?

A! Representatives from each states' licensing bureau belongs to the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards. They write and administer the National Board Exam which tests people in thirteen different subject areas, which are the same no matter where you live. The Exam currently consists of a total of 350 question, half covering the Sciences and half over the Arts. Sciences include Chemistry, Microbiology, Pathology, Anatomy, Restorative Art, and Embalming. The Arts include Sociology, Psychology/Counseling, Funeral Directing, Merchandising, Accounting, Funeral Law and Business Law. Most states require a passing grade on this exam as part of the licensing regulations. California is one exception.

A person must have all degree requirements completed or able to be completed within 60 days of the regular graduation date to qualify to sit for the NBE. Furthermore, one must take the NBE in order to graduate.

For the past three years, one hundred percent of the Mt. Hood students have passed the NBE on their first attempt. This compares with about 80% nationally.

© 2014 Mt. Hood Community College | 26000 SE Stark St. | Gresham, OR 97030 | 503-491-6422
 Last Modified: 7/28/2009 02:08:20 PM