funeral services students standing around a dummy with the instructor

Funeral Service Education - FAQ

Do you still have questions about the program, careers after graduation, or how to get started? Take a look at the frequently asked questions or talk with an advisor to get the help you need.

Frequently Asked Questions

The FSE program is limited entry with a limited number of students accepted each year. The selection process gives people who have worked at a funeral home the highest number of points on a scale as success in the program is best achieved by an individual who understands the unique environment of working at a funeral home. Fewer points are given for some related work experience and some points are given for general customer service experience. Applicants from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana have priority consideration over all other states.

We recommend you start by meeting funeral industry managers and applying for entry-level positions. You can seek part-time/as needed work through removal companies, crematories, cemeteries, and funeral homes. This experience will help you determine if this is the right profession for you. You may also do apprenticeship work which requires a license but is difficult to get in Oregon as you would be competing with our graduates. When you visit funeral homes, dress professionally and have a resume with you. Ask to speak to the funeral home director. Walk-ins are acceptable but making an appointment first is a good idea.

This is a two-year (six-quarter) Associate of Applied Science degree if a person takes 15 or more credits per term. There are 95-99 total credits required, 56 are in funeral service. The remaining courses may be taken at another regionally accredited college/university and transferred to MHCC if grades are "C" or higher.

MANDATORY ORIENTATION: A mandatory program orientation will be held in May. Information about completing the health and safety requirements, including immunizations, will be distributed at this time if not previously provided with your acceptance letter.

IMMUNIZATIONS: Accepted students must complete a measles immunization clearance certificate for school attendance form. Students must provide documentation of varicella, hepatitis B, tetanus, COVID-19, and diphtheria immunization status before beginning their first year. In addition, students will be required to have an up-to-date TB test. Before internship, students must meet all FSE program immunization requirements. These requirements may change as requested by our internship sites, and if they do, students are given adequate notice to be compliant for participation.

RESTRICTIONS: If you have been convicted of a felony, please be advised that this conviction may prevent you from placement in funeral homes and from obtaining a license to practice within the field. An FSE advisor can provide further information on this matter.

Representatives from each states' licensing bureau belong to the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards. They write and administer the National Board Exam which tests people in 13 subjects. The exam consists of 350 questions, half covering the sciences and half covering 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 for licensure.

Students must take the National Board Exam (NBE) as a condition of passing FSE245 (Funeral Issues). If the spring term finishes before the student takes both halves of the NBE, the student will receive an Incomplete grade and will not be able to graduate until taking both halves of the NBE. Most states require that licensure applicants pass both halves of the NBE as a condition to practice funeral directing and embalming.

The FSE program at MHCC has traditionally had higher pass rates on the NBE than the national pass rates.

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