John Tyler Community CollegeJohn Tyler Community College

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Funeral Services AAS

Submit an Application for the Funeral Services Program   »

Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

C Career & technical education programs for job training Career & technical education programs for job training = Career & technical education programs for job training, guided by Advisory Committees


The Funeral Services Program is designed to provide the necessary technical skills, academic background, hands-on experience, and professional attitudes that will help the student become a fully-licensed funeral director and embalmer. The Funeral Services Program aims are to help students:

  1. Recognize the importance of funeral service personnel as members of a human services profession.
  2. Recognize the importance of funeral service personnel as members of the community in which they serve.
  3. Recognize the importance of funeral service personnel as participants in the relationship between bereaved families and those engaged in the funeral service profession.
  4. Recognize the importance of funeral service personnel as professionals knowledgeable of and compliant with federal, state, provincial/territorial, and local regulatory guidelines in the geographic area where they practice.
  5. Recognize the importance of funeral service personnel as professionals sensitive to the responsibility for public health, safety, and welfare in caring for human remains.

The Funeral Services Program objectives are:

  1. To enlarge the background and knowledge of students about the funeral service profession.
  2. To educate students in every phase of funeral service and to help enable them to develop proficiency and skills necessary for the profession.
  3. To educate students concerning the responsibilities of the funeral service profession to the community at large.
  4. To emphasize high standards of ethical conduct.
  5. To provide a curriculum at the post-secondary level of instruction.
  6. To encourage student and faculty research in the field of funeral services.

Graduates of the funeral services program will be able to:

  1. Describe the service needs for the pre-need, at-need, and aftercare time frames by evaluating the needs of those who are making funeral arrangements.
  2. Create and plan activities and ceremonies designed to meet the needs of those who mourn.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of funeral and cremation memorialization and merchandise options.
  4. Conduct an analysis of the human remains to determine the proper current embalming and restorative art procedures.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of safety requirements when working in the preparation room.
  6. List necessary information for death certificates.
  7. Demonstrate understanding of legal, professional, and ethical issues regarding funeral service.
  8. Demonstrate the "soft skills" required to be an effective member of the funeral service profession including having effective verbal and written communication skills, collegiality, and a professional work ethic and behavior.


The Funeral Service degree program at John Tyler Community College is accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE), 992 Mantua Pike, Suite 108, Woodbury Heights, NJ  08097,  (816) 233-3747. Web:

Initial/Last/Next Accreditation:   1973/2015/2018

The program is also approved and recognized by the Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers of the Commonwealth of Virginia and is a member of the National Association of Colleges of Mortuary Science.

Program Information - John Tyer Community College

Year Total Enrolled # of New
# of Grads Timely Grad* Graduation Rate Did Not Finish ** Overall % Employed Employed In FS
2015 61 20 31 23/31 79% 2 68% 55%
2014 67 29 23 19/23 82% 2 74% 61%

* Timely graduation = complete program in 1½ times designated program length.

** Left before completing the program; did not finish.

National Board Statistics - John Tyler Community College

3 Year Average % Pass Arts % Pass Sciences
2015 - 2013 69% 56%
2014 - 2012 63% 53%
Most Recent # Takers # Passed
2015 Arts 13 10
2015 Sciences 18 12

National Board Examination pass rates, graduation rates, and employment rates for this and other ABFSE-accredited programs are available at To request a printed copy of this program’s rates, go to Moyar Hall, Room 117 D (Chester Campus) or by e-mail at or by telephone at (804) 706-5066.

Unique Aspects of the Funeral Services Program

The funeral services program at John Tyler has been in existence for over 45 years, and is one of two funeral services programs in Virginia. Because there are limited options for studying funeral services in the Commonwealth, the College’s program is designed to be accommodating for students who may be traveling for class and/or working while enrolled in the program. Students have the opportunity to begin the program in the fall or spring semester and to graduate in the fall or spring. Traditional classroom funeral services courses at John Tyler are offered in a one-day-a-week format, rather than the traditional two- or three-day-a-week format. This type of scheduling alleviates the need for students to attend classes on the Chester Campus more than three times per week. In addition, the program offers some evening courses and courses during the summer semester. The program has an on-site embalming lab, used to train students through hands-on experiences.

Program Requirements and Special Conditions

  1. Applications will be accepted for Fall 2017. Check for updates.
  2. Be 18 years of age or older.
  3. Graduation from an accredited four-year high school or its equivalent, such as a recognized G.E.D., or other evidence of academic achievement, such as a post-secondary transcript with at least nine credits exclusive of developmental courses, and a 2.5 or better grade point average from a regionally accredited post-secondary institution.
  4. Complete all developmental English courses.
  5. Students must apply separately for admission to the Funeral Services Program. Notification of acceptance will be conditioned upon final grade posting and calculation of cumulative grade point average.
  6. Applicants must complete the following courses in the Pre-FNS curriculum with a grade of “C” or better by the end of their first semester in the Program: CHM 110 (CHM 101 is a standard course option), FNS 110, and FNS 121 (BIO 141, NAS 161, BIO 145 are standard course options). Students who fail to obtain a “C” or better in these courses by the end of their first semester will not be allowed to continue in the Funeral Services Program unless granted permission by the Division Dean.
  7. All applicants must have at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA in order to be eligible for admission. The grade point average of courses being accepted for transfer will be calculated for students who wish to transfer credits to be considered toward fulfillment of the Pre-Funeral Services curriculum.
  8. All official transcripts from high school (see #2 above) and other colleges attended must be received by the registrar prior to admission.
  9. Students must receive a C or better in all Funeral Service Program classes to continue in the Program. Exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis by the Funeral Services Dept. Chair.
  10. All funeral services classes taken previously at John Tyler Community College or any other ABFSE accredited school of funeral services must have been completed within 5 years of application to the Funeral Services Program in order to be considered toward the A.A.S. Degree in Funeral Services from John Tyler.
  11. Students must complete the Funeral Services Program within 4 semesters (not including summer) of initial admission into the Funeral Services Program. Exceptions may be made by the Funeral Services Dept. Chair on a case-by-case basis.
  12. All students must provide documentation of completion of the Hepatitis-B vaccination series (have completed two of three doses) prior to beginning FNS 113, FNS 114 or FNS 214. Students who do not wish to receive the Hepatitis-B vaccination must sign a declination statement.

Printable Advising Sheet

Required Courses CR. Pre-requisite Courses Approved Course Substitutions
SDV 100 College Success Skills 1   SDV 101
ACC 211 Principles of Accounting I 3    
BUS 100 Introduction to Business 3    
CHM 110 Survey of Chemistry 3    
CST 110 Introduction to Communication 3   CST 100, CST 115
ENG 111 College Composition I 3 See Placement Test Scores  
FNS 110 Introduction to Funeral Service 2    
HLT 143 Medical Terminology I 3   HIM 111; HLT 230
ITE 101 Introduction to Microcomputers 1   Any ITE Course
FNS 121 Anatomy for Funeral Service I 3   BIO 145
PSY 116 Psychology of Death and Dying 3    
REL Elective 3    
SOC 200 Principles of Sociology 3    
FNS 125 Microbiology for Funeral Service 3   BIO 150
FNS 126 Pathology for Funeral Service 3    
FNS 236 Funeral Service Law 3    
FNS 111 Theory of Embalming I 3    
FNS 113 Theory of Embalming Laboratory I 1    
FNS 213 Restorative Art 3 Sophomore standing  
FNS 231 Principles of Funeral Management I 4    
FNS 112 Theory of Embalming II 3 FNS 111, FNS 113  
FNS 114 Theory of Embalming Laboratory II 1 FNS 111, FNS 113  
FNS 214 Restorative Art Technical Applications 1 FNS 213  
FNS 232 Principles of Funeral Management II 4 FNS 231  
FNS 245 Ethics 3 See Note 5  
Total Minimum Credits to Complete 66    


  1. The Funeral Services Program at John Tyler Community College is accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE), 3414 Ashland Avenue, Suite G, St. Joseph, MO, 64506, 816-233-3747; Web: and is approved by the State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers. The program also is a member of the National Association of Colleges of Mortuary Science.
  2. In order to receive the Funeral Service license in the Commonwealth of Virginia, an individual must:
    • Complete an accredited program of mortuary science or funeral services;
    • Pass the National Board Examination for funeral services as administered by the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining with a minimum score of 75 on the Arts Section and 75 on the Science Section. (Students in the Funeral Services Program at John Tyler Community College are required to take the exam prior to graduation at an additional cost as determined by the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards.);
    • Complete a 3000-hour internship with a licensed funeral services provider in the Commonwealth of Virginia as prescribed by the Regulations of the Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers; and
    • Pass the Virginia State Board Examination after completing the educational requirements, the internship, applying and being approved by the Board.
  3. 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 (
  4. General courses and prerequisite courses can be taken in any order during the first two semesters.
  5. FNS 245 can only be taken in the last semester and not without prior approval from the Funeral Services Program department chair.
  6. Students are required to take the National Board Examination as part of FNS 245 at an additional cost as determined by the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards.
  7. Transfer to Four-Year Colleges and Universities – Students should consult their academic advisors and their intended transfer institutions for specific direction in course selection. Required courses for any major at four-year institutions may vary.

Additional Resources

FNS Application   »

2016-2017 College Catalog & Student Handbook

Your Right to Know

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia requires colleges to provide information on graduation rates. The U.S. Department of Education requires colleges to publish gainful employment consumer information for career/technical programs.

Get More Information:
Division of Mathematics, Natural and Health Sciences

Chester: 804-706-5084
Midlothian: 804-594-1500

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