Best Mortuary Science colleges in the U.S.

Written by Chris Lombardo

Best Mortuary Science colleges in the U.S. for 2022

Miami Dade College
Miami, FL

Miami-Dade College offers associate and certificates in the field of mortuary science, and these programs prepare graduates to work in roles like undertaker or funeral director. Given the urban location, graduates often pursue professional opportunities locally.

St Petersburg College
Clearwater, FL

St. Petersburg College is an excellent place for Florida residents to pursue a career in mortuary science. The school offers bachelor’s and certificate-level degree programs, which can provide flexibility depending on how quickly some students intend on entering the workforce.

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The University of Central Oklahoma has a few mortuary science career tracks for applicants that want to further their knowledge of funeral preparation. It is typical for students to take classes that prepare them for state licensing exams, which can be mandatory in some jurisdictions.

Southern Illinois University - Carbondale has multiple mortuary science programs that are tailored for students interested in working in the field. Graduates can enter the workforce as morticians and work in a lab environment, or as funeral directors working with the public to methodically prepare a body for burial.

University of Minnesota Twin Cities is a public university with a bachelor’s program in mortuary science that is administered over a four-year period. Students often elect to pursue apprenticeships after graduation, which can be a great option for those that look to gain relevant experience while earning a salary.

Ivy Tech Community College
Indianapolis, IN

Ivy Tech Community College offers two-year programs for prospective students that are pursuing a career in mortuary science. Coursework often includes classes on human anatomy and funeral preparation, that typically involve hands-on lab time with their professors and peers.

Wayne State University has a mortuary degree program that is administered at the bachelor’s level and provides a range of job placement programs for graduates that want to stay local in the Detroit metro. This program involves classes on chemistry, anatomy, and embalming to name a few.

Tidewater Community College offers 1 Mortuary Science degree programs. It's a large, public, two-year college in a midsize city. In 2020, 14 Mortuary Science students graduated with students earning 14 Associate's degrees.

Vincennes University
Vincennes, IN

Vincennes University offers 1 Mortuary Science degree programs. It's a large, public, four-year university in a remote town. In 2020, 18 Mortuary Science students graduated with students earning 18 Associate's degrees.

What is Mortuary Science?

Mortuary science is the study of deceased bodies, and the preparation methods needed for funeral services and burial. Schools that offer programs in mortuary science often require hands-on lab instruction to familiarize students with the processes that are needed to ensure a successful funeral. 

Graduates with this degree often work for funeral homes and may hold roles as a funeral director or embalmer to prepare bodies for display during a funeral. Human bodies undergo a series of physical and chemical changes after death, and it is the job of the mortician to ensure that the deceased are cared for and transported properly after they are delivered to the funeral home.

Mortuary Science Degree Overview

A degree in mortuary science is the first step for those interested in working with cadavers to prepare them for funerary services. These programs often involve anatomy and physiology classes to familiarize students with bodily processes after death and will typically include hands-on instruction with a certified mortician in a lab setting. 

Unlike many other medical professions, getting a degree in mortuary science doesn’t involve pursuing medical school. These programs can range from certificate-level programs to bachelor’s degrees with more theoretical classroom instruction and hands-on lab time. Beyond the scientific processes, students often take courses in grief counseling and funeral preparation to learn how to work with family members and loved ones in these sensitive situations.

Certificate in Mortuary Science

For students that want to acquire relevant certificates or licensure in the sector, a Funeral Director certificate is a great way to promote a solid foundation in mortuary science.

Associate Degree in Mortuary Science

There are a range of options for prospective applicants entering the field of mortuary science. For those looking to expedite their time to a full-time role, an associate degree is an excellent way to further your knowledge of funeral direction and embalming techniques. These programs last up to two years and often are paired with certification and licensure exams.

Bachelor's Degree in Mortuary Science

Many students that desire traditional, bachelor’s level programs can apply to mortuary science degree programs that take up to four years to complete. These programs typically include general education requirements such as chemistry and anatomy. While these programs may take longer to complete, they do impart relevant skills needed to enter this sector with a strong application.

Master's Degree in Mortuary Science

Master’s and doctorate level degree programs in the field of mortuary science are less common than the shorter associate and bachelor’s level coursework, though some students interested in furthering their knowledge and gaining more experience in an academic setting elect to pursue these tracks.

What Can I Do with a Degree in Mortuary Science?

Students entering the mortuary science profession can explore a range of jobs at funeral homes, in police morgues, and as mortuary technicians. While funeral directors hold public-facing roles, many mortuary science graduates will work in hands-on lab settings with the deceased. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Morticians and Undertakers can earn up to $56,000 annually, while Funeral Service Workers make up to $58,000.

Earning an Online Mortuary Science Degree

Given the tactile nature of this profession, students often pursue in-person mortuary science programs so that they can acquire the skills they need to operate as a mortician or funeral director after graduation. 

While online programs can impart the theoretical aspects of this specialization, it is common for students to take in-person licensure exams to demonstrate their understanding of the human anatomy and embalming.

Mortuary Science FAQ

  • Is a mortician a good career?
    • A career as a mortician can provide solid job opportunities and wages, and graduates with this degree often enjoy a comfortable level of job security.
  • Is an embalmer a mortician?
    • Terms such as funeral director, undertaker, and embalmer can be used interchangeably to describe the roles within a funeral home or mortuary.
  • How do I become a mortician?
    • To practice as a funeral director or mortician, applicants need to be at least 21 years old and have to complete an accredited funeral service or mortuary science degree program.

      Often local state requirements involve board examination, and students may elect to pursue an apprenticeship to get hands-on observation and learning with working professionals.

List of all Mortuary Science colleges in the U.S.

School Average Tuition Student Teacher Ratio Enrolled Students
Miami Dade College Logo Miami Dade College Miami, FL
2/5
63 : 1 46,523
St Petersburg College Logo St Petersburg College Clearwater, FL
2/5
80 : 1 26,430
University of Central Oklahoma Logo University of Central Oklahoma Edmond, OK
2/5
25 : 1 14,132
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Logo Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Carbondale, IL
4/5
17 : 1 11,366
Florida State College at Jacksonville Logo Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL
2/5
65 : 1 22,344