Mortuary Science Degrees: Online Programs

Learn about the different mortuary science program options available through distance learning. See what types of courses these programs include and become familiar with general licensing information. Schools offering Mortuary Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Online Mortuary Science Degree Programs Are Available?

Numerous community colleges offer online certificate and associate's degree programs in mortuary science, most of which are accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education. Some certificate programs can be completed entirely via the Internet, but many associate's degree programs are only available in a hybrid format. Hybrid formats require you to complete specific courses in a laboratory setting, including anatomy and microbiology.

Most one-year mortuary science certificate programs are ideal if you wish to become a funeral director but not an embalmer. Two-year associate's degree programs may be offered through funeral service institutions as well as colleges. In addition to general education courses, these programs may teach you how to become an embalmer.

Degree ProgramsOnline certificate, associate's degree
Licensure Requirments vary by state
Online Program FormatOnline study guides or textbooks; communicate through email, discussion boards or chat rooms; accelerated format possible; tests may be proctored at testing centers
Courses Anatomy and physiology, psychology, pathology, microbiology, chemistry
Median Salary (2018)* $44,250 (for embalmers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* -1% (for embalmers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Will Online Programs Qualify Me for Licensure?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, each state has its own licensing laws for funeral directors, but most require that you are at least 21 years old, have two years of formal education experience in mortuary science, serve a one-year internship and pass a state-specific examination ( If you want to be an embalmer, you must obtain separate licensing for that position.

Some certificate programs can help you fulfill the educational requirements necessary to sit for the state funeral director certification exams, since you must be licensed in your state. You may also be able to receive continuing education credit through certificate programs. Many schools that offer associate's degree programs state that you must take national board certification prior to graduation, which is offered through the National Funeral Directors Association (

How Do Online Programs Work?

While online mortuary science programs offer the same courses as on campus programs, some online programs are available in an accelerated format. The online classes may cover anatomy and physiology, psychology, pathology, microbiology and chemistry. You may also study mortuary administration, funeral directing, business law and funeral ethics. If you are enrolled in an associate's degree program, you may take embalming courses as well.

Coursework may be presented through online study guides, textbooks or supplemental reading guides. If you need to communicate with your instructor or classmates, you can do so through e-mail, discussion boards or chat rooms. Some programs require you to take examinations at local testing centers with a proctor supervising you.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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