Our Academic Programs

The Institute offers two programs – an Associate of Applied Science Degree and a Certificate in Funeral Directing. We have been providing education for funeral service professionals – as funeral directors, embalmers, or both – since 1936. The funeral service profession is our sole mission.

Associate Of Applied Science Degree In Funeral Service


This program is designed to lead students to licensure and employment as a funeral director and embalmer.

Associate Of Applied Science Degree In Funeral Service


Courses taken through this option follow the same academic term and length, rigorous academic coursework, and admission requirements as those on campus.

Certificate In Funeral Directing


This program is designed to teach students the skills and abilities essential for employment as a funeral director.

How to Apply for Admission

Steps to apply for admission:

  1. Complete an Application for Admission on the CIFS website and electronically submit the $50.00 application fee. The application fee is valid for one (1) year from the date of application. A new fee is required for all subsequent applications after one year AND when applying for a different program.
  2. Mail an official, sealed copy of your final high school transcript directly to CIFS. If you have a GED certificate, then contact your state education agency and request that the certificate and certificate transcript be mailed directly to CIFS.
  3. Mail an official, sealed transcript from EACH university, college, or vocational/technical school that you attended directly to CIFS. This is required regardless of the credit earned, degree path, or transferability.
    • Digital transcripts from E-Script and/or Parchment are acceptable.
    • Official digital transcripts should be sent to: [email protected]
  4. (For AAS Degree ONLY) If you plan to receive benefits from the Veteran’s Administration, then you must also submit a certified copy of your DD 214, official military transcripts, a Letter of Eligibility, and any other documents that are requested by the school certifying official (SCO). Please contact CIFS prior to applying for VA benefits.

After CIFS has received the completed application, fee, and all other required supporting documents, the CIFS Admissions Counselor will review the application and notify the applicant of the next step(s) necessary in the application process.

Minimum Standards for Admission

The minimum standards for admission to the programs at Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service are:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Graduate from an accredited four-year high school or its equivalent (such as a recognized G.E.D.). If any official school documents are in a foreign language, they will need to be translated and certified that the applicant has completed formal education requirements equivalent to high school graduation in the United States. The translated documents need to be accurate before submission.
  • Satisfy ONE of the following academic requirements:
    • Graduate in the upper one-fourth of the applicant’s high school class
    • Transfer ALL General Education credits (AAS degree only) OR have successfully completed 16 semester hours of college credit with a 2.0 GPA (Certificate only)
    • ACT composite score of 21
    • SAT combined score of 990 (If taken after April 1, 1995)

If none of the above 4 academic requirements are met, then an applicant must submit a typed, one-page, double-spaced essay. The college’s admissions committee will review the essays of these candidates for the purpose of acceptance selections. An applicant’s essay must answer the following two questions:

  • Why are you pursuing a career in funeral service?
  • Why did you choose Commonwealth Institute for your funeral service education?

Once application is successfully submitted, the applicant can mail or email their admission essay to [email protected] with the email subject line of: first and last name – Admission Essay; example: John Doe – Admission Essay.

Suggested Application & Enrollment Timetable

Applicants are encouraged to complete all preparations for enrollment early. The following is the recommended timetable.

  Prior to enrollment   Application Deadline
Six Months Complete an application for admissions, submit the required fee, and submit all official transcripts.
Five Months Send the Institute any loan forms, V.A. forms, etc. for certification of acceptance. If you are planning to receive Financial Aid you need to complete the FAFSA online at Only students enrolling into the Associate of Applied Science Degree program may be eligible to receive IV funding.
Four Months Confirm with the admissions department that all of the requirements have been met or submit any missing documents.


Are you ready to take the next step toward your funeral service career?