The Associate of Applied Science Degree in Funeral Service is issued to students who complete the college level curriculum of funeral service arts and sciences. This degree is designed to lead students to licensure and employment as a funeral director and embalmer. The A.A.S. Degree in Funeral Service program and Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service are accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE), 992 Mantua Pike, Suite 108, Woodbury Heights, NJ 08097 (816) 233-3747. Website: www.abfse.org
The Associate of Applied Science Degree in Funeral Service (A.A.S.) is designed to teach students the skills and abilities essential for employment as an embalmer and funeral director. Graduates of this program will be able to disinfect, preserve, and/ or restore human remains through embalming and restorative art for the purposes of viewing, services/rites, and final disposition. They will learn how to conduct various funeral service ceremonies. Additionally, they will be able to conduct funeral arrangement conferences with families, prepare necessary funeral home paperwork, perform funerary management tasks, and be aware of proper workplace safety guidelines for funeral service personnel.
Graduates of this program may find entry-level employment as an apprentice/intern/provisional licensee with funeral homes, embalming services, cemeteries, and affiliated funeral service companies. Individuals seeking these credentials must also meet the requirements of the appropriate state licensing agencies.
As a part of this academic program, students will also become certified crematory operators through the Cremation Association of North America (CANA). This training is provided online and is embedded in the Cremation and Modern Funeral Service course.
To earn the A.A.S. degree, the student must fulfill all requirements for the General Education Core of 24 quarter credit hours as outlined in this catalog section, the Specialized and Related Courses, and all clinical labs and externships. The A.A.S. degree is an accelerated program. Students will be able to complete the program in 15 months (five, eleven-week quarters). If a student transfers all of the General Education Courses, then they will be able to complete the program in 12 months (four, eleven-week quarters). The A.A.S. degree program is intended to be taken as a full-time curriculum. Classes are not allowed to be taken on a part-time basis except in certain, special circumstances whereby transfer credit has been granted.
A student may elect to complete the Associate of Applied Science degree via online instruction. Courses taken through this option follow the same academic term and length, rigorous academic coursework, and admission requirements as those on campus. The online course instructional delivery will follow the on-campus classroom instruction so that all students, regardless of modality, are learning the same information at the same time.
This program is NOT delivered in a self-paced or correspondence method approach. In general, online course topics/lessons are presented on a weekly basis. All online courses will have at least one weekly assignment to assess the material presented that week. Students may go through material and complete assignments according to their own schedule; provided that weekly deadlines are met. In most instances, it is neither required for students to log in at a specific time nor interact with instructors and/or other students in real-time. However, regular participation and substantive online interaction are strictly required.
All quizzes and exams will be delivered through the school’s Learning Management System (LMS) – Canvas. To ensure exam security and academic honesty, a third-party remote proctoring service is utilized. This involves the use of a webcam, microphone, and high-speed/reliable internet. However, CIFS reserves the right to require that exams be administered in a physical, proctored setting.
All A.A.S. degree students, campus and online, must complete the curricular labs and externships as a requirement for graduation. These translate the theoretical knowledge learned in the classroom into practical, hands-on experience. Included are the three following areas: funeral directing, embalming, and restorative art.
Online AAS: Online degree students may choose between two distinct paths to complete their lab and externship requirements. One path is intended to allow those students currently working in funeral service to complete a portion of their requirements at their place of employment (provided certain criteria are met), and the other path is designed for those who need to complete all requirements on campus. During the Embalming II course (3rd quarter of specialized courses), students will officially select their path and sign up for their scheduled time on campus – 2 to 5 days depending on path. The available dates/weeks generally start around the beginning of the 4th quarter of specialized courses and run through the last week before final exams and exit exams. The two path options are outlined on the next page.
Path A – For those who DO NOT work in funeral service or cannot complete the requirements at their place of employment.
Path B – For those who DO work in funeral service and can complete some designated requirements at their place of employment.
NOTE: Online students are responsible for all costs associated with travel, transportation, lodging, food, etc.
For additional information on labs and externships, see Section 5 in the Student Handbook.
Tuition will be determined according to the modality of enrollment (Online or On-campus). Tuition payments are due by the first day of the quarter for on-campus students. Tuition for online students is due two weeks prior to the start of the quarter to ensure timely delivery of books. Tuition and Fees are subject to change without prior notification.
The online tuition rate is $195 per quarter credit hour.
If the general education courses are taken at CIFS, then the total tuition and fees will be $19,015; payable as follows: $50 application fee due with application, $50 graduation fee due 30 days prior to graduation, and $18,915 tuition (97 quarter credit hours multiplied by $195).
If all general education courses are transferred to CIFS, then the total tuition and fees will be $14,335; payable as follows: $50 application fee due with application, $50 graduation fee due 30 days prior to graduation, and $14,235 tuition (73 quarter credit hours multiplied by $195).
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The dates and times of laboratory sessions are scheduled at the beginning of each quarter.2022-2023 CATALOG
We are devoted to raising the standards of the funeral service profession by preparing students as funeral directors and embalmers. Begin your career path at Commonwealth Institute today!