• FSE Frequently Asked Questions


  • How do I get accepted into the Funeral Service Program?
    The Funeral Service Program is Restricted Entry, which means that a limited number of students are accepted each year. The selection process was created to give people who have worked at a funeral home the highest number of points on a scale as success in the program is best achieved by an individual who understands the unique environment of working at a funeral home. Fewer points are given for some related work experience and some points are given for general customer service experience. Applicants from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana have priority consideration over all other states.
    Does this mean that I must have an apprenticeship before I can be accepted?
    No. We accept those with apprenticeships first, then those with related work experience, then additional applicants based on a number of factors including previous education.

    How can I get experience in the field?
    We recommend you start by meeting funeral industry managers and applying for entry-level positions. You can seek part-time/as needed work through removal companies, crematories, cemeteries, and funeral homes. This experience will help you determine if this is the right profession for you. You may also do apprenticeship work which requires a license but is difficult to get in Oregon as you would be competing with our graduates . When you visit funeral homes, dress professionally and have a resume with you. Ask to speak to the funeral home director. Walk-ins are acceptable but making an appointment first is a good idea.
    Should I apply as a first year or second year student in the Funeral Service Education program?
    You must complete 10 required first year courses prior to the beginning of fall term if you are applying as a second year student. Those courses are listed on the Admission Details web page. If you have additional questions about whether you are eligible to apply as a second year student, please schedule an appointment with an academic adviser by emailing advising.questions@mhcc.edu or calling 503-491-7315. The adviser will be able to help you with an educational plan.
    How long does it take to complete the program?
    This is a two-year (6 quarters) Associate of Applied Science degree if a person takes 15 or more credits per term. There are 95-99 total credits required. Fifty-six (56) are in funeral service and must be taken from MHCC 's FSE program. The remaining courses may be taken at another regionally accredited college and transferred to MHCC if grades are "C" or better.
    If I am just out of high school, what should I do?
    Prepare in advance for the College Placement Test (or utilize other placement options) in order to avoid unnecessary classes. Start completing the prerequisite requirements. Introduce yourself to people in the profession.
    Do you have any distance education, online classes?
    Currently, most of our courses are offered remotely due to the COVID-19 virus. Some labs are conducted in-person. When normal operations resume, all FSE classes will return to the in-person, traditional classroom setting.
    What Happens after I am accepted?

    MANDATORY ORIENTATION: A mandatory program orientation will be held in May. Information about completing the health and safety requirements, including immunizations, will be distributed at this time if not previously provided with your acceptance letter.

    IMMUNIZATIONS: Accepted students must complete a Measles Immunization Clearance Certificate for School Attendance Form. Students must provide documentation of Varicella, Hepatitis B, tetanus, and diphtheria immunization status before beginning their first year. In addition, students will be required to have an up-to-date TB test. Prior to internship, students must meet all FSE program immunization requirements. These requirements may change as requested by our internship sites, and if they do, students are given adequate notice in order to be compliant for participation.

    RESTRICTIONS: If you have been convicted of a felony, please be advised that this conviction may prevent you from placement in funeral homes and from obtaining a license to practice within the field. An FSE adviser can provide further information on this matter.

    DRUG SCREENING: All students will be required to complete drug screening prior to clinical placement. Please note, this drug screening will check for drugs that contain, amphetamines, barbiturates, opioids, benzodiazepines and marijuana. If you are taking any prescribed medication that may contain these drugs you will need to meet with the program director before completing the drug screen. Program faculty will provide further information including when to have this done. A positive drug test may exclude you from clinical placement and make it impossible for you to complete the clinical competencies required for graduation from the FSE program. All students will be asked to complete a Consent to Test Form upon acceptance into the program.

    What is the National Board Examination?

    Representatives from each states' licensing bureau belongs to the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards. They write and administer the National Board Exam which tests people in thirteen different subjects. The Exam currently consists of 350 question, half covering the Sciences and half over the Arts. Sciences include Chemistry, Microbiology, Pathology, Anatomy, Restorative Art, and Embalming. The Arts include Sociology, Psychology/Counseling, Funeral Directing, Merchandising, Accounting, Funeral Law and Business Law. Most states require a passing grade on this exam for licensure.

    Students are required to take the National Board Exam (NBE) as a condition of passing FSE245 (Funeral Issues). If Spring term finishes prior to the student taking both halves of the NBE, the student will receive an Incomplete grade, and will not be able to graduate until taking both halves of the NBE. Most states require that licensure applicants pass both halves of the NBE as a condition to practice funeral directing and embalming.

    The FSE program at MHCC has traditionally had higher pass rates on the National Board Exam than the national pass rates.

    How much does the program Cost?

    Items* Cost
    First Year Text Books $1,800
    Second Year Text Books, Program Fees (includes but is not limited to lab fees, testing software fees, and ABFSE accreditation) 3,050
    National Board Examination 570
    Vaccination Series Varies
    Oregon Intern License 25
    Tuition is approximate and based on the current tuition rate as of Fall 2020. To view the current tuition rate, please see the Tuition/Fee Rate Table at mhcc.edu/tuition. Students from states other than Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho or Nevada, who have not established Oregon residency will pay out-of-state tuition rates for the first quarter and are then eligible for the in-state rate for subsequent terms
    Tuition 1st Year *Includes College Service Fee ($49/term x 3 terms) + Access Fee ($39/term x 3 terms) $6,883.75
    Tuition 2nd Year *Includes College Service Fee ($49/term x 3 terms) + Access Fee ($39/term x 3 terms) $6,293.75
    Total $18,622.50
    *Note: The estimated program costs are approximate and are subject to change without notice. They are listed only as a guide for your financial planning. Costs are based on 6 quarters (two years). Students are responsible for transportation costs to intern sites. Books, licensure fees and travel are not included in financial aid reimbursable expenses.