• FSE Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I get accepted into the Funeral Service Education Program?
    The Funeral Service Education 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?
    If you have already completed the majority of the 10 required general education classes in the first year FSE curriculum (listed on the Admission Details web page), you should consider applying as a second-year student. If you have additional questions about whether 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.
    I sent my application documents via overnight service but they were received after the deadline. Can an exception be made for my application to be accepted?
    No. It is recommended that students plan ahead and do not wait until the last minute to submit application materials (i.e., transcripts). Exceptions will not be made for application items received after the deadline even if materials were sent via guaranteed rush delivery service. MHCC is not responsible for delayed delivery services or other institutions’ transcript processing timeline.
    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/university and transferred to MHCC if grades are "C" or higher.
    I am a high school student taking college credits. Can I still apply to the program?
    If you will be graduating from high school the same year you are applying, we will accept a letter from your high school stating you are on track to graduate that Spring along with a transcript which shows you are in your last year of high school. In the event you are accepted to the program, it will be contingent upon receiving the final transcript showing your high school degree earned. If you are unable to supply this by the date listed in your acceptance letter your spot will be given to the next alternate.
    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, some of our classes are offered remotely due to the COVID-19 virus. 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, COVID-19, 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.

    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 do I know what my application status is after I submit my online application?

    Applicants may check on their application status in the MyMHCC student portal at the location where they filled out the application under the “Check application status” link.