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Program delivery update

To ensure we can safely offer the high-quality learning you expect, we've changed how many of our programs are delivered. Please view this program's delivery option(s) under "locations & availability". Learn more about how programs will be offered

Funeral and Allied Health Services

Build the essential skills and knowledge you need for two career paths – Funeral Directing and Embalming.

Program Image
Start Date:
September
Typical Length:
2 Years
Credential:
Diploma

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Overview

Get the knowledge and skills you need to work as a funeral director and/or embalmer. Although you may choose to pursue only one of these avenues as a career, you benefit from having a solid understanding of each.

The most effective funeral directors are open-minded, compassionate, non-judgmental and responsive communicators. In this career, you meet bereaved people who rely upon your support, good organizational skills and knowledge of the products and services available to them when making funeral arrangements.

Embalmers have the technical skills required to perform sanitation, preservation and restoration of a deceased human body.

In this program, you acquire the skill and confidence to work efficiently. You learn the importance of teamwork and become familiar with the technical language and medical terminology used by health professionals.

Choose NSCC

  • Benefit from our program experience, faculty knowledge of the industry and flexible learning options.
  • The Funeral and Allied Health Services program enjoys close contact with Atlantic Canada's funeral service industry. It is responsive to industry's needs and demands and, as such, gives you the best possible chance of securing fulfilling employment in the field.
  • Graduates meet the apprenticeship requirements for licensing as embalmers and funeral directors; practical work experience is gained, for the most part, at the funeral homes where you are apprenticed.
  • Continue your studies at university – This program includes courses that count towards a university degree. Find out more.

Other info

  • Applicants are not required to secure an apprenticeship prior to admission; however, by the end of the first semester, proof of an apprenticeship with a funeral home in Atlantic Canada is required.
  • This program is not offered each year. Check program locations for upcoming start dates.
  • This program is divided into six semesters, delivered online, over a period of two years, while students meet the apprenticeship requirements for licensing as embalmers and funeral directors.
  • Licensing examination(s) are required to work in this field. Licensing examinations may include both a written examination and a practical examination. For more information on provincial licensing requirements, contact your respective Board of Registration of Embalmers and Funeral Directors.
  • In Atlantic Canada, licensed funeral directors and licensed embalmers work as Funeral and Allied Health Services professionals, many holding both licences. The Board of Registration of Embalmers and Funeral Directors administers the issuing of licences and governs the course of instruction. Applicants from Newfoundland and Labrador are advised to check with their Provincial Board of Registration of Embalmers and Funeral Directors about apprenticeship registration eligibility.
  • Students will be required to sign an agreement on ethical conduct and confidentiality.

September 2021

Campus Location Full time/part time Delivery Availability
eCampus -- Full time OnlineOnline
Complete your program fully online through a variety of learning experiences, but do not include scheduled class sessions.
Seats available

Admission requirements

  • High School Graduation Diploma or equivalent.
    • International students – High school diploma equivalency and English language requirements vary by country. View details
  • A valid Class 5 driver's licence.
  • If you've not obtained an apprenticeship with a funeral home prior to beginning the program, you'll be required to take part in a Work/Volunteer Observation Experience under a licensed Funeral Director. Before approaching a funeral home to set up the Work/Volunteer Observation Experience, NSCC Admissions will provide you with the required documentation.
  • If you have obtained an apprenticeship prior to beginning the program, you're required to submit a letter of recommendation from the funeral home in support of your application. This letter should outline your work experience at the funeral home and confirm that you'll complete your apprenticeship with that funeral home. Apprentices must be registered with the provincial licensing board.

Program requirements

  • A current, official Criminal Record check and Vulnerable Sector check are required to complete work placements in this program. A conviction on your criminal record may impact your ability to obtain a work placement. Inability to obtain a work placement will impact your ability to complete program and graduation requirements.
  • Health and Human Services programs have additional requirements, including immunizations and completion of Standard First Aid, CPR Level C. You must submit proof that you've completed these requirements at the beginning of your program. View additional Health and Human Services program requirements.
    • Receiving immunizations may take up to 10 months to complete. Failure to complete immunizations can result in a delayed work placement.
  • Portfolio Development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.

Tuition

Tuition is valid for the 2020-21 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional.

Tuition (Domestic):
$3,515
Tuition (International):
$11,350

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for college services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • Most graduates choose to work as funeral directors and embalmers, but employment options are many; graduates work as pathologist's assistants, morgue attendants, funeral planners and funeral service educators.
  • Graduates are also hired by hospital and university laboratories, crematoria, answering services for funeral homes and businesses specializing in cemetery management, funeral stationery, removal services and the manufacture of embalming chemicals, caskets and monuments.

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

ANAP 1002 - Anatomy and Physiology for Allied Health
This course provides an overview of the sciences of anatomy and physiology. Knowledge of the basic structure and functions of the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems is essential for a variety of Health and Human Service programs. The integration of these systems will be discussed.

BIOL 1000 - Microbiology
The understanding of microbiological concepts is vital to professionals in allied health services, preventing undue risk to themselves, colleagues and the public. This course will provide learners with an opportunity to study fundamental principles of microbiology and infectious disease as they relate to the human body. This course relies in extensive learner involvement. The course is predominantly project-based and presentation-based, with opportunity for learners to investigate areas of particular concern.

COMM 1205 - Communications - Workplace Foundations
Ideas and plans are rarely successful when they are not well communicated. Through this course, students will review the fundamentals for effective English communication in the workplace and obtain an introduction to Portfolio.

FUSV 1000 - Funeral Rites and Rituals
Judeo-Christian religions and Protestant denominations will be explored during this course. The evolution of funeral practices across these cultures is studied to broaden an understanding of the significance of specific religions.

FUSV 1001 - Funeral Service Law and Ethics
The funeral professional’s legal and ethical responsibilities will be introduced from “first call” to the final disposition of the deceased. Provincial legislation that applies to licensing and modes of disposition will be reviewed.

FUSV 1002 - Psychosocial Aspects of Death and Dying
This course is specifically intended to acquaint the student with the social psychology of grief, dying, death and bereavement. Students are expected to absorb the study material in a thoughtful and sensitive manner and to develop useful interpersonal and reflective skills. This course requires a pass mark of 60%, however, students enrolled in the Funeral and Allied Health Services Program require a pass mark of 75%.

FUSV 1004 - Embalming Theory
This course will outline the responsibilities of funeral service personnel in protecting personal and public health. An understanding of the theoretical principles of the practice of embalming and its development throughout history will be discussed.

FUSV 1018 - Pathology
The understanding of human disease is vital to professionals in allied health professions. This course will cover concepts of common human diseases and disorders.

FUSV 1060 - Theoretical Applications I
Nova Scotia Community College learners enrolled in the Funeral and Allied Health Services program, increase their theoretical knowledge base and develop skills while apprenticing as funeral directors and embalmers. All six theoretical applications courses are designed to capture the application of theory in the funeral home setting and through engagements with the community. As the theory courses provide the foundation for the applied learning, it is expected that learners would continue with their online theory courses while completing each Theoretical Application course. Learners have the responsibility to demonstrate professional behaviour and attitudes appropriate to the workplace. It is important to adhere to the funeral home policies, and accept direction and appropriate feedback from licensed mentors. Learners enrolled in the NSCC Funeral and Allied Health Services program are College ambassadors and should adhere to its academic policies as well as the ethical and professional practice expected of professionals in the field. Funeral and Allied Health Services apprenticeship students must be aware of the importance of developing and demonstrating professional values, personal management skills and team work skills outlined in the professional conduct rubric relative to the professional conduct learning outcome. Assessment in all learning environments will include but will not be limited to the following professional values: accountability, confidentiality, dignity, integrity; teamwork skills: works well with others, participates in all assigned tasks; and personal management skills: positive attitude and behaviour, time management and responsibility, adaptability, willingness to learn, workplace safety, and deportment. The theoretical applications courses are competency based and outline the expectations for increasing levels of competency from one course to the next. It is expected that 75% of the tasks/competencies will be completed each semester in keeping with industry standard. 75% or above will secure a pass for the course, and below 75% as fail. Documented participation in funeral procedures including first calls, transfers, preparation of documentation required for all forms of disposition, preparation of human remains for viewing and transfer, assisted arrangements, funeral arrangement conferences, pre-arrangements, set-ups for visitation, tribute services, funerals, memorial services, directing funerals and committals and all tasks as requested by the licensed mentor necessary in the provision of funeral services to client families at a beginner level and with increasing levels of competency. All procedures performed by the learner are recorded and signed-off by the appropriate mentor/licensee in the Theoretical Applications handbook.

FUSV 1070 - Theoretical Applications II
Nova Scotia Community College learners enrolled in the Funeral and Allied Health Services program, increase their theoretical knowledge base and develop skills while apprenticing as funeral directors and embalmers. All six theoretical applications courses are designed to capture the application of theory in the funeral home setting and through engagements with the community. As the theory courses provide the foundation for the applied learning, it is expected that learners would continue with their online theory courses while completing each Theoretical Application course. Learners have the responsibility to demonstrate professional behaviour and attitudes appropriate to the workplace. It is important to adhere to the funeral home policies, and accept direction and appropriate feedback from licensed mentors. Learners enrolled in the NSCC Funeral and Allied Health Services program are College ambassadors and should adhere to its academic policies as well as the ethical and professional practice expected of professionals in the field. Funeral and Allied Health Services apprenticeship students must be aware of the importance of developing and demonstrating professional values, personal management skills and team work skills outlined in the professional conduct rubric relative to the professional conduct learning outcome. Assessment in all learning environments will include but will not be limited to the following professional values: accountability, confidentiality, dignity, integrity; teamwork skills: works well with others, participates in all assigned tasks; and personal management skills: positive attitude and behaviour, time management and responsibility, adaptability, willingness to learn, workplace safety, and deportment. The theoretical applications courses are competency based and outline the expectations for increasing levels of competency from one course to the next. It is expected that 75% of the tasks/competencies will be completed each semester in keeping with industry standard. 75% or above will secure a pass for the course, and below 75% as fail. Documented participation in funeral procedures including first calls, transfers, preparation of documentation required for all forms of disposition, preparation of human remains for viewing and transfer, assisted arrangements, funeral arrangement conferences, pre-arrangements, set-ups for visitation, tribute services, funerals, memorial services, directing funerals and committals and all tasks as requested by the licensed mentor necessary in the provision of funeral services to client families at a beginner level and with increasing levels of competency. All procedures performed by the learner are recorded and signed-off by the appropriate mentor/licensee in the Theoretical Applications handbook.

FUSV 1080 - Theoretical Applications III
Nova Scotia Community College learners enrolled in the Funeral and Allied Health Services program, increase their theoretical knowledge base and develop skills while apprenticing as funeral directors and embalmers. All six theoretical applications courses are designed to capture the application of theory in the funeral home setting and through engagements with the community. As the theory courses provide the foundation for the applied learning, it is expected that learners would continue with their online theory courses while completing each Theoretical Application course. Learners have the responsibility to demonstrate professional behaviour and attitudes appropriate to the workplace. It is important to adhere to the funeral home policies, and accept direction and appropriate feedback from licensed mentors. Learners enrolled in the NSCC Funeral and Allied Health Services program are College ambassadors and should adhere to its academic policies as well as the ethical and professional practice expected of professionals in the field. Funeral and Allied Health Services apprenticeship students must be aware of the importance of developing and demonstrating professional values, personal management skills and team work skills outlined in the professional conduct rubric relative to the professional conduct learning outcome. Assessment in all learning environments will include but will not be limited to the following professional values: accountability, confidentiality, dignity, integrity; teamwork skills: works well with others, participates in all assigned tasks; and personal management skills: positive attitude and behaviour, time management and responsibility, adaptability, willingness to learn, workplace safety, and deportment. The theoretical applications courses are competency based and outline the expectations for increasing levels of competency from one course to the next. It is expected that 75% of the tasks/competencies will be completed each semester in keeping with industry standard. 75% or above will secure a pass for the course, and below 75% as fail. Documented participation in funeral procedures including first calls, transfers, preparation of documentation required for all forms of disposition, preparation of human remains for viewing and transfer, assisted arrangements, funeral arrangement conferences, pre-arrangements, set-ups for visitation, tribute services, funerals, memorial services, directing funerals and committals and all tasks as requested by the licensed mentor necessary in the provision of funeral services to client families at a beginner level and with increasing levels of competency. All procedures performed by the learner are recorded and signed-off by the appropriate mentor/licensee in the Theoretical Applications handbook.

FUSV 1100 - Introduction to Funeral Services
Introduction to Funeral Services provides the Funeral Services learner with an overview of funeral practices, beginning with a historical foundation, tracing the death and burial practices from 62,000 B.C.E. to the 21st century. This course highlights many aspects of modern funeral practice such as meeting the psychosocial needs of funeral service clients, protection of public health, ethics and the changing trends in funeral service.

FUSV 1101 - Medical Terminology
This course is a broad survey of medical nomenclature required for allied health fields.

FUSV 1103 - Restorative Art
This course in one of the many courses that comprise the technical aspects of the Funeral and Allied Health Services diploma program. Restorative Art provides the learner with a foundation for the restorative procedures covered in the Embalming Challenges and Restorative Procedures course. Course topics will include minor and major restorations, review of the surface bones of the face and cranium, muscles of surface form and expression, facial markings, preparation for wax restorations, introduction to both cosmetics and desairology.

FUSV 2000 - World Religions: Western Traditions
Looking beyond Judeo-Christian religious practices, a selection of the major world religions and spiritual philosophies will be explored during this course. The evolution of funeral practices across these cultures is studied to broaden understanding of the significance of specific religious rites and rituals within the contemporary Western world.

FUSV 2001 - Legal Aspects of Death: Advanced Planning and Aftercare
The course topics include pre-arranged services and a review of pre-need legislation in Atlantic Canada, death benefits, advance planning considerations and client aftercare.

FUSV 2002 - Issues in Grief and Bereavement for Funeral Service
The realities of dying, death and bereavement are fundamental and pervasive aspects of human experience and motivation for human behaviour. This course is designed to help students develop and identify therapeutic strategies that may be used in assisting people in grief.

FUSV 2018 - Mortuary Pathology
This course will explore genetic and congenital diseases and disorders, eye and ear diseases and disorders, trauma related diseases and disorders, reproductive diseases and disorders and mental health diseases and disorders. Consideration will be given to fundamental pathological principles involved in diseases and the systems involved and the action required by particular allied health fields.

FUSV 2044 - Embalming Challenges and Restorative Procedures
The Embalming Challenges and Restorative Procedures course builds from the base of knowledge accumulated in the successful completion of both the Embalming Theory and Restorative Art courses. Embalming variables and complications will be examined in detail. Additionally, a variety of methods and techniques for restoring the deceased to natural form and colour will be discussed. Knowledge gained in Restorative Art will be applied to wax restorations, proper treatment of edematous and emaciated cases, methods of reducing swellings, and concealment techniques including the application of cosmetics and hair restoration. Pass Mark: 75%

FUSV 2060 - Theoretical Applications IV
Nova Scotia Community College learners enrolled in the Funeral and Allied Health Services program, increase their theoretical knowledge base and develop skills while apprenticing as funeral directors and embalmers. All six theoretical applications courses are designed to capture the application of theory in the funeral home setting and through engagements with the community. As the theory courses provide the foundation for the applied learning, it is expected that learners would continue with their online theory courses while completing each Theoretical Application course. Learners have the responsibility to demonstrate professional behaviour and attitudes appropriate to the workplace. It is important to adhere to the funeral home policies, and accept direction and appropriate feedback from licensed mentors. Learners enrolled in the NSCC Funeral and Allied Health Services program are College ambassadors and should adhere to its academic policies as well as the ethical and professional practice expected of professionals in the field. Funeral and Allied Health Services apprenticeship students must be aware of the importance of developing and demonstrating professional values, personal management skills and team work skills outlined in the professional conduct rubric relative to the professional conduct learning outcome. Assessment in all learning environments will include but will not be limited to the following professional values: accountability, confidentiality, dignity, integrity; teamwork skills: works well with others, participates in all assigned tasks; and personal management skills: positive attitude and behaviour, time management and responsibility, adaptability, willingness to learn, workplace safety, and deportment. The theoretical applications courses are competency based and outline the expectations for increasing levels of competency from one course to the next. It is expected that 75% of the tasks/competencies will be completed each semester in keeping with industry standard. 75% or above will secure a pass for the course, and below 75% as fail. Documented participation in funeral procedures including first calls, transfers, preparation of documentation required for all forms of disposition, preparation of human remains for viewing and transfer, assisted arrangements, funeral arrangement conferences, pre-arrangements, set-ups for visitation, tribute services, funerals, memorial services, directing funerals and committals and all tasks as requested by the licensed mentor necessary in the provision of funeral services to client families at a beginner level and with increasing levels of competency. All procedures performed by the learner are recorded and signed-off by the appropriate mentor/licensee in the Theoretical Applications handbook.

FUSV 2070 - Theoretical Applications V
Nova Scotia Community College students enrolled in the Funeral and Allied Health Services program, increase their theoretical knowledge base and develop skills while apprenticing as funeral directors and embalmers. All six theoretical applications courses are designed to capture the application of theory in the funeral home setting and through engagements with the community. As the theory courses provide the foundation for the applied learning, it is expected that students would continue with their online theory courses while completing each Theoretical Application course. Students have the responsibility to demonstrate professional behaviour and attitudes appropriate to the workplace. It is important to adhere to the funeral home policies, and accept direction and appropriate feedback from licensed mentors. Students enrolled in the NSCC Funeral and Allied Health Services program are College ambassadors and should adhere to its academic policies as well as the ethical and professional practice expected of professionals in the field. Funeral and Allied Health Services apprenticeship students must be aware of the importance of developing and demonstrating professional values, personal management skills and team work skills outlined in the professional conduct rubric relative to the professional conduct learning outcome. Assessment in all learning environments will include but will not be limited to the following professional values: accountability, confidentiality, dignity, integrity; teamwork skills: works well with others, participates in all assigned tasks; and personal management skills: positive attitude and behaviour, time management and responsibility, adaptability, willingness to learn, workplace safety, and deportment. The theoretical applications courses are competency based and outline the expectations for increasing levels of competency from one course to the next. It is expected that 75% of the tasks/competencies will be completed each semester in keeping with industry standard. 75% or above will secure a pass for the course, and below 75% as fail. Documented participation in funeral procedures including first calls, transfers, preparation of documentation required for all forms of disposition, preparation of human remains for viewing and transfer, assisted arrangements, funeral arrangement conferences, pre-arrangements, set-ups for visitation, tribute services, funerals, memorial services, directing funerals and committals and all tasks as requested by the licensed mentor necessary in the provision of funeral services to client families at a beginner level and with increasing levels of competency. All procedures performed by the student are recorded and signed-off by the appropriate mentor/licensee in the Theoretical Applications handbook.

FUSV 2080 - Theoretical Applications VI
Nova Scotia Community College learners enrolled in the Funeral and Allied Health Services program, increase their theoretical knowledge base and develop skills while apprenticing as funeral directors and embalmers. All six theoretical applications courses are designed to capture the application of theory in the funeral home setting and through engagements with the community. As the theory courses provide the foundation for the applied learning, it is expected that learners would continue with their online theory courses while completing each Theoretical Application course. Learners have the responsibility to demonstrate professional behaviour and attitudes appropriate to the workplace. It is important to adhere to the funeral home policies, and accept direction and appropriate feedback from licensed mentors. Learners enrolled in the NSCC Funeral and Allied Health Services program are College ambassadors and should adhere to its academic policies as well as the ethical and professional practice expected of professionals in the field. Funeral and Allied Health Services apprenticeship students must be aware of the importance of developing and demonstrating professional values, personal management skills and team work skills outlined in the professional conduct rubric relative to the professional conduct learning outcome. Assessment in all learning environments will include but will not be limited to the following professional values: accountability, confidentiality, dignity, integrity; teamwork skills: works well with others, participates in all assigned tasks; and personal management skills: positive attitude and behaviour, time management and responsibility, adaptability, willingness to learn, workplace safety, and deportment. The theoretical applications courses are competency based and outline the expectations for increasing levels of competency from one course to the next. It is expected that 75% of the tasks/competencies will be completed each semester in keeping with industry standard. 75% or above will secure a pass for the course, and below 75% as fail. Documented participation in funeral procedures including first calls, transfers, preparation of documentation required for all forms of disposition, preparation of human remains for viewing and transfer, assisted arrangements, funeral arrangement conferences, pre-arrangements, set-ups for visitation, tribute services, funerals, memorial services, directing funerals and committals and all tasks as requested by the licensed mentor necessary in the provision of funeral services to client families at a beginner level and with increasing levels of competency. All procedures performed by the learner are recorded and signed-off by the appropriate mentor/licensee in the Theoretical Applications handbook.

FUSV 2100 - Funeral Service Business Practices
This course is designed to provide learners with a synopsis of the key business concepts relevant to Funeral and Allied Health Services. Course topics may include but are not limited to the following: types of business organizations, human resources values and the roles and responsibilities of the funeral home manager. Additionally, methods of pricing, funeral service products, services and market knowledge will be introduced. Marketing and communication methods and techniques appropriate to the funeral business will be discussed.

FUSV 2203 - Emerging Trends in Funeral Service
The course facilitator will engage students in a discussion about the societal and cultural shifts influencing trends in funeral service. Major topics will include technological developments in funeral service, and consumer habits: awareness, purchasing decisions, and demand for personalization and environmentally friendly options. The impact on the profession, the changing face of the workforce and the legal implications will be considered.

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