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September 2018 TBR Quarterly Meeting


Southwest Tennessee Community College (STCC)


Establish a new A.A.S. in Funeral Services Education

CIP Code: 12.0301


Spring 2019


The proposed new degree program will be delivered at the Whitehaven Center, 1234 Finley

Road, Memphis, TN 38116. The program will:


provide education in fundamental skills, knowledge and practices of funeral services,


fit within the Institutional Strategic Plan (Access), and


support the Mission Statement by providing an additional career and technical curricula

leading to both employment-related certificates and an associates of applied science


The program will be the first of its kind offered in a public college in Tennessee. The nearest

programs are a private college in the Nashville area and a community college in northwestern



Many potential students in the Southwest service area are required to travel out of the area to

attend classes in funeral services education which is expensive and inconvenient. Additionally,

funeral directors and owners of funeral establishments are required to complete the associate of

applied science degree or complete 30 hours semester credit hours for directors, or 60 credits for

embalmers, making it difficult to complete requirements for certification in Tennessee.

The proposed program has been in development for the past year with input from a 25-member

advisory board composed of funeral directors and mortuary services providers. The members

pledged support to provide facilities for students to complete practicums in funeral directing

and embalming. Letters of support were provided to document support and demand for this


Currently, only one accredited funeral services education program is offered in State.

Estimated cost for a semester at this private institution is $5,220; a semester at Southwest is

approximately $2440. Tennessee has one of the highest levels of employment for funeral

service jobs in the country. Additionally, there are 370+ establishments in the State with

annual sales of $316,000,000. In Memphis, approximately 420 people are employed in funeral

services, with an annual mean wage of $31,527. West Tennessee’s non-metro areas have

comparable employment statistics and higher wages as compared to metro areas.