Jun 17, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog & Student Handbook 
2023-2024 Catalog & Student Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Funeral Services, AAS

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The Funeral Services Program will be accepting applications for Fall 2024/Spring 2025 admission from June 15, 2024 through July 15, 2024. Please click here to apply.

Students who wish to be provisionally placed into the AAS Funeral Services Program should contact the Advising Center at advising@brightpoint.edu.


PURPOSE: This two-year degree prepares students for jobs in funeral services. Students who complete this degree are eligible to take the national board exam which is required to become a licensed funeral director. This degree is offered at the Chester Campus. All career-technical degrees are guided by advisory committees comprised of local business leaders.

CREDENTIALS: An Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree is a major in a career-technical area that takes two years for full-time students to complete.  Although the purpose of an AAS degree is to gain skills for employment, some transfer institutions may accept some or all of the courses from an AAS major. Students who complete this degree are eligible to take the national board exam which is required to become a licensed funeral director.

The college has entered into a regional reciprocity agreement through NC-SARA to accept out-of-state students (except for students residing in California) in our online programs and courses. Students may contact the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) at 804-225-2600 or communications@schev.edu for information related to state agency contacts for complaint resolution. General disclosure information about external certification or licensure requirements outside the state of Virginia may be found at www.brightpoint.edu/NC-SARA.   

PROGRAM OUTCOMES: By the completion of this program, students will be expected to demonstrate an intermediate level of competency in the following skills:

  1. Explain the importance of funeral service professionals in developing relationships/tips with the families and communities they serve.
  2. Identify standards of ethical conduct in funeral service practice.
  3. Interpret how federal, state, and local laws apply to funeral service in order to ensure compliance.
  4. Apply principles of public health and safety in the handling and preparation of human remains.
  5. Demonstrate technical skills in embalming and restorative art that are necessary for the preparation and handling of human remains.
  6. Demonstrate skills required for conducting arrangement conferences, visitations, services, and ceremonies.
  7. Describe the requirements and procedures for burial, cremation, and other accepted forms of final disposition of human remains.
  8. Describe methods to address the grief-related needs of the bereaved.
  9. Explain management skills associated with operating a funeral establishment.
  10. Demonstrate verbal and written communication skills and research skills needed for funeral service practice.

ACCREDITATION:  The Funeral Services Associate Degree Program is accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE), 992 Mantua Pike, Suite 108, Woodbury Heights, NJ 08097, 816-­233-­3747; http://www.abfse.org and is approved by the Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers.

UNIQUE ASPECTS OF THE FUNERAL SERVICES PROGRAM: The Funeral Services Program at Brightpoint has been in existence for over 45 years, and is one of two funeral services programs in Virginia. Because there are limited options for studying funeral services in the Commonwealth, the college’s program is designed to be accommodating for students who may be traveling for class and/or working while enrolled in the program. Traditional classroom funeral services courses at Brightpoint are offered in a one-day-a-week format, rather than the traditional two- or three-day-a-week format. This type of scheduling alleviates the need for students to attend classes on the Chester Campus more than three times per week. In addition, the program offers some evening courses and courses during the summer semester. The program has an on-site embalming lab that is used to train students through hands-on experiences.

Program Requirements and Special Conditions

1. Students must contact the Advising Center to be provisionally placed in the Funeral Services curriculum. In addition to completing a general application to Brightpoint, students must also submit an application to the Funeral Services Program during the application period. To be considered for full admission into the Program, students must:

  1. Be 18 years of age or older.
  2. Complete the following required courses with a grade of “C” or better: ACC 211  Principles of Accounting I, BUS 100  Introduction to Business, BUS 241  Business Law I, CHM 110  Survey of Chemistry, ENG 111  College Composition I, BIO 145  Basic Human A & P, FNS 110  Introduction to Funeral Service, PSY 116   Psychology of Death and Dying, REL 230   Religions of the World, SDV 100   College Success Skills, SOC 200   Principles of Sociology  

2. ​If there are a limited number of slots for full-admission into the A.A.S. in Funeral Services Program, students will be ranked by GPA and whether they are currently employed in a funeral home.

3. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA to continue in the Program. Students who fail to receive a minimum grade of “C” in any two courses with the prefix FNS will be removed from the Program. A minimum grade of “C” is required for all courses in the Funeral Services Program.

4. Once receiving full admission into the Funeral Services Program, full-time students will have 4 semesters (including summer) to complete the Program. Part-time students must completed the Program within 6 semesters (including summer). Exceptions may be made by the Funeral Services Dept. Chair on a case-by-case basis.

5. All Funeral Services courses taken previously at Brightpoint or any other ABFSE accredited program must have been completed within 5 years of applying for full admission to the Program.

Total Minimum Credits to Complete: 64


Pre-requisite and co-requisite requirements can be found in course details.

Students are strongly encouraged to complete any ENG, MTH, and SDV requirements first.

General education courses and prerequisite courses can be taken in any order.

Completion of required courses does not guarantee full admission to the Funeral Services Program (see admission requirements above). 

Students should regularly meet with their faculty advisor and check their degree progress by accessing advisement reports in the Student Information System (SIS) in the myBrightpoint portal or the Academic Planner in Navigate.

FNS 270 and FNS 290 can only be taken in the last semester. Students must have approval to take these courses from the Funeral Services Program department chair.

In order to receive the Funeral Service license in the Commonwealth of Virginia, an individual must:

  • Complete an accredited program of mortuary science or funeral services;
  • Pass the National Board Examination for funeral services as administered by the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining with a minimum score of 75 on the Arts Section and 75 on the Science Section. ;
  • Complete a 2000-hour internship with a licensed funeral services provider in the Commonwealth of Virginia as prescribed by the Regulations of the Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers; and
  • Pass the Virginia State Board Examination after completing the educational requirements, the internship, applying and being approved by the Board.

Program Information

National Board Examination pass rates, graduation rates, (beginning in 2015) and employment rates (beginning in 2015) for this and other ABFSE-accredited programs are available at www.abfse.org. To request a printed copy of this program’s pass rates and rates, go to Moyar Hall, Room 117D (Chester Campus) or by e-mail at rsikon@brightpoint.edu or by telephone at (804) 706-5066

Program Information - Brightpoint

Year Total Enrolled # of New
# of Grads Timely Grad* Graduation Rate ** Did Not Finish *** Overall % Employed Employed In FS
2022 81 40 29 28/29 100% 0 100% 100%
2021 76 39 37 37/37 100% 1 100% 95%
2020 44 27 17 17/17 100% 1 88% 88%

*Timely graduation = complete program in 1½ times designated program length.

**Graduation rate reflects cohort graduation rate (% of students from original cohort completing in the designated year)

***Left before completing the program; did not finish.

National Board Statistics - Brightpoint Community College

Single Year


School Pass Rate

National Pass Rate

Single Year


School Pass Rate

National Pass Rate

2022 Arts 25 52% 69% 2022 Sciences 22 50% 64%
2021 Arts 20 55% 68% 2021 Sciences 22 41% 57%
2020 Arts 26 77% 73% 2020 Sciences 21 33% 64%

School pass rate in based on 1st time test takers within one year of graduation.

Contact the program directly for information regarding success of Distance Education graduates.



Program Accredited by ABFSE:  Associate in Applied Science - Funeral Services

Initial Accreditation 1973/Last comprehensive review 2019/Next comprehensive review 2026

               Re-accreditation: October 2019 for period of 7 years.

Most recent Accreditation decision:  October 2019 for period of 7 years (from last scheduled review) with no stipulations. Important factors in the decision were the efficient response to site visit team comments, the strength of the program assessment plan and the level of institutional support for technology and distance education.

To request a printed copy of this program’s rates, visit Moyar Hall, Room 117 (Chester Campus).

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