Associate of Applied Science in Funeral Service: Thanatochemistry

posted October 10th, 2011 by admin

As part of an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Funeral Service, individuals will take many courses to become a funeral director of an embalmer. An A.A.S. degree can be earned on-campus or via web-based instruction, also called on line or eLearning. Once students have earned a degree in funeral service, they possess the skills and training necessary to seek employment as an embalmer or a funeral director. An embalmer disinfects, preserves and or restores the human body for burial or other final dispositions. A funeral director conducts various types of funeral service ceremonies, conducts funeral arrangement conferences with families, completes necessary funeral home paperwork and understands proper workplace safety guidelines for funeral service personnel.


In order to function as an embalmer, students must understand the science involved in preserving and restoring the human body. Taking thanatochemistry is essential because it introduces the fundamental concepts of atomic structure, chemical equations, chemistry, valence and the periodic table. The course also introduces students to organic chemistry and biochemistry. Lastly, students are taught the types of solutions used and learn how the science of thanatochemistry is used in the embalming process.

Apprenticeship, internship and provisional licensee are other options for graduates seeking entry-level employment in places like cemeteries, chemical embalming companies and funeral homes. Graduates may also find entry-level work in embalming services, pre-need sales and affiliate funeral service merchandise.


After completing a general education core, specialized and related courses, students will earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Funeral Service. Obtaining the credentials for an embalmer and a funeral director, from the appropriate licensing agencies, require graduates to take and pass the National Board Examination.

Preparing for a post-secondary education requires filing paper work timely and accurately. Potential students should discuss any concerns or questions with admissions and financial aid personnel. These professionals are available to assist in completing the admissions process.

Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service ·