Southwest Tennessee Community College announces ABFSE accreditation for Funeral Service Education program
Memphis, Tenn. (August 25, 2021) – Southwest Tennessee Community College has received official notification from the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) that the College’s Funeral Service Education program that was launched in January 2019 and conferred the Associate of Applied Science in Funeral Service Education degree to its first 12 graduates this past May has received full accreditation through 2024. This designation means this year’s graduates and future graduates of the program are eligible to take the National Board Exam to become licensed as a funeral service director and embalmer. Graduates also must complete an apprenticeship and the State of Tennessee funeral service law exam.
“This accreditation is a fantastic stamp of approval of this much-needed program in West Tennessee,” President Tracy D. Hall. “Our faculty and staff worked exceptionally hard to achieve this prestigious designation so that our students can pursue their dreams right here in Memphis, with the lowest tuition cost. I am so proud and grateful we are able to meet this critical education and workforce need in our community.”
Southwest is the only funeral service education program in West Tennessee and the only publicly funded program in Tennessee where students can attend tuition-free through Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect. When the FSE opened its doors at the college’s Whitehaven Center nearly 40 students signed up to take courses at the center that is home to the program’s state-of-the-art classrooms and embalming laboratory. Southwest officials attribute the outstanding response to the demand and prior difficulty in pursuing a funeral service education credential. “Before Southwest launched its FSE program, Memphis residents who desired to become funeral service professionals had to drive to middle Tennessee or other states to pursue their studies,” Southwest Vice President for Academic Affairs Kendricks Hooker said. “Now, they can study in the comfort and convenience of their community, some even in their own neighborhood,” Hooker added. “The Whitehaven community is an excellent location for this program. It’s a prosperous neighborhood that provides an outstanding environment and access to quality education for Mid-South residents and the community truly embraces Southwest’s presence.”
Crevon Palmer, a member of the first cohort to graduate from the program, said she is thrilled at the news of the accreditation. “This means the world to me,” said Palmer. “It proves that the program and students like me have met the educational requirements and attained the knowledge and skills to be successful in the funeral industry.”
The FSE program consists of 63 semester hours of coursework encompassing all aspects of the funeral business—from funeral home management to funeral service law and counseling to restorative arts.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges approved the program designed to educate students on the best practices of the industry. ABFSE serves as the national accreditation agency for college and university programs in Funeral Service and Mortuary Science Education and is recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. The Committee on Accreditation is composed of funeral service faculty, practitioners and members of the public who evaluate and certifies programs for accreditation.