Utah’s Newest Home For Learning About the Dead

Embalming fluid. Photo credit here.

Embalming fluid

In years past, if you lived in Utah, and wanted to get an associates degree in mortuary science, you were required to move out of state or attempt to get your training online.  Colleges in Utah simply did not offer this program; the lack of which created quite a hardship on many of the small, family-owned mortuaries in the state.

In many cases, prospective students would be forced to leave the family business for 18 months to two years in order to attend a mortuary science school in a neighboring state.  According to an article in the Desert News, this has created the problem of a smaller workforce and increased workload while the family member was away.

About the Program

The mortuary science program is a 66 credit hour course that is currently being offered at the South Jordan campus of Salt Lake Community College.  It is the first of its kind in the state of Utah.  The program is specifically designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for entry level jobs in the funeral home industry.

Students will receive instruction and training in labs within actual funeral homes involving the following areas:

  • Embalming
  • Restorative Art
  • Communication
  • On the Job Training
  • Basic Mathematic Skills

This course requires active participation in training, which prepares the students to enter their field with the life experience necessary for a successful transition, and is fully accredited by the American Board of Funeral Services Education.

How Long Does It Take?

Associates degrees offered by mortuary science schools such as SLCC typically require 2 years, or four semesters to complete.  The cost per semester, for residents, is approximately $1600 and does not include the cost of book and materials.

Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the job outlook for morticians is expected to grow by about 18% between 2010 and 2020.  That is a rate of growth that is basically on par with the average in other job markets.  The median rate of pay for a funeral director is currently around $54,000 per year, or about $26 per hour.  However, in the state of Utah, the current hourly rate is a little less than average at about $20.77 per hour.  Those who specialize in embalming and are willing to relocate may find that they have the best options in regard to their yearly salary or hourly rate.

A Great Place to Learn About the Dead

If you happen to live outside of the state of Utah, the college does accept out of state students. However, the tuition is slightly higher for out of state students.  Still, if you are looking for colleges in Utah that can teach you about dealing with the dead, then Salt Lake Community College might be the one for you.