ABFSE- American Board of Funeral Service Education Committee on Accreditation

American Board of Funeral Service Education Committee provides accreditation to colleges with programs on funeral service and mortuary services. Learn more on ABFSE.

TCM Staff

27th October 2020

Accreditation Board of Funeral Service Education Committee is a national level educational accreditation agency for funeral service and mortuary science education in institutions. The agency became autonomous in 1962 and began to be recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. 

Purpose of ABFSE accreditation

The purpose of ABFSE accreditation is given below.

  • To create and improve the standards of funeral service to protect the public interest.

  • To explain the characteristics of a funeral service program.

  • To help each institution in obtaining the standards for self-study, visitation, evaluation, and consultation.

  • Create a chance of inter-institutional relationships.

  • A list of accredited institutions is presented before the general public.

Phases in ABFSE accreditation

The three phases of ABFSE accreditation are given below.

  • A self-study is conducted to identify the standards that the institution is currently following. After performing the self-study, a self-study report is also presented before the Accreditation Committee.

  • Onsite Visit is the second phase of the accreditation process wherein the group assigned by the accreditation committee visits the institution that has requested for the accreditation.

  • Committee on Accreditation Action is responsible to create a thorough review of the self-study report and the suggestions from the Accreditation Committee.

Eligibility criteria for accreditation by the ABFSE

To be eligible for initial accreditation by the ABFSE, the applicants must -

  • Take up a course offering 60 semesters or 90 quarter credit hours that finally form a degree or diploma in Funeral Service Education.

  • Should have a license from an appropriate governmental agency to be awarded a degree or diploma.

  • Present a feasibility study by the Committee on accreditation of ABFSE.

  • Should be in line with the accreditation standards of ABFSE.

  • Achieve a candidacy status.

  • After the candidacy phase is completed, the steps that follow include - 

    • A formal request is made by the CEO of the institution to begin the accreditation process.

    • The application for initial accreditation is submitted.

    • Self-study and site-visits are made

    • A self-study report is submitted

    • During the visit to the on-site committee, a written report is submitted again.

    • The response is generated after the onsite-visit-report.

    • Committee action is made known to the institution.

    • The accreditation status of the institution is published by the accreditation commission.

Accreditation categories of ABFSE

There are three main accreditation categories based on the phase of accreditation.

1. Pre-accreditation categories

  • Candidacy – Candidacy is awarded if the Accreditation Committee has the potential to meet the standards of accreditation.

  • Candidacy Withdrawn – If the institution under candidacy status has failed to correct the disadvantages suggested by the candidacy committee, then the candidacy of the institution is said to be withdrawn.

  • Candidacy Withheld – This is given to a program that has failed to demonstrate the standards of accreditation or the eligibility requirements.

2. Awarding Accreditation – Accreditation is awarded in three steps including

  • Accreditation – If the program standards comply with the accreditation standards, then the accreditation is granted.

  • Probation – The program is not in compliance with the accreditation standards and the ability of the program to provide acceptable educational experiences for students is threatened.

  • Administrative Probationary Accreditation – Awarded for a duration of a maximum of 90 days when the institution or the program does not have compliance with the rules for maintenance of accreditation.

3. Denying Accreditation

  • Accreditation with-drawn – Accreditation can be withdrawn either voluntarily or involuntarily.

  • Accreditation with-held – Once accreditation is with-held, re-accreditation is possible only as a new applicant.

How to maintain an ABFSE accreditation?

There are certain guidelines to be met to maintain the ABFSE accreditation. 

The annual renewal of accreditation is obtained by submitting an annual report to the committee on accreditation for continuing their accreditation by the committee.

A failure to submit the report can result in the program being placed in the probationary period, by the Committee on Accreditation.

The Committee is provided with the licensing exam pass rate for the previous year, a complete record of student complaints, the summary of the financial aid reviews of the US Department of Education, federal student financial aid default rate, and, the student outcome examination rate for the previous year.

These records indicate the student performance and problem-avoidance and the redressal ability of the institution.

Colleges and Universities accredited by ABFSE

Some of the institutions that are accredited under the ABFSE are given below.

College/University accredited by ABFSE

Arkansas State University

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Ivy Tech Community College

Vincennes University

Des Moines Area Community College

Saint Louis University


The minimum requirement for admission into a funeral service education program is graduation from an accredited four-year high-school or its equivalent.

With funerals taking up newer trends these days, the funeral service-profession is gaining wider popularity than in yesteryears.

Considering the growth in opportunities in this field, funeral service can be chosen as a profitable career.

For that to happen, it is necessary to choose accredited programs and institutions serving this program. ABFSE is one such accrediting agency that ensures the quality of deliverance of the funeral service program.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1.When is an ABFSE accreditation withdrawn or withheld?

    When the program doesn't meet the standards of the accrediting committee, then the accreditation can be withdrawn or withheld.

  • 2.What is the duration of the American Board of Funeral Service Education Committee on Accreditation (ABFSE) accreditation of the program?

    The maximum duration of the accreditation is 7 years. The deficiencies of the program are corrected during the first year called the probationary period. Candidacy status is also granted for one year.

  • 3.What are the minimum requirements to get into the funeral service?

    Most states have different requirements to get into the funeral service. But usually, the basic requirement is the combination of the completion of post-secondary education, with the passage of the National Board of Examination and an internship for a minimum duration of two years.

  • 4.What are the common work-hours for a funeral director?

    Though the work-hours occur in shifts, a funeral director needs to expect work 24/7. Evening and weekend work-hours are most common.

  • 5.Which are the subjects included in a funeral service program?

    The basic categories of service in a funeral service program include science, business and funeral home management, social sciences, law, and ethics.

  • 6.Does ABFSE offer any financial aid?

    Yes, ABFSE offers financial aid for an amount worth between $500-$2,500. 

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