Canadian College of Funeral Service offers practical and stimulating courses to help you gain a solid foundation as an aspiring funeral service professional.  

A description of each course will follow the list below. 

Courses include:

Level I

  • Embalming Theory 1 (ETS100)
  • Safety, Sanitation & Hygiene 1 (ETS112)
  • Embalming Practicum 1 (ETS115)
  • Dying, Death & Disposition 1 (FSS150)
  • Funeral Practices  (FSS151)
  • Funeral Law 1 (FSS152)
  • Funeral Service Ethics  (FSS153)
  • Communications 1 (FSS154)
  • Funeral Practicum 1 (FSS156)

Level II

  • Embalming Theory 2 (ETS200)
  • Anatomy & Physiology  (ETS210)
  • Safety, Sanitation & Hygiene 2 (ETS212)
  • Embalming Practicum 2 (ETS215)
  • Dying, Death & Disposition 2 (FSS250)
  • Funeral Law 2 (FSS252)
  • Business Management (FSS253)
  • Communications 2 (FSS254)
  • Funeral Practicum 2 (FSS256)

This is an introductory course in embalming technology and is intended to provide the student with the knowledge, attitude, and skills necessary to perform the procedures to prepare the deceased body for arterial embalming. The course covers a broad range of introductory topics related to death, the origin and history of embalming, post-mortem tissue conditions, pre-embalming evaluation, basic use and purpose of embalming chemicals as well as the proper care and operation of embalming equipment and surgical instruments.

This course is designed to provide the student with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to carry out the primary function of the profession – the protection of public health and the safety of the embalmer as well as all others who come in contact with the human body and the working environment of the funeral home. The course provides learning that covers the nature of various living microorganisms and pathogens that inhabit and multiply in a body following death. Students learn a variety of important sanitary techniques that must be practiced at all times when working in the embalming room. Methods of disease transmission, controlling the  growth of microbes, prevention of the spread of disease, and the locations and sources of infection are also studied.

This is a work experience course that provides the student with the opportunity to put into practice the knowledge and skills learned in other courses. The student will participate in a minimum of 25 embalming operations (a total of 50 is required during the two years)  and record these in their Student Log Book. Six Embalming Case Study Reports must be completed and submitted for embalming operations that have been documented in the Log Book. All work experience in this practicum must be done under the supervision of a licensed practitioner and a final evaluation report must be completed by the supervising sponsor.

This course is an introductory course in funeral service and covers the basic principles of grief and bereavement psychology. The course looks at the various “stage theories” of grief. Dealing with children and grief and various forms of complicated grief are also learning objectives of this course. Students learn the importance of and sensitivities involved in meeting and interacting with grieving people.

This course involves two areas of study. 1) Practices & Protocols  2) World Religions

Practices & Protocols This is an introductory course in funeral service and covers the basic principles of working in a funeral service environment. Emphasis is placed on the development of appropriate practice for the funeral service attendant, including general duty in the funeral firm, working on funeral services, making removals from the place of death, understanding company systems, working as a team member, and the appropriate handling of funeral related materials and documents.  This course also covers the proper protocols for taking first calls, carrying out funeral arrangements and conducting funeral services.  Topics in product knowledge and methods of disposition are also covered.  

World Religions This part of the Funeral Practices course takes an in-depth look at various world religions and worldviews. The student will learn about the funerary rites and customs of diverse religions and cultures, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Understanding different atheistic philosophies and worldviews is also part of the learning objectives of this course.


This course provides students with the opportunity to learn about the role that legislation plays in the regulation of funeral service firms and practitioners. The course examines the constitutional legislative authority that the provincial government exercises in the regulation of matters related to death, funeral practice, and the disposition of human bodies. The course will focus on specific Provincial Acts and Regulations pertinent to the funeral service profession. Students learn the content of each of these Acts and Regulations as well as the application of the legislation as it is interpreted in practice.

This course is an introduction to general ethical principles. It provides students with the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained from other courses in the program to scenarios that may be encountered in the field. Students learn the sound ethical principles that guide decision-making and how to apply them to hypothetical dilemmas. Students will understand the consequences of such decisions and the impact they have on individuals directly and indirectly involved. Not only will the student learn about making ethical decisions but they will understand the reasons for making them.  This course will also cover topics such as: conflicts of interest, whistle-blowing, preventative ethics, and obligations.  

This is a course designed to provide appropriate communication skills that are essential to effective funeral service. This includes interpersonal communication with grieving people in face-to-face encounters as well as the development of proper telephone etiquette when representing the funeral firm in this form of communication. One unit of study in this course focuses on the development of interpersonal relationships for the purpose of providing service to the funeral firm’s clientele. Topics that will be studied in this unit will include theories of personality, listening, objectivity, resolving conflict, service activation, and empathetic relationships.

The Funeral Service Practicum is the work experience component of funeral service and is documented in the Student Log Book. The requirement for this practicum is 900-1800 hours (depending on province) of recorded work experience (1800-3600 is required in two years – depending on province) and the completion of a final evaluation report by the sponsoring licensed funeral director. The majority of the work logged during this time must be directly related to the provision of funeral services to the firm’s clientele. It must include 25 arrangements and as broad a range of experience as possible in order to give the student opportunity to demonstrate skill in all aspects of funeral service that are appropriate for a beginning funeral service student.

This is an advanced course in embalming technology designed to extend the embalmer’s knowledge and skills with regard to the many special circumstances that are encountered.  Specialized techniques for dealing with cases of advanced decomposition, discolouration, and the post mortem conditions resulting from the pathological conditions causing death are also studied.  Students are expected to be able to identify the problems and concerns encountered with specific conditions and to recommend  appropriate embalming treatments and procedures to overcome them.  Restorative art and reconstruction techniques are also covered in this course.

This course supports and expands the knowledge required for proficient embalming practice.  A thorough understanding of the anatomy (structure) of the human body as well as the physiology (function) allows the embalmer to evaluate post mortem tissue conditions and make decisions regarding the embalming requirements of the body.  The course includes basic learning about the nature of cells, tissue, organs and the various functional systems of the body.  Primary attention will be given to the circulatory system and the major vessels used in embalming.  This course also includes the study of the integumentary system, muscular system, skeletal system, endocrine system, digestive system, respiratory system, urinary system, and the lymphatic system. 

This is a continuation of the Level I ETS112 course.  It extends the embalmer’s understanding of the requirements for sanitation and hygiene within the context of embalming and funeral practice in general.  This course continues the examination of the relationships and the effects between various microorganisms and the human body.  The course reviews and reinforces those sanitation and hygiene practices that are essential to the health and safety of the general public as well as the funeral service professional.  Students will learn about the body’s natural defence mechanisms and the factors associated with a pathogen’s ability to cause disease.  A portion of this course will also cover a wide variety of infectious diseases.  Students are expected to know the causative pathogen for a specific disease, the mode of disease transmission, the body system it affects, and the best methods to prevent the spread of the disease to protect the embalmer and the public.

This is the second work experience course in the program and is intended to extend the knowledge and skills that have been learned.  The student will participate in a minimum of 25 embalming operations (a total of 50 is required for the two year program) during the period of registration in Level II of the program.  These operations must be recorded in the Student Log Book.  Six Embalming Case Study Reports must be completed and submitted for embalming operations that are recorded in the Log Book.  It is expected that the student will function more independently during this time, and that the student will assume increasing amounts of responsibility for the operation and care of the preparation room facilities.  The supervising licensed embalmer must complete and submit a final evaluation report before credit will be awarded for the course.

This is a continuation of the Level I course FSS150.  The course focuses on the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for funeral directors and funeral service managers.  It combines topics related to dealing with grieving individuals and the understanding of business principles necessary for the operation of a viable and effective funeral service firm.  The understanding of the role of the funeral director as a funeral counsellor working with grieving people is extended through the study of work of leading experts in the field.  The course also focuses attention on the role of the funeral director in society.

This course is a continuation of the Level I course, FSS152.  Several additional pieces of legislation that relate directly and indirectly to funeral service are included in the learning outcomes/objectives for this course.  The course will cover the types of funding through social benefits and entitlements that is available for certain clients.  Additional topics will also be covered and includes: Wills and Estates, the Public Trustee, Liability, Unclaimed Bodies, Body Donation Program,  and provisions under the Public Health Act.

This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of managing a funeral business.  It extends material from FSS153 in the realm of business management.  The unique characteristics of a funeral business are examined. Students are introduced to business models and ownership; management, leadership and business styles; human resource issues; consumer behaviour; financial decisions, analysis and risk;  and basic accounting and marketing.  In order for employees to understand the decisions made by the owner and/or manager, it is important to recognize the day to day operation of a funeral service business and the responsibilities of management.  The course will also look at some of the various laws and departments that govern our profession.

This course is designed to further the student’s communication and interpersonal skills in those areas directly related to funeral directing and the management of funeral service firms.  A major research assignment on a relevant topic of the student’s choice is to be completed as part of this course.  The paper will be written and then presented to the class during the final seminar and will provide the student with an opportunity to demonstrate oral communication and presentation skills.  A proposal for the topic to be researched will be presented to the instructor early in the term for approval before the research and writing begins.   The student will be guided in how to prepare for the research and how to write and complete the paper. 

This advanced practicum is designed to give the student as much experience as possible in the field of funeral directing and management.  It is expected that by the end of the Level II program, the student will be able to function independently within the policies of the funeral firm following the principles of professional practice that have been learned in the program.  A total of 900-1800 hours (depending on province) of work experience (a total of 1800-3600 hours for the two levels – depending on province) is required to be documented in the Student Log Book.  A final evaluation report must be completed by the supervising licensed embalmer and funeral director before credit will be awarded for this practicum. 

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