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Will help meet need for licensed professionals in the region  



HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – (July  18, 2007) What do classes in Psychology of Death and Dying, Restorative Art, Principles of Accounting, Survey of Chemistry, and Funeral Service Law have in common?


At Tidewater Community College those courses and more in a new degree program prepare professionals for leadership in the funeral services industry. Graduates of TCC’s funeral service program will leave with the tools necessary for successful careers as funeral service professionals.  


“With only one other program in the state and one near D.C., TCC’s new program will address our region’s need for funeral home professionals,” says Michael Summers, vice president for academic and student affairs. Hampton Roads economic development data show projected openings for funeral service workers up 22 percent through 2011, with 82 positions over the next five years. In 2006, 1,507 openings were reported statewide with a 24 percent growth projected for 2011.


The Hampton Roads’ funeral services industry strongly supports the program at TCC, as does the Virginia Board of Funeral Directors.


Elizabeth Young, executive director, Virginia Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers, welcomes TCC’s program, saying, “This provides a low-cost, accredited opportunity for citizens of the Commonwealth to pursue the field of funeral service.” Noting an increase in funeral service businesses and a critical shortage of licensees to run them, she adds, “The General Assembly enacted a waiver provision in 1996 to allow two establishments to share a licensed manager – that problem has grown, with 30 funeral businesses now using the waiver. We’re looking forward to TCC’s program helping to ease this problem.”


The program will stay abreast of the industry through an advisory group of relevant professionals and program head Frank Walton, who owns and operates a funeral home, reports Michelle Woodhouse, dean of social sciences and public services who oversees the program. Graduates will have other career opportunities, she notes, citing positions in organ procurement agencies – tissue recovery technicians, lab coordinators, transplant coordinators, lab quality control coordinators – in medical examiner offices and labs in general.


TCC located the funeral service program at its Virginia Beach Campus, a part of the academic village at Princess Anne Commons. The program’s merchandising lab and classrooms are in a newly prepared space with the latest in education and industry equipment. Students will perform clinicals at a local funeral home.


Accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education, the program requires students to complete the 68 credit-hour curriculum and take the Funeral Service National Board Exam before they can graduate. TCC assists students with completing state requirements, including a 3,000-hour apprenticeship. For program information, click to go directly to the funeral services page.




Laurie White
Media Relations

Tidewater Community College - the largest provider of higher education and Workforce Solutions services in Hampton Roads - enrolls over 38,000 students annually, the second largest undergraduate student body in Virginia. The 35th largest community college in the nation, TCC is among the 20 fastest-growing large two-year institutions in the United States. Founded in 1968 as a part of the Virginia Community College System, the college serves the South Hampton Roads region with campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach as well as the TCC Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center in the theater district in downtown Norfolk, the Visual Arts Center in Olde Towne Portsmouth and a regional Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach. Forty-six percent of the region’s residents attending a college or university in Virginia last fall were enrolled at TCC. For more information, visit