Mortuary Science
Program Detail Become a Student

Contact the Program Director

Thomas R. Taggart

Residential Faculty - Mortuary Science


This program is part of the Applied Sciences and Technology Department.

Funeral service personnel are members of a human services profession, members of the community in which they serve, and participants in the relationship between bereaved families and those engaged in the funeral service profession. They are knowledgeable and compliant with regulatory guidelines in the geographic area where they practice and are sensitive to the responsibility for public health, safety, and welfare in caring for human remains.

The Mortuary Science program at MCC has the following objectives:

  • to enlarge the background and knowledge of students about the funeral service profession
  • to educate students in every phase of funeral service and to help enable them to develop proficiency and skills necessary for the profession
  • to educate students concerning the responsibilities of the funeral service profession to the community at large
  • to emphasize high standards of ethical conduct
  • to provide a curriculum at the post-secondary level of instruction
  • to encourage student and faculty research in the field of funeral service

The Associates of Applied Science (AAS) in Mortuary Science at MCC is accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE).

Important Notification

The Mortuary Science (MS) program of Mesa Community College will transition to Chandler-Gilbert Community College effective July 1, 2016.  The location, building, etc., of the MS program will remain on the Williams Campus – no changes.  This transition will be seamless and without any disruption of services.

Since 1995 the MS program has served the needs of students and the community in Maricopa County and the Southwestern United States. The MS program has had more than 250 graduates from Mesa Community College, many of whom are very active in the funeral industry today.  Dr. Thomas Taggart (program director) and Donna Backhaus have made substantial investments in enhancing and expanding the MS program and has transformed it into a nationally recognized program.​ 

If you have any questions on the transition, please contact Donna Backhaus at:  480-988-8503 or

Career Profile

Quick Stats

Example Titles
Funeral Director
Types of Employers
Funeral Homes

As the population grows older and passes away, the demand for funeral and memorial services will increase. In Arizona, the projected growth over the next five years is above average compared with the rest of the market. However, the number of small funeral homes is declining; they are being bought out by large corporations. In the past, each funeral home had one or more funeral directors. Now, a smaller number of funeral directors may work at all the funeral homes that are owned by a single corporation. Despite the slow growth in this occupation, jobs will open up as current funeral directors retire.

Advancement opportunities generally are best in larger funeral homes. Funeral directors may earn promotions to higher paying positions such as branch manager or general manager. Some directors eventually acquire enough money and experience to establish their own funeral home businesses.

Funeral Directors:

  • Organize and direct funeral services
  • May perform many tasks, from embalming to accounting
  • May work on an on-call basis
  • Work with customers during a difficult time
  • Usually train for three years
  • Need a license
  • May need to take continuing education courses
  • May be self-employed

Join the Program

If you are interested in the program, please visit our Mortuary Science program website for more detail including the program Application Packet.