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Milwaukee Area Technical College.

SINCE ITS FOUNDING IN 1912, MILWAUKEE AREA TECHNICAL COLLEGE (MATC) has grown to become one of the Midwest's largest community-based technical colleges. Through its four campuses--Downtown Milwaukee, Mequon, Oak Creek and West Allis--MATC serves approximately 57,000 students each year, offering 200 degree, diploma, certificate and apprentice programs.

Among the offerings at MATC is an associate degree program in funeral service, which prepares students to become licensed funeral directors and embalmers The two-year program is accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) and is recognized by the Wisconsin Funeral Directors Examining Board.

The technical studies courses in the program include introduction to funeral service, funeral service law, funeral service practices, embalming, pathology, funeral service management, restorative art, psychology of funeral service, financial accounting and business law. There are also general studies requirements in economics, communication skills, general anatomy and physiology, microbiology, psychology of human relations and contemporary American society.

Six credits are needed in electives, and among the suggested courses are business organization and management, forensic science, medical terminology, and death and dying. Also among the 69 required credits is a three-credit funeral service internship in management/embalming. The one-year apprenticeship must be served before or after the funeral service program. Students are required to take the National Board Examination of the Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards during their internship as a prerequisite to graduation. Upon graduation, students are eligible to take the State of Wisconsin Funeral Directors Examination.


The MATC funeral service program is taught at the West Allis campus in its new laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment. There the students learn how to prepare bodies for viewing, including case analysis, embalming, cosmetizing and restorations. They will also be prepared to comply with OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standards. Since this is, as ABFSE notes, a human service profession, the students learn about the burial rituals of various religions and fraternal organizations, how to coordinate people and activities, and how to anticipate and meet the needs of families and friends who are in mourning.

Funeral service is a challenging but rewarding profession for the right individuals. According to the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards, this is a career for those who are interested in helping the bereaved through difficult times, interested in the human aspect of the biological sciences care about their communities and the people who live there, and who want to work in a professional and ethical business environment.

One graduate of the MATC program explains that what makes funeral service so worthwhile is helping people at a time when they need it most, and that's why she says, "This is such a rewarding job."

Death is something most of us don't like: to think about, but when we lose a loved one, having the services of a caring professional with training such as that provided by MATC can make a big difference.

For more information about Milwaukee Area Technical College and its funeral service program, visit
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Geographic Code:1U3WI
Date:Nov 1, 2010
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