Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Mortuary Science program each benefit from a unique learning experience following the completion of their fourth semester on-campus courses. The funeral service co-op is a 6-week placement where students get to experience what it is like to work in a funeral home.
During this time, students are mentored in the funeral home as if they are an additional employee of the firm. The student spends approximately 30 hours per week being mentored in all areas of funeral service. Although they do not earn a wage during this time, students earn credit hours towards the completion of their degree. It’s a wonderful experience to be a part of as it shows students what to expect during a typical day as a fully licensed funeral director. Furthermore, it allows students the opportunity to network and meet other funeral professionals. This can be quite beneficial down the road when the student needs to complete their apprenticeship or is looking for new employment opportunities.
During their time at CCMS, our students complete a vigorous curriculum to prepare them for their career. Even with such a detailed learning experience, nothing can truly match what it feels like to work with real families experiencing a loss. Past students have relished the fact that they get to leave the safety of the nest and venture out into the real world of funeral service.
The co-op experience offers students the chance to learn so much more about funeral service than just how to carry out the day-to-day duties of a funeral director. Each year, several students express how they enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the business aspects of operating a funeral home. Many of our students dream of one day owning their own firm. Having the opportunity to learn what it takes to make a business successful is just another bonus of the funeral service co-op.
Advice from an Alumni
To help provide you with a more in-depth look at the co-op experience, we sat down with CCMS Alumna, Vanessa Leon-Verde to discuss her co-op experience:
CCMS: Were you nervous before beginning your co-op experience?
V LV: I was amazed at the realization that everything I learned was going to then be tested in the field and was excited to start showing my worth in the funeral service profession. I knew my time at CCMS had prepared me well and was I confident in putting to use everything I learned and bring some closure to questions that maybe I had not had solid answers or understandings of yet.
CCMS: What did you enjoy most about your co-op experience?
V LV: Your co-op allows you to be a student and gives you an opportunity to learn everything hands-on, without having to hustle around other students. This is learning time focused on you. I enjoyed this the most! The co-op is your experience.
CCMS: What was a typical day like during your co-op experience?
V LV: You structure your learning and your day-to-day. Yes, you follow your co-op mentor’s instructions, but you do so with the knowledge of “I can ask any question I want or need to, I can request to be put into this area and learn what I have an interest in.”
CCMS: Is there anything you wished you would have done differently during your co-op?
V LV: Ask questions every chance you get, they know you are a student! Again, THEY KNOW YOU ARE A STUDENT!! Had I made this realization sooner I would have made a list for myself and shared it during the co-op interview. It shows your confidence and preparedness as a learner, co-op student, and possibly as a future apprentice.
CCMS: What advice do you have for students about to begin co-op?
V LV: Request, what you want to learn that day, the following day, or even the following week. Show your interest and your worth. Your work ethic during co-op can be a friend or foe to your future as an apprentice and as a future fellow in death care.