Online Programs

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With a wealth of professional resources and facilities at your disposal PIMS offers you the space to master your passion. You’ll be amazed at what PIMS has to offer in our online degree programs.

Associate in Specialized Technology Degree (Funeral Service Arts and Sciences)

The Associate in Specialized Technology (AST) Degree was developed to recognize the efforts of many students who had already earned in excess of 30 semester (45 quarter) credits but who never earned a graduation award in the process. The AST Degree in Funeral Service Arts and Sciences requires the student to earn a minimum of 30 semester (45 quarter) credits from a regionally accredited college or university prior to matriculation into the three trimester sequence of courses that takes two years to complete online. Out of the 30 semester credits required, 21 must be subjects under Area I. The Associate in Specialized Technology Degree must meet the following distribution requirements for the 30 semester (45 quarter) credits prerequisite to study at PIMS:


21 semester (32 quarter) credits

  • Biology or other Life Sciences
  • Business Mathematics
  • Public Health
  • Allied Health Science
  • Chemistry
  • Behavioral Science
  • Zoology
  • Sociology
  • Business Administration
  • Environmental Health
  • Political Science
  • Religion
  • Other related areas

9 semester (14 quarter) credits

  • English Literature
  • College Mathematics
  • English Composition
  • Computer Science
  • Public Speaking
  • Education
  • History
  • Fine Arts
  • Foreign Languages
  • Humanities
  • Philosophy
  • Other related areas

Upon documenting that this distribution requirement is met, the student would then be able to pursue the balance of the AST Degree program (the final sixty semester credits at Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science) via PIMS’ core program.

Because colleges and universities title courses differently, it is not always easy to determine by the course title in which distribution category a course might apply. Therefore course outlines or syllabi may need to be analyzed to properly distribute the credits. This “other related area” category within each distribution area would enable PIMS to distribute the credits appropriately when such a doubt exists. The above subjects are only representative samples of the types.

PIMS Co-Requisite Requirements

To comply with academic requirements set by the American Board of Funeral Service Education and the Pennsylvania Department of Education; and to provide all PIMS Distance Education students with a complete accredited funeral service education, all students who matriculate into the PIMS Distance Education program must have earned or must obtain proper course content in the subject fields of Business Math and Accounting.

Learn more about PIMS Co-Requisite Requirements.

States Not Accepted for PIMS OnLine

The U.S. Department of Education has implemented a new mandate for all schools offering programs of study at-a-distance.  Effective July 1, 2011, PIMS Distance Education must seek the approval from all states where its students reside.  This is a very long and cumbersome process that is ongoing at Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science.

Learn more about States Not Accepted.

Clinical Requirements

PIMS Distance Education students, while working through the program, are required to complete a minimum of 30 clinical embalming assignments either at a local funeral home of their choice or on PIMS’ campus.

Learn more about the Clinical Requirements.

Technical Requirements

The student must have a computer available with an Internet browser capable of accessing the Internet, an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and an email account. All courses offered will require the student to access the Internet and to communicate with the faculty over the “net” through either discussion forums, chat rooms or email.

Learn more about the Technical Requirements.

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