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.

PIMS has chosen not to offer these content areas as an integral part of our online course offerings but to permit students to earn academic credit for the course content at a college or university of their choice.

Below is information on the content that approved courses must contain and institutions where such courses may be obtained if necessary.

Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science (PIMS) offers a 3 semester credit course in Business Math and a 3 semester credit course in Financial Accounting in the core (1 year) resident program. The course descriptions are presented below.


3 credits; 3 hours lecture-discussion per week. An introduction to the basic principles of accounting theory. This course covers financial statements, worksheets, journalizing, receivables, payables, deferrals, and accruals. Inventory costing models, depreciation models, payroll accounting and financial statement analysis are included. Applications to funeral home operations are made throughout the course.

This course is a hybrid course containing content normally found in Financial Accounting I and Financial Accounting II in many colleges. If a college’s course (3 semester credit minimum) outline contains the content taught in the course above at PIMS, then approval for equivalency is granted. If areas of content are missing from a course taken, then approval cannot be granted without the missing content needing to be taken elsewhere and reflected on a college or university certified grade transcript. If a student presents a certified transcript which reflects Financial Accounting I and II or Financial Accounting and Managerial Accounting, then approval is normally granted without additional assessment.


3 credits; 3 hours lecture/discussion per week. This course examines basic mathematic principles and skills, and explores foundations of Microsoft Office tools. The mathematics principles learned in this class will not only provide a basis for math skills needed in future educational endeavors, but they will be imperative to the students’ careers in funeral service. Additionally, the Microsoft Office component of this class will focus on Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and will provide real-life application of these tools.

A decision was made at the beginning of its Distance Education (DE) program not to offer these two content areas within this DE alternative program. It will be the student’s responsibility to take equivalent course content at a college or university of their choice. In order to complete the program, the student must meet and earn an equivalent number of semester credits with course content that is parallel to that which is offered on PIMS’ campus.

These credits must be earned before graduating from the program at PIMS. If a student thinks that they may have already earned these course content requirements from a previous college experience, they must

  • have a certified grade transcript sent to PIMS which would present the course title and number of credits earned from the respective college or university; and
  • send or email a copy of the detailed course content contained in the course(s) to be reviewed for approval. This detail is usually presented with a course syllabus. Course syllabi which are simply course policies do not provide any meaningful information from which an assessment may be made.

(Note: It is rare that course descriptions which are found in college catalogs are of sufficient detail to provide thorough analysis to be done).

If the student has not previously taken course content in the above, students must seek pre-approval of the course(s). If the student were not to seek pre-approval, s/he may waste valuable time and financial resources taking a course which may not be acceptable as the co-requisite requirement(s). Assessment and approval of the courses shall be done with the presentation of detailed course content outlines. Without sufficient detail, complete assessment cannot be accomplished.


It is the goal of PIMS to provide for positive academic outcomes. To not be careful about approvals for course content that is taught elsewhere would be inappropriate, irresponsible, and disingenuous. The PIMS Comprehensive Examination and the National Board Examination both contain areas of accounting and business math among their questions. If a student is deficient with respect to course content taken elsewhere and to which accountability is required via the PIMS Comprehensive Examination and the National Board Examination, the objective would be compromised.

Students are required to pass the PIMS Comprehensive Examination and to take the National Board Examination for graduation.