Explore the art of mortuary science

We provide the tools, you provide the passion.


Online or on-campus, our programs are designed to provide students an educational experience that gives them the leverage they need to be successful within the funeral industry. 


Our goal is to ensure your time at PIMS is transformational, whether online or offline.

We understand that following an in-person program is not always an option, which is why we offer an online curriculum that still provides you with the tools you need to follow this path. The following is what you can expect with our programs: 


  • Hours on campus are weekdays 7:30am – 3:50pm, 2-3 days a week
  • Campus programs range from 1 year to 2 years & 8 months depending on the number of credits needed
  • On-site embalming facility
  • Relationships with numerous funeral homes in the area for practical experience
  • Small campus in an urban setting with numerous housing options within driving distance


  •  Asynchronous learning, the online campus is available day or night
  • Online programs are two years
  • Clinical and practical requirements can be fulfilled at an approved funeral home
  • Experienced online instructors

Credits may need to be obtained prior to program start if Associate level from PIMS is required for your state. The subject list for those credits needed are below (Area I & Area II).

IF Preliminary Credits are needed for pims, use this list as a guide:



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
  • 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
  • Religion
  • 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 and to provide all PIMS online students with a complete accredited funeral service education, all students who matriculate into the PIMS online  program should obtain proper course content in the subject of Business Math which will be transferred in. An Accounting course can be taken online, transferred in pending approval, or taken elsewhere while in the program.

PIMS Co-Requisite Requirements


To comply with academic requirements and to provide all PIMS online students with a complete accredited funeral service education, all students who matriculate into the PIMS online  program should obtain proper course content in the subject of Business Math which will be transferred in. An Accounting course can be taken online, transferred in pending approval, or taken elsewhere while in the program.

Technical Requirements


We understand our students are on-the-go and may need to fit their schooling in at places other than home or campus.

Devices typically not compatible with PIMS’ learning management system:

• Any Chromebook made by any manufacturer (Google, Samsung, Lenovo, etc.)
• Any iPad made by Apple
• Any Tab (tablet) made by Samsung/Android
• Any Tab (tablet) made by Lenovo
• Any Slate made by Google
• Any Surface made by Microsoft
• Any Fire made by Amazon
• Any MediaPad made by Huawei
• Any Iconia made by Acer
• Any Chuwi made by Chuwi
• Any number of other tablet-like devices.


Devices that are compatible with the PIMS’ learning management system:

• Any Laptop made by virtually every manufacturer
• Any Desktop made by virtually every manufacturer


What does a Funeral Director do and how do I know this is the career for me?

A funeral director dévotes their time and energy in service to others.  A part of a typical day is spent with the client families he or she is assisting; making funeral arrangements, supervising the visitations and funerals, and completing follow-up procedures after the funeral.  A funeral director also spends a part of the day updating the computer databases, completing county, state, and federal documents associated with the deceased and client families, and assisting the company in its’ business ventures.  And finally, he or she will spend a part of the day in preparing the deceased by embalming, applying cosmetics, dressing, casketing, or cremating those trusted to their care.

This career is certainly not for everyone.  It is less of an occupation and more like a vocation.  One must be dedicated to serving others in what may be the worst day of their lives.  It requires a high level of compassion and empathy, and, at the same time, extreme attention to detail and strong leadership.  A prospective student must spend considerable time reflecting on whether this is the right career choice.  However, the rewards of the job far outweigh the burdens associated with it. We suggest that prospective students job shadow a funeral director or secure a part-time job in a funeral home to learn more about the industry.             


Do you accept transfer of credit?

At PIMS, students have the option to receive transfer credit for some courses in the core mortuary science program via a test out process. A student that has a similar course must provide a transcript from an accredited institution which shows they earned a C or better AND the credit amount earned at least equals the PIMS course credit amount. In addition, a grade of 85% or higher must be earned on the test out exam.

Non-core courses are eliminated through earning Area I and Area II course credits.

These requirements are in place to ensure that the student maintains the required knowledge to pass both the PIMS Comprehensive Examination and the National Board Examination.


Are the courses offered online any different than those offered at the PIMS campus?

PIMS has been offering this alternative means of obtaining a professional education leading to either a diploma or associate degree since 2001. The courses offered via PIMS’ online campus are the same courses that are offered in-residence. The only difference is the method of delivery. While the course content is the same, there are differences in the term lengths. The campus-based programs are offered over a 15 week trimester. The courses offered via PIMS online are 8 week terms.


Are the courses offered at PIMS accredited?

All programs offered and Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, Inc. are accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE), 992 Mantua Pike, Suite 108, Woodbury Heights, NJ 08097, (816) 233-3747 Web: Web:

What credentials will I leave with at the end of the program?

Every state has specific requirements for licensure in Funeral Directoring and or Embalming.  Some states require a diploma, some require an associates degree, and some even require a bachelors degree.  When a student applies to the program, they will indicate the state in which they want to be licensed.  We will then advise the student on the course of study to meet the credentials required by that state.  Upon graduation and after the student has successfully completed the National Board Exam, (and for certain states, additional college credits may be required) all of the credentials will have been met to be licensed at the state level as a funeral director and/or embalmer.

What type of student should entertain the possibilities of studying online with as opposed to the traditional campus educational program?

The online offering of courses is designed for the student who through either personal or professional responsibilities cannot relocate to a campus-based program of instruction. Typically, students come from all walks of life and have a desire to enter funeral service. However, because of family commitments or ongoing job responsibilities they cannot attend classes at a designated time and place.

The online courses will be available on a 24×7 basis for registered students during the term of the course offering. Students will have the opportunity to study at a time more convenient to their own lifestyle. However, assignments will be made with due dates, as with campus instruction. Students will be expected to complete assignments and meet all other course requirements when due.

The student has the flexibility to study and meet course assignments around other family and personal responsibilities. Students are expected log on daily to participate in a text-based discussion on the course material which, in most cases, will be able to be done at a time convenient to the student.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a online alternative?

The advantages of the online modality for educational delivery at PIMS are obvious:

  • The student need not leave home in order to obtain the education necessary for career objectives.
  • Current jobs and family obligations need not be terminated or interrupted as the student pursues educational goals.
  • The student is able to save considerable expenses related to relocation to an on-campus setting.

The disadvantages of online may not be so obvious:

  • While it may sound “convenient” to stay at home to pursue one’s educational objectives, online alternatives are not suited for everyone.
  • Socialization and direct face-to-face interaction with other students and faculty will be noticeably absent.
  • The student that pursues a distance education alternative will note that the courses are offered in an accelerated time-line. There are 8 week terms, as opposed to typical 15 week terms on-campus. Accelerated terms will require a dedicated commitment.
  • There are technology requirements for all students taking any courses but especially applies to those that primarily use technology.
  • A relationship with a funeral home for clinical and practical experience will be necessary.
What is the application process like?

It is necessary for the student to fill out the PIMS online application that can be found here on our website.  Accompanying this application, there is a checklist of items that are required to be submitted after the application for evaluation.  Once all of these items are collected, the application will be forwarded to the Admissions Committee.         

Are there any other special requirements for admission to PIMS online?

Students must submit the application for admission as required of its campus-based students. One of the most important considerations regarding admission is that each state determines the educational requirements for its funeral directors and embalmers. The Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science will be happy to assist students with questions regarding any particular state’s requirements for licensure.

Students must meet the requirements of the various regulatory agencies for funeral service in the state of intended licensure. Advisory services are available at Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science to assist the student in this regard.

What kind of laboratories are required?

The restorative art laboratory and clinical embalming laboratories are a necessary and integral part of funeral service education. The restorative art laboratory will require the student to be on campus at the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science for a period generally not to exceed 3 class days. The out-of-pocket expenses associated with the visit are the responsibility of the student.

The clinical embalming laboratory is administered in conjunction with PIMS preceptor partnerships at a funeral home convenient to the student. It will be the responsibility of the student to identify possible preceptors acceptable to Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, Inc. with which the Institute will partner. Participation agreements will be engaged and responsibilities and requirements of both the student and preceptor will be identified and delineated.

Will PIMS help me to find an internship/job when I graduate?

PIMS has a referral service in place which is available at no charge to either graduate or employer.  Job opportunities brought to the attention of PIMS are referred to interested students and graduates, and are posted on campus and within the student and alumni online portals.


How do I schedule my courses?

Courses are offered in a particular sequence. During enrollment you are provided your course list in the order in most cases they need to be taken.

  • Your courses are auto scheduled for you by the Registrar during your course breaks
  • You do not need to register for courses, we take care of it for you
  • You can follow provided course schedule for the entirety of your program

Any other request for course registration which requires a departure from the normal sequence will be determined solely on a case-by-case basis and will require administrative approval.

What is the difference between the Diploma program and the Associate in Specialized Technology Degree program?

The AST Degree requires the student have earned at least 30 semester credits within 2 distribution areas prior to application to Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. The Diploma does not require any prior college experience but it is accepted in only a limited amount of states.

What are the requirements to graduate from PIMS?

In order to qualify for graduation, the student must meet the following requirements:

  • Satisfactory completion of the prescribed program (Diploma, AST Degree or ASB Degree) with a Grade Point Average of not less than that equivalent to a “C,” with no final grade of “F” in any
  • Practical requirements, including clinical embalming, funeral service practicum, and restorative art must be completed and approved by the
  • Earn a passing grade on the PIMS Comprehensive
  • Complete freedom from all indebtedness to the
  • Satisfactory compliance with regard to financial aid requisites (if applicable)



How do I obtain books and supplies that may be required for the course?

Books that are used for the courses are posted on the PIMS website ( along with a link to a new virtual bookstore (PIMSbooks). However, students may purchase books from any vendor of their choice. It is advisable that the student obtain books far enough in advance of the term start date to allow for sufficient delivery time.

The supplies used for both the Restorative Are Laboratory and the Embalming Laboratory will be provided to students when they visit the Institute for these lab experiences.

I heard that PIMS online has limited seats available for online studies. Is this true?

Yes. Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science was a pioneer in online education for funeral service and with the popularity of online learning we receive more applicantions than we can accept per start period.  New cohorts are limited to less than 30 seats to ensure a quality experience and more time with instructors. A waitlist will be applied when needed.

Ready to start your next journey with us?

Ready to start your next journey with us?