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Introducing Californias Newest Funeral Service EducationProgram, Cañada College


Cañada College Funeral Service Education is California’s newest mortuary program, located in beautiful Redwood City, CA. They are honored to bring quality, accessible, and affordable education to each region of California. We interviewed Gina Hooper, Program Supervisor to get the scoop on this new mortuary program in town!


What are the standout features of your mortuary program that differentiate you from other programs? Our largest standout feature is we are an online program! Gone are the days of commuting, relocating or paying out of state fees for aspiring and current funeral service practitioners.

Darling & Fischer Family Mortuaries and Cañada College Funeral Service Education Informational Seminar

How do your classes contribute to a well-rounded education in the embalming trade or funeral industry? Our courses are offered online in an asynchronous manner. Students can either log into the weekly live lecture or watch the recording on their own schedule. Our Funeral Directing and Embalming courses require practicums where students must participate in various activities to build a well-rounded, entry level funeral service foundation. Practicums include: first calls, removals, funeral services, funeral arrangements and embalming.


How do your instructors stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field to ensure the relevance of the classes offered? Our instructors actively work in the funeral profession and, at minimum, are dually licensed funeral service practitioners. You can find our faculty and/or staff attending state and national association meetings, conferences and conventions. Although the state of California does not enforce continued education, our team members attend seminars and learning workshops to keep up on the latest techniques, developments and disposition methods.


Gina Hooper and Chase Mirassou of Cañada College Funeral Service Education; and Faith Haug of Arapahoe College of Mortuary Science, Colorado

Can you describe any current or past success stories or career outcomes associated with students who have completed these exclusive courses? We just launched our first course this Fall 2023 and have 23 students enrolled! Most of our students are current funeral service practitioners that have not had the opportunity to pursue their educational goals. Our students range from aspiring practitioners all the way to established practitioners and everything in-between! The students are a mix of transport specialist, arrangers, attendants, apprentices, supervisors, managers and owners. We are honored to work with our first cohort and help provide support for each one of their professional goals.


How does the curriculum at Canada College mortuary program align with industry standards and expectations? Our courses utilize the same curriculum provided by the American Board of Funeral Service Education just like American River and Cypress College to ensure consistency with the expectations of formalized education. In order to keep up with industry standards and flex to our developing profession, we are currently creating a library of supplemental material for students to utilize that will launch Spring 2024. The supplemental material is being guided by our Advisory Board of Funeral Service Practitioners to bring the reality of funeral service to our online students.

Ovsanna Zanturyan and Julie Del Toro of Cañada College Funeral Service Education Advisory Board Committee


Are the classes available online or in a flexible format for students with varying schedules? Our courses are offered online in an asynchronous manner. Students can either log into the weekly live lecture or watch the recording on their own schedule. We understand that our students have various obligations and there is a reason they are choosing an online learning experience opposed to in person. We do require our students to visit the beautiful campus for one week near the end of the program. The purpose of this visit is to participate, hands on, in our Restorative Art labs and learning workshops. In order to serve our aspiring and current practitioners, a flexible class format was the clear choice!

Are there any networking events or industry partnerships associated with these specialized classes? With Fall 2023 being our official launch of the course work, we are still finalizing networking events and industry partnerships. Besides the student’s performing practicums at a funeral home near them, we will be working regionally to coordinate field trips and learning opportunities. We are online and our students are statewide, because of this we will work with the California Funeral Directors Association to capitalize on networking opportunities with a multitude of associations.


Gina Hooper with Steve Crawford, CFDA Treasurer and Cañada College Funeral Service Education Advisory Board Member

Who is your faculty? Gina Hooper is our Program Supervisor. She is a licensed Funeral Director, Embalmer and Crematory Manager with over a decade of experience in the funeral profession. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Thanatology.


Chase Mirassou is our Faculty Member. He is a licensed Funeral Director, Embalmer and owns an embalming trade service. Chase possesses an MBA and has substantial experience teaching online at ABFSE accredited institutions. We are currently seeking out more faculty as our course list grows from semester to semester. If you are interested, please fill out an application at https://jobs.smccd.edu/postings/7111


How many students are currently enrolled?

23 students are currently enrolled


When will the program acquire ABFSE accreditation?


We are currently on track to receive accreditation in May 2026


How can we help support the program?

You can support the program by getting the word out that we are up and running! Visit our Funeral Service Program Interest form at https://forms.gle/cMhaWPYmpfS3dgXt9 to request information on: course enrollment, being an industry partner, volunteering, donations and anything you’re curious about!

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