After a series of career changes, Deb Tolboom, a 1996 graduate, now teaches at Mercer. She began the Funeral Service program after working as a registered nurse and a music director, and began teaching part-time while she worked at a local funeral home. She was surprised to learn how much she enjoyed it. "The teaching really caught me by surprise," she said. "I really enjoy interacting with the students."
Mercer has been attracting students interested in this specialized field from a wide geographical region - Bergen County to Cape May to Eastern Pennsylvania, since 1975. One of only 57 of its kind in the country, and the only one in New Jersey, the program is also one of the most successful. Over the years, graduates taking the national licensing exam for the first time have consistently achieved a pass rate of 90%. Only five schools nationwide show a higher pass rate, according to 2004 statistics.
Students in Mercer's program study a wide range of topics. In addition to classes specific to the field, such as embalming, pathology, restorative art, counseling, microbiology and funeral service, students take classes in business management, marketing and accounting, psychology, chemistry and anatomy. The program accepts body donations for teaching purposes.
addition to providing students with excellent preparation for the field,
Mercer offers a pleasant learning environment. According to Patrice
Juliani, a career-changer from the nursing profession who graduated
in 2002, "Mercer is the most user-friendly college I have ever
been to -- everybody from the people in the kitchen to the library."
Juliani, who now works per diem for a funeral home in Philadelphia,
plans to switch to full-time after she "retires" from nursing
in three years. "I loved being here at Mercer. This was the best."
Copyright © 2005, Mercer County Community College. All rights reserved.