Second-Career Scholarship

The Educational Trust is proud to announce Batesville Casket Company as the official 2018 sponsor of the Second-Career Scholarship Program.

Our Second-Career Scholarship Program is designed exclusively for individuals who aspire to work as a funeral director as a second career. Each scholarship is worth $1,500, with up to four scholarships awarded each year—two in late June and two in late December. Applications are reviewed and voted on by the Educational Trust Board.

Our Latest Recipients, as of January 11, 2018

Michael Danis and Ryan Essington

Michael Danis

Michael Danis

Michael Danis, enrolled in the Funeral Service Program at Ogeechee Technical College, will graduate in August 2018. Currently employed at Gamble Funeral Service in Savannah, GA, he plans to continue his employment there after graduation. Danis comes to the funeral service profession after working 20 years in the hospitality industry.

“Ed Gamble of Gamble Funeral Service has become a friend and mentor to me,” said Danis. “His high standards, values and attention to detail have encouraged me to be the best I can be. This is one reason I would always prefer to work with an independent funeral home. I feel an independent firm provides the best personal care that each family deserves.”

Ryan Essington

Ryan Essington

Ryan Essington, a full-time student at the Worsham College of Mortuary Science, expects to graduate in March 2018. Essington spent nearly 10 years working professionally in Christian ministry and currently works as a Student Funeral Assistant at Modell Funeral Home in Darien, IL.

“I selected funeral service as my career because I know that it will make an impact in the lives of people,” said Essington. “While some may consider life in funeral service somewhat dark and morbid, I believe it is a profession that celebrates the lives of people, honoring their dignity and memory even after death and offering hope to the living.”

Funded by Donations

These scholarships are funded by donations and mean a lot to the students. This unsolicited thank you note shows how we are making the difference every year, thanks to our generous gifters: “Thank you again for all you have done for me. Personally, the experience in receiving this award has been more than uplifting, and I will never forget your kindness in sharing it with all involved in the funeral industry. It is so appreciated! You have done an amazing thing for me in going forward with my career.”


Any individual currently enrolled full-time in a mortuary science program at an accredited school in North America who is not related to an owner of a funeral firm currently in operation is eligible to apply. Previous full-time working experience in an unrelated field is required, along with details on tuition owed and a demonstration of genuine financial need.

How to Apply

Applicants must submit a completed application on or before December 1 or May 30 each year.

Applicants may apply on-line, via email or by mailing an application. A two-page professional application essay along with the required documentation is required for all applications

Application Essay

The application essay and required documentation must address the following:

  1. School Details. Which accredited school are you attending and when is your anticipated graduation date? Attach an official Transcript or original signed letter from the Program Director or Registrar verifying your current full-time enrollment in the Mortuary Science program, your courses and your cumulative GPA.
  2. Tuition Costs. Please include proof of your total tuition costs, specific details on what you owe and your financial need for the scholarship. Are you receiving any other financial assistance? If so, please fully explain.
  3. Funeral Home Involvement. Are you currently employed or involved in any way with an independently owned funeral home? Please share with us the name of the firm, point of contact details including name, phone and email, the full extent of your involvement and whether you expect it to continue upon completing school.
  4. Previous Career. What specifically was your previous career and over what timeframe did you work in it? Tell us about your desire to work in independent funeral service as a new career choice. What led you to make this switch?
  5. Future Plans. What are your future aspirations within independent funeral service?
  6. Letters of Recommendation. Include at least two (2) letters of recommendation. One from a faculty member of the mortuary science program and the other from an owner of an independent funeral home or current or previous employer.

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Download the Second-Career Scholarship Application and send it, along with your documentation by email or U.S. Mail.

Download the Application