Online Theology Degrees for 2017
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Online theology programs give students an opportunity to expand their religious knowledge without disrupting career advancement, family time, or busy schedules. Although achieving an online degree in theology can be spiritually beneficial and educational, it is not exclusively for religious students. Theology degrees give students a deeper understanding of religion through study and not necessarily through practice. The following guide provides a detailed look at what kinds of online theology degrees are available and highlights some of the top online colleges for theology education.
Overview of the Theology Field
The two most common career paths for theology graduates are educators and religious leaders. Educators of religion usually teach in a postsecondary capacity. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), postsecondary teaching positions will increase 19 percent between 2012 and 2022, faster than the average 11 percent of all other occupations. Religious leaders, from Judaism and Christianity to Buddhism and Islam, have the opportunity to serve as church workers in an established religion, as well as start a new organization. The BLS shows that religious organizational leaders earn an average annual salary of $40,650.
Who Chooses an Online Theology Degree?
How does one know if a theology degree is the right move for advancing his or her career? Theology majors can come from every industry and faith and generally have a strong interest in religion, religious history, service, and leadership. Below are three examples of individuals who may benefit from earning a theology degree.
Clark had spent time abroad on a service mission with his church and had always been strongly focused on helping people. He loved his church’s message and felt there was something more he could be doing to teach people and show charity. He decided that completing an online bachelor’s degree in Biblical and Educational Studies would help him achieve the spiritual connections he was looking for and equip him with the knowledge and skills he needed to further support his church. Attending online classes gave him the freedom to continue travelling for missions.
The Career Changer
Jesse showed promise as the number one statewide salesman at his company and was promoted to be manager quickly due to his successful sales numbers. But he knew that his long-term career goal was to become a pastor and manage people in a different setting. He knew that his innate charisma and leadership skills combined with a religious education via an online master’s program would help him see growth and conversion in his future congregation. He completed the degree in two and-a-half years and started a successful new church.
Allison had studied religious history in both her undergraduate and master’s program. She worked at a university as a professor of theology, but had yet to establish herself as a department authority. She attained an Educational Doctoral Degree of Theology over two years, all while maintaining her normal teaching schedule. Once she graduated, she became a published author and was also made Department Chair.
Types of Online Theology Degrees
Because of the large variety of online programs in theology, it is important that students understand what is available before enrolling. Additionally, knowing the career path one wants to take will help him or her determine what type of degree is needed. Degrees can be specialized to focus on a specific religion, ministry, and more. Read on for more information about the different types of online theology degrees.
Some common theology and religion degrees include:
- Associate’s Degree in Religion
- Associate’s Degree in Ministry
- Bachelor’s Degree in Religion
- Bachelor’s Degree in Christian and Bible Studies
- Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry and Leadership
- Master’s Degree in Religion and Divinity
- Master’s Degree in Christian and Bible Studies
- Master’s Degree in Ministry and Leadership
- Master’s Degree in Theology
- Doctoral Degree in Theology
Two-Year Online Degrees
A two-year online associate degree in theology will give the student a broad overview of theology topics and give the student a strong, basic foundation for continuing on to a bachelor’s program. Students who choose not to pursue education beyond an associate degree may be qualified for job opportunities such as church planter (a person who establishes new congregations), missionary, or associate pastor in some denominations. While an this degree will teach students some specialized skills, it is recommended that students also attain a bachelor’s degree for a deeper knowledge and skill set and, thus, more potential job opportunities.
Online curriculum includes approximately 60 credits of general education classes and major classes. General education courses include mathematics, science, English, and history. Major courses will differ between schools and programs, but will often include classes such as Study of The Old Testament/New Testament, General Theology, and Religious Fundamentals. Some programs will also require students to take foreign language courses such as Greek, Hebrew, Arabic and/or Aramaic in order to better understand the roots and original contexts of the holy books.
To be accepted into an online associate degree program, students must have a high school diploma or GED.