For those who have a calling to minister to their community or gain a deeper understanding of religious philosophy, an online degree in Theology can help them achieve their life-long goals. Through reputable online universities, students can pursue a variety of spiritual and biblical degree programs that can teach the vital skills and knowledge needed to pursue a fulfilling career based in the diverse field of Theology.
Whether you are interested in learning about evangelism, Christian leadership, or biblical studies, there are a variety of online degree programs available that can be tailored to suits your specific needs. Theology is a broad field of study that can prepare students for a number of careers, including religious teaching, writing, fundraising, and ministry.
Careers in Theology
Many students who have graduated from a Theology program continue on to graduate degrees that prepare them for work in high-level church or educational positions. For others, the knowledge gained throughout their course of study can be applied to writing and journalist careers or even extended into pursuing a position in Christian or Pastoral counseling. In the table below we have provided examples of some common occupations within the field of Theology, as well as their median annual salaries:
|Job Title||Job Summary||Median Salary|
|Postsecondary Professor, Philosophy and Religion||Instructs students at a college or university to help them gain mastery of the art of Theology.||$45,604|
|Pastor||Responsible for leading the congregation at a Christian church and providing spiritual guidance.||$49,115|
|Fundraiser||Often works with religious non-profit organizations to assist in special events and receive funds from donors.||$58,085|
|Hospital Chaplain||Religious ministers responsible for providing spiritual comfort to patients and families.||$52,126|
|Religious Education Director||Organizes and coordinates religious events and activities for a denominational group.||$44,167|
*Job and salary data provided by Payscale.com
Working within the field of Theology can be very rewarding for those with a passion for spiritual and religious work. Occupations in Theology typically pay at or above the national average across all occupations, however you may make more or less than the pay shown based upon your specific experience and job responsibilities.
Types of Online Theology Degrees
Several well-known accredited universities offer online degree programs in a variety of Theology specializations. From certificate courses that can be completed in a matter of months to online graduate programs, there are a number of options available to continue your Theology studies in a virtual format that fits into your busy schedule.
Online Associate’s Degree in Theology, Ministry, and Religion
If you are looking for a fully-accredited degree program that will provide you with a solid foundation for religious and ministry work, then an online associate’s degree in the field of Theology may be the perfect option.
Throughout the course of this degree program, there are several courses that you will take in order to gain a broader understanding of biblical and theological topics, including:
- Written and oral communication
- Math, Science, and Technology courses
- Philosophy and Critical Thinking
- Theological Interpretation of the Bible
- In-depth Biblical Studies
This associate’s degree in Religion provides an excellent opportunity for pastors to grow their knowledge and qualifications and is a natural bridge for students looking to transition into a bachelor’s degree program.
Online Bachelor’s Degree in Theology, Ministry, and Religion
If you are interested in earning a bachelor’s degree, top universities offer a number of Theology programs that can be matched to your specific long-term goals and interests. Within these Theology programs, you may also be able to choose a minor or specialization that allows you to further increase your skills and knowledge within a specific area of interest. Both Christian Leadership and Religion are two popular Theology degree programs that have the option to be completed entirely online.
Within the Religion degree program, there are many areas of concentration that are offered to online students to enhance their curriculum, including:
- Biblical and Theological Studies
- Christian Counseling
- Christian Ministries
After graduation, students of a bachelor’s Theology program will have developed strong management skills and biblical knowledge that provide a basis for careers in the Church as well as non-profit organizations. Additionally, graduates also have the opportunity to pursue advanced studies in Theology or Divinity at a master’s or doctorate level.
Online Master’s Degree in Theology, Christian Counseling, and Divinity
For students that want to take their religious knowledge to the next level, pursuing an online graduate degree in one of the many subfields of Theology can be an excellent choice. With the advancement of technology, colleges now offer many popular Master of Arts programs through online learning that give students the flexibility of logging on to classes anytime and anywhere.
There are several different online master’s degrees available in the discipline of Theology, and the choices that you have may include:
- Christian Apologetics
- Christian Ministry
- Global Studies
- Theological Studies
- Religious Education
Graduate students also have the option of working towards a Master of Divinity degree through online education. This program is specifically geared towards preparing students for professional work in Christian ministry, and it offers specializations such as Chaplaincy, Church History, Evangelism, and Pastoral Counseling.
Online Doctorate Degree in Theology
For those that wish to sharpen their ministry skills in order to best serve their spiritual mission, an online Doctor of Ministry degree is available through top Christian universities. Throughout this degree program, students will delve deeply into the understanding of biblical principles and learn strategies for how they can be applied to a variety of pastoral roles.
During the course of this intensive doctorate degree program, you will have the chance to specialize in a specific Theological discipline that may include:
- Evangelism & Church Planting
- Expository Preaching
- Pastoral Counseling
- Pastoral Leadership
There are several aspects to successfully completing a doctorate degree in addition to the specialized course work. Throughout your course of study, you may also be required to interact with well-known church leaders as well as develop a professional thesis in order to graduate.
Online Certificate in Theology
Some online Christian universities offer both undergraduate and graduate certificates to supplement your education. These certificate programs will help prepare you for ministry work and provide you with a basic foundation of biblical doctrine, global studies, and evangelism.
A few of the online undergraduate and graduate certificates available include the following:
- Biblical Studies
- Global Studies
- Christian Ministry
- Pastoral Counseling
- Theological Studies
After successful completion of one of the undergraduate certificate programs, you may also be able to apply these credits towards an online degree program in Theology.
Theology Career Outlook and Salary Information
Religion and spirituality are a core aspect of our society, and many people look to spiritual guidance on a daily basis in order to navigate the challenges of life. Due to this need for skilled religious leaders, the career outlook for those interested in Theology is favorable.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, religious workers will experience a 4% employment rise over the next several years. Additionally, these occupations have a mean annual wage of just over $31,630. While slightly lower than the national average across all occupations, this is still a solid salary for what many consider a personally fulfilling career path.
If your goal in earning a graduate degree in Theology is to teach at a reputable college or university, there is a positive career outlook for your future as well! From 2019 through 2029, postsecondary teachers are projected to experience a 9% growth rate within their profession –which is faster than the average across all occupations! While postsecondary professor salaries vary, the median average for those who teach in the field of philosophy and religion can expect a generous annual pay of $45,604.
View a list of the top 40 Theology careers to compare jobs and salaries in this field.
Is an Online Degree in Theology Right for me?
Theology is a specialized field that holds a wealth of knowledge for those who are interested in religion, spirituality, and providing support and guidance to those within their community. Whether you wish to teach others through religious education or strive towards becoming a senior pastor at your church, there are a number of different Theology degree options available through the flexibility of online learning.
There are several advantages to earning a Theology degree online, and these benefits include:
- Flexibility to schedule classes around missionary work or career obligations
- Numerous specializations within Theology to further customize your degree
- Instruction from top religious experts through well-known Christian universities
- Lower tuition costs than on-campus degree programs at private institutions
Many of the students interested in working towards an online degree in Theology are already heavily involved with missionary, charity, or church activities that take up a great deal of their time. For those with these obligations, online learning allows them to earn a reputable degree with the maximum amount of flexibility to help juggle their busy lives.
Comparing Top Theology Degree Programs
In general, Theology degrees are offered by Christian or other religious colleges and universities to teach students specific spiritual knowledge and skills. Over the years, these top religious universities have joined the trend towards online education in order to best meet the needs of adult students who are balancing work and family obligations. In order to choose a Theology program that best suits your needs, it is important to look at several factors beyond the curriculum of your specific degree program.
When doing your research into a prospective school, you may have noticed that many colleges are accredited by a variety of regional or national accrediting agencies.
What does this mean for you?
An accredited school is one that has gone through a voluntary review process of their educational programs in order to ensure that they meet the high quality standards that their students expect. This designation gives students peace of mind that they are not enrolling at a “degree mill” school and gives them confidence that their degree will be well received when they are ready to pursue a career.
During your research into schools that offer Theology degree programs, you may come across the following names of recognized accrediting agencies:
- Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, Accreditation Commission
- Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE)
- Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. (ACPE)
- Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools
In addition to the names listed above, the U.S. Department of Education also recognizes several regional accrediting agencies that evaluate schools across the United States.
Student to Faculty Ratio
Student to faculty ratio is as important with online learning as it is in the traditional on-campus setting. Throughout the course of your Theology program, you will be performing in-depth research and analysis of Biblical principles and philosophy. To best support you through these intensive courses, it is imperative that you are working with a school that supports small class sizes. By having a low student to faculty ratio, your professor will be able to focus on the individual needs of their students and provide additional support to help you succeed within the program.
Many of the online Theology universities offer opportunities for students to work virtually with top pastoral and biblical experts within their specialized field. To get a better understanding of the credentials and accomplishments of these faculty members, take a look at the “Faculty” section of your prospective school’s website. Here you will be able to find additional biographical information of those who will be teaching you within your Theology program.
Academic Advising and Student Services
Online students deserve the same level of support and services as the on-campus student body, and top schools understand the needs of those who are taking distance learning courses. When deciding on the Theology program that is right for you, take a look at what the school offers in terms of academic advising and student services to give you the extra support that you need to reach your full potential within the program.
A few of the support services that you may encounter throughout your college search include:
- Internship opportunities within Theology career paths
- Ministry outreach programs for online students
- Virtual mentorship from experts within the field
- Extensive online research and library resources
The world of Theology is multi-faceted and provides ample opportunity for students to delve into religious research and biblical knowledge. By utilizing the skills learned throughout this specialized degree program, graduates are able to pursue a variety of rewarding careers within the church or through educating others and sharing their religious knowledge.