10 Most Affordable Master’s in Theology Online
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An online Master's in Theology is a degree that provides students with a strong foundation in Biblical teachings so that they can serve the church as professionals. Whether a student wants to become a pastor or a professor, a Biblical researcher or a missionary, a graduate degree in theology will get them there.
But online programs can be hard to choose from, especially since so many seminaries and graduate schools are now offering graduate degrees. It's critical to note that a master's in theology is the only pathway forward in order to become credentialed to teach theology in accredited seminaries; this is why the degree is so popular.
Because of the popularity of the degree, it was clear that a ranking was needed. Information for this ranking was taken from the National Center for Education Statistics, a public website that acts as a database for higher education. An initial pool of 50 schools was formed from that research. The final 10, which are listed below, were chosen based on their in-state graduate tuition rates.
Top 10 Affordable Master’s in Theology Online
|#1||Baptist College of Florida Graceville, FL|
|#2||Luther Rice University Lithonia, GA|
|#3||Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Kansas City, MO|
|#4||Piedmont University Winston-Salem, NC|
|#5||The King's University Southlake, TX|
|#6||The University of Northwestern at St. Paul Saint Paul, MN|
|#7||Denver Seminary Littleton, CO|
|#8||Indiana Wesleyan University Marion, IN|
|#9||Biola University La Mirada, CA|
Explore these promoted online degree programs.
These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online graduate degree programs. Figuring out where to apply? Consider one of these online Master’s or PhD programs.
Ranking Low-cost Online Theology Master's
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Career Options for an Online Master's in Theology Degree?
An online Master's in Theology opens up a variety of careers for students, including a minister, pastor, and missionary. There are other interesting career options as well that students may not yet have thought of as viable careers. These include:
- Church Planter
- Religious School Teacher
- Bible Scholar
- Executive Director of a Nonprofit Organization
- Teaching Pastor
- Bible Translator
- Museum Coordinator
- Campus Minister
The world is open to theology graduates. With so many different career options, a student will have to do some soul-searching to find the correct path for them. Fortunately, time in the degree often points students in the right direction, so while these careers may not fit the needs of all students, they will find something that calls to them.
How Much Can You Earn in this Field?
Theology careers often dictate the actual salary available, and because theology is used in so many different careers, it can be difficult to pinpoint the actual average salary. The range, however, is $28,000 to $100,000.
The discrepancy in salaries come into play based on a few factors, the career position being the most obvious. Students who utilize their degree in social work or as a fund-raising specialist for the church often make around $28,000 to $45,000 a year. Those who go into ministry and preach at mega-churches, on the other hand, can make upwards of $1 million a year.
Theology graduates often go into education or research work, and those salaries can be different. Religious school teachers can make up to $75,000 a year while college professors can make $95,000 a year; this comes with years of experience working at well-funded schools. Bible scholars and translators make the most money, often earning $100,000 to $125,000 depending on their job and who is funding the project.
What are the Various Disciplines of Theology?
Theology is a distinct discipline in and of itself in the field of religion, but that does not mean that other disciplines do not affect it. History, theory, religion, culture, archaeology, anthropology, politics, psychology, and sociology all play a role in theology.
Many professionals will find that the disciplines that inform their career in theology will vary based on their chosen path. Bible scholars, for instance, may focus on linguistics while educators focus on education. Even ministers and pastors have their distinct disciplines, such as leadership and administration.
Is it Possible to Become Credentialed as a Theology Teacher After Graduating with This Degree?
Yes, it is possible to earn a credential as a theology or religion teach after graduating with this degree. The steps will be listed below, but please keep in mind that everyone's path towards faith-based teaching is different. Students are encouraged to consult with their seminary or college prior to proceeding on this career path.
The first thing a student must do before entering into this degree is to research if the school offers pastoral education or credentials for teaching in that denomination. These are often listed as graduate certificates that can be earned through the program of study, or the school may have a stand-alone certificate that may also be earned.
The second step is to successfully complete the requirements as well as take on a teaching practicum or internship. It will not be possible to earn credentials in teaching without field experience. Just like in secular schools, the practicum is a way of assessing a student's ability to take on the role of educator.
The third and final step is to pass the credential examination provided by the denomination. Students may find different requirements for each denomination's exam, so it is advised to seek out certification in that certain faith. Some denominations will require a valid state teaching license while some states also require it.
There are a few things to keep in mind, the first and foremost being that in order to be an educator at a school in America requires previous training as an educator. This means that many students will earn an undergraduate degree in education first and then move on to graduate study in theology. Again, it may be possible to earn a degree in theological teaching and the credential, but some states will not recognize it without a valid educator license.
It's also important to note that denominations are different. Some will require a degree in theology while others do not. This is up to the denomination and the schools in which a student is trying to teach in. Research and consultation with the appropriate denomination leaders is recommended.
Is Ordination Possible After Earning This Online Graduate Degree?
The online master's degree in theology alone will not help someone called to ministry in the process of becoming ordained. The degree is not built for students who wish to become ordained.
The reasoning for this is two-fold. The first issue is that in most denominations, a Master of Divinity is the only proper educational pathway towards ordination. This is a comprehensive degree, far more in-depth than theological studies, that often requires an internship as well as research projects and a thesis. At the current time, most students who wish to be ordained work towards a Master of Divinity as it is considered a terminal degree for seminaries.
There is light at the end of this tunnel: students who earn a degree in Theological Studies from a school accredited by the Association of Theological Schools may count their credit hours in the degree towards a Master of Divinity. This is a very common practice for students, especially if they work full time and have other responsibilities. And because many people work, an online degree in theological studies is a step in the right direction towards ordination.
The other issue is that the ordination process begins before a student steps foot on campus. Students must go to their denomination and declare their call to ordination. After that, the process begins and includes appearing before regional denomination committees, working with a mentor, earning a degree, undergo Clinical Pastoral Education, and then a final ordination paper. The process takes years and is designed to ensure that those called to God's service are doing it for all the right reasons.
In short, an online Master's in Theology is not enough for any person to become ordained, but if they choose to get a concurrent degree in divinity, the pathway may be open. Students are encouraged to speak to their local pastor about the ordination process as they will have better resources that will shine light on this calling.
Theology is a wonderful field that continues to evolve as societal attitudes towards religion evolve. For faith-based professionals, there has never been a better time to think about earning a degree in theology. With online programs offering asynchronous courses, flexible term schedules, and affordable tuition rates, degrees are even possible for working professionals. Students who are seriously considering the online Master's in Theology are encouraged to take a good look at these schools and decide for themselves that now is the right time to go back to school.
This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Most Affordable Master's in Theology Online.
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