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How to Become a Minister

Minister training may provide you with the opportunity to fuse faith and vocation. However, to become a member of the clergy or pursue missionary-related work, an education through ministry schools might be required. This education may provide you with opportunities to advance your historical and spiritual knowledge. Not all trained in the ministry go on to stand behind a pulpit every week--some trained theologians do research, while others may work with individuals and families outside the church.

Ministerial Studies

Degree programs at ministry schools may often be customized based on your field and goals. At the four-year level, you may pursue a bachelor of divinity degree or a bachelor's in theology. Often, the bachelor's of divinity, or BD, may be considered the equivalent to a bachelor's of art degree, but with a specialty in divinity. At the bachelor's level, church law, ethics, pastoral care, and the particular theology of a church could be studied. Advanced degrees may include the master of divinity, the master of pastoral ministry, and the master of theological studies degree.

Ministry degree programs and training may often be combined with secular degrees. Options might be available in fields such as business, counseling, nursing or psychology. Your personal and career goals can help guide the education you pursue. Non-degree programs are advantageous because they could provide training without requiring a commitment to a full degree program.

Minister salary information

Average minister salary varies based on location, experience, denomination, church size and other factors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, clergy earned mean annual wages of $46,960. Employment opportunities are expected to grow about as fast as average during 2008 to 2018, according to the BLS.


Minister Training

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            • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
            • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
            • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
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            • Ranked 33rd among the Best Grad Schools for Social Work in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Founded in 1904 as the nation’s first institute of higher learning to offer training for clinical social workers.
            • Provides a rigorous education, including a nationally accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) Program and PhD in Social Work.  
            • Offers inventive programs with hands-on experience.  
            • Incorporates social justice values and multicultural perspectives into curriculum. 
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            • Ranked #12 in the 2015 Best Graduate Schools in Social Work by U.S. News & World Report.
            • Offers more specialization opportunities than any other social work program, with 10 concentrations and sub-concentrations and 8 dual-degree programs.
            • The first elite researching university to offer a Master of Social Work degree online.
            • Has 4,000 field internship opportunities that give students real-world experience.
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            • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
            • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
            • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
            • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
            • Features a competency-based MBA program that allows students to test out of subjects based on prior professional experience.
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            Iowa Wesleyan University is a transformational learning community whose passion is to educate, empower and inspire students to lead meaningful lives and careers.

            Learning in Community: An Academic Vision

            The story of Iowa Wesleyan University is a story of community; its founding, an act of community; its long history, an affirmation of community. Its defining vision draws on a community of memory even as it forges a dynamic future.

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            Pacific Oaks College , Online (campus option available)
            • Founded over 60 years ago on the principles of inclusion and social justice.
            • Offers credit for previous life and work experience.
            • Equipped with over 17,000 titles in their library.
            • Has 3 semesters and 6 start dates a year.
            • Located in Pasadena, CA, with instructional sites in Sacramento, Salinas, Santa Cruz, and Visalia as well as online options.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
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            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
            • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
            • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
            • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
            • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
            • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
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            • Ranked among the 2015 Best Regional Universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report.
            • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
            • Scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available for students who qualify.
            • Offers more than 70 majors and programs, as well as several off-campus internships.
            • 94% of students in the 2014-2015 academic year qualified for financial aid.
            • Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
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            •        Ranked among the top 20 Regional Universities in the West in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.

            •        Listed as one of America’s Best Colleges by Forbes Magazine in 2014.

            •        More than 97% of tenure-track faculty holds a terminal degree in their field.

            •        Student to faculty ratio of 15:1, and 47.5% of classes have fewer than 20 students.

            •        Accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

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            • Allows students to transfer credits from non-U.S. colleges and universities after evaluation.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
            • Its main campus is located in Fort Lauderdale, with campuses located throughout the State of Florida and internationally. 
            • Provides a Department of Student Services and Resources that assists students with résumé preparation, interviewing skills coaching, mock interviewing, professional development workshops, and more.
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