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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.

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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            B.A. in Christian Studies with a concentration in Youth Ministry
            • Theology Degrees Rooted in the Word of God
            • Since 1949, GCU has been a premier private Christian university in Arizona, helping students find their purpose and achieve their potential.
            • Across the College of Theology, our theology degrees are designed to help you apply Scripture to the context in which you serve.
            • GCU offers a variety of transformative degrees with real-world relevance, such as Christian studies, pastoral ministry and the online Master of Divinity. 
            • Courses are available online, evenings and on campus in Phoenix, Arizona. Talk to us to learn about financial aid, start dates and more!
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            Master of Divinity - Chaplaincy (93 hrs)

            100% Online & No Standardized Testing

            We are committed to helping you achieve your goals and complete your degree as quickly as possible.

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            Associate of Arts in Christian Ministry - Pastoral Ministry
            • Ranked among the 2015 Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.
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            Online Master of Information
            • Ranked one of the Top Public Schools in 2017 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Founded in 1766 as a public institution; it has a main campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey and offers many programs online.
            • Has an average freshman retention rate of 91.8%.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 14:1, and 38% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
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            Master of Social Work
            • Earn a Master of Social Work online from top-ranked USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.
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            Masters of Social Work

            Why Choose Widener University?

            At Widener University, we proudly cultivate challenging and culturally diverse learning environments where academics, leadership, and service come first. Our curricula are connected to societal issues and challenge students to take social responsibility for their role in today's global society.

            Founded in 1821 in Chester, Pennsylvania, Widener is nationally recognized for our commitment to civic engagement, service, and social responsibility. The university has been included on the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction every year since its inception in 2006.

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