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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)
            • Liberty University’s online programs ranked in the top 10 out of more than 2,100 colleges & universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility.*
            • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level.**
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            • Up to 50% of your master’s degree can be transferred in to help you get the most out of your hard work and maximize the credit you previously earned.
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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.
            • Designated as a Military Friendly School every year since 2012 by Victory Media.
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            Master of Arts in History
            • Study at a university accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.
            • Immediately apply what you’re learning to current workplace challenges
            • Experience the convenience and flexibility of online learning—access coursework 24/7
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            B.A. Human Development
            • Founded over 60 years ago on the principles of inclusion and social justice.
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            • 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.
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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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            Human Services (MS)
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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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            M.S. in Human Services - Non-Profit Management
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
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            Science and Technology Multidisciplinary Studies (Bachelor of Science) - Online
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