Anyone who wants to become a theology teacher will need a strong academic foundation and active membership with the associated church, parochial school or religious organization. Not all private religious schools require teachers to have a license, but most will require the standard bachelor’s degree. Some schools may require a master’s degree in a theology specialization.
The first step is to earn a bachelor’s degree in theology. This will be useful when applying for theology teaching jobs at the elementary, middle and high school levels. There are many types of accredited theology degrees available through distance education programs. For instance, a campus ministry degree will provide an appropriate balance between pastoral and historical theology. Students of this program will gain an understanding theological contexts, concepts, systems and dimensions.
A bachelor’s degree in church history will help students to understand the global history of their church from ancient to modern times. Students will be able to integrate and evaluate historical facts and church knowledge through academic papers and projects. A Catholic theology degree student may learn about early, medieval, renaissance, Victorian and modern church history. These graduates will be well-suited to teach basic church history to middle and high school students.
A specialization in scripture will introduce students to the Old Testament and New Testament canons. Students may elect to focus on a single area of study, such as the Gospels or the Apocrypha. Learning about scriptures means that these future theology teachers will be able to explain chronological errors between the synoptic Gospels and emphasize the importance of Pauline Literature on the early church. This degree can be used to study the original Jewish Pentateuch, Old Testament Poetry and associated historical texts.
Teaching in any secular education job will provide excellent employment experiences and references, but working for a parochial school and organization is best. First, you should volunteer to teach youth or children at your church or organization. This will provide excellent networking opportunities and professional recommendations for your future job. Consider working as a teacher assistant in a private parochial school. This will show you how theology teachers create educational environments that are conducive to the academic learning and spiritual maturation processes.
Theology teacher assistants will help plan an instructional content and programs that are designed to meet both individual and group needs. They may use appropriate instructional methods, organizationally approved materials and proper classroom management skills during learning activities. Theology teacher assistants will attend internal training and be exposed to professional development standards. This will prepare them to pursue career growth and remain current in standards and methods.
Senior theology teacher assistants may provide guidance, counseling, discipline and encouragement to students. They may review performance against conduct standards and achievement expectations. The advantage of working in this type of environment is that the collective attitude of teachers and staff is positive, supportive and uplifting. Knowing how to confer with parents and guardians about sensitive and important issues will help with future job applications.
In the end, readers should note that there are pros and cons to teaching in religious schools. While these teachers are not paid as well as public school teachers, they working conditions and personal benefits compensate for the pay disparity. Because enrollment in private religious school is voluntary, theology teachers have much more control over the discipline and development of their students.
Related Resource: The Top 50 Christian Colleges and Universities