What is the Association of Theological Schools (ATS)?

What is the Association of Theological Schools (ATS)?

If you’re interested in theology or are currently pursuing a theology career, you’re probably wondering what the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) is and what they do. This association is quite arguably the largest in this field and is very important when considering any kind of career in theology. This career field has been one of the most popular and longest-standing in history, so it’s important to learn about the ATS and what it does.

What is the Association of Theological Schools?

The ATS is made up of more than 270 graduate schools of theology throughout Canada and the United States. The member schools of this association administer programs that education students in the field of ministry and other theological disciplines. Even though this fact is the basis of all these members, many of the schools differ in significant ways. While the schools differ, they all demonstrate the same values that constitute a great education in theology.

This association employs more than 7,000 employees and enrolls almost 75,000 students through its member schools. The goal of the ATS is to bring together member schools under one umbrella to enhance theological schools as a whole, in a way the benefits students, educators, schools, and the community.

How does the ATS Work?

The ATS is made up of 2 separate corporations, called the Association and the Commission on Accrediting. The Association provides member schools with a slew of programs, research, and various services to help support the school and its students in all of their theology endeavors. The Commission on Accrediting mainly works to accredit institutions to become member schools and helps approve degree programs in theology fields provided by these member schools.

As the ATS is a members-only association, there are 3 different levels within their membership program. Membership is given to schools that offer graduate theological degrees and that also meet their criteria for membership. The 3 levels of membership are defined as such:

  • Associate Members: This is the first level of membership in which schools initially join the Association of Theological Schools by being voted in at the ATS’ Biennial Meeting.
  • Candidates for Accredited Membership: This is the second level of membership, pursued within 5 years of receiving their initial vote into the ATS. This level of membership is run through the Commission on Accrediting.
  • Accredited Membership: This is the third and final level of membership, which is given after schools have completed all of the requirements given by the Commission on Accrediting.

What does the Association of Theological Schools do for its Members?

The ATS has become one of the foremost accredited associations within this field, meaning that if you want to pursue a career in theology, you should probably do so at a member school. The ATS provides schools with not only the proper tools, resources, classes, and programs to help students excel within the field of theology, but also connects all of these schools together in a special network. The ATS strives to better the quality of learning in this field and create the best tools necessary to excel in theology.

If you’re thinking about a career in theology, schools that are accredited by the ATS might be your best bet. They are one of the best organizations in the world in regards to creating the best theological education and producing the best theological careers for students. This information about what the Association of Theological Schools is and what they do can help you make a better decision for your future and your faith.

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