Theology is the study of both religion and the concepts of God. If you’re interested in these two topics, then you may have considered earning a theology degree. Don’t let not being able to go back to university, perhaps due to work or other responsibilities, stop you from getting a theology degree. There are many options for those who choose to earn a theology degree online.
What are Theology Programs Called?
In order to determine whether an institution or online school offers a theology program, you should become familiar with some of the various common names for said programs. Theology programs often have the following names: Master of Theology, Bachelor of Arts Theology, Master of Theology, Bachelor of Arts Religious Studies, Master of Divinity, Bachelors of Arts Ministry, and Bachelor of Arts Biblical Studies.
Finding an Accredited Program
Your very first step towards earning a theology degree is finding an accredited program. An accredited program is one that is sure to provide you with an education of at least a basic level of quality. If you do not get your degree from an accredited program, it could hurt your future job prospects.
The best way to find an accredited program is by conducting research online. Look up lists of accredited programs that offer theology as a major. Make a list of programs that you’re interested in. Then, visit the United States Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Post-secondary Institutions and Programs in order to confirm the accredited status of the programs.
Some examples of excellent accredited programs for those who want to earn a theology degree online are as follows: Argosy University, Ohio Christian University, and Grand Canyon University.
What to Look for in a Program?
Not all theology degrees on the same. What is taught to theology majors depends on the institution. Some theology degrees have major focus and emphasis on a particular religion, while others are far more general. The latter type of theology degree is great for those who desire a career in the non-denomination sector of the church.
A master of theology or doctorate of theology are both very common post-baccalaureate programs for those opting for an online theology degree. To qualify for a graduate level course in theology, a bachelor degree in just about any area of study works.
It is vital that you learn everything there is to know about a program before applying, because programs also vary by institution. If you’re currently a student, it’s a very good idea to set up an appointment with your school counselor or adviser. He or she will be able to help you get a good idea of the type of education you can expect to receive at the institution of your choice. Some good things to inquire on are the careers most students go on to have after receiving their theology degree.
For those who want to earn a theology degree online from an accredited program or institution, you should expect to pay about $30,000 for all four years. The highest amount of money you can expect to pay is $60,000, while the lowest is about $11,000.
The cost of your online education will likely be determined by the amount of credits or credit hours you take. This is because most institutions choose to charge students per credit or credit hour.
The cost per credit hour generally depends on the division of the course. For the same program, an upper-division class is going to cost more than a lower-division class will cost in almost every case. This means that a graduate course will cost more than courses for undergraduates.
Some other costs related to an online education that you may have to anticipate are application fees, student services fees, course fees, and material fees. Of course, the cost of these fees will depend on the online school or program in question.
What are the Classes Like?
Don’t fall into the common misconception that your classes will be easy just because you’re getting your theology degree online. Taking online classes requires commitment of a lot of time, as well as tons of self-discipline. You need to be able to prepare for exams ahead of time and keep up with all the work assigned.
Due to the nature of online classes, you may not be able to gain contact with the professor as often or as freely as you would at a physical university. Professors will typically communicate with all students through a messageboard. Some professors require students to participate in the messageboard by making it a participation grade.
Careers in Theology?
After earning your theology degree online, you can expect to have a career within the ministry. You can also end up becoming a professor for religion courses or theology at the university level.
If you become a member of the clergy, more specifically, a minister, you can expect to earn about $35,000. Of course, your salary will definitely depend on the size of the congregation of the church you work in. For example, the ministers of evangelical mega churches tend to make millions of dollars, but of course, this salary is not normal for a member of the clergy. When you work for the church, the congregation typically pays for your food and housing, so keep that in mind.
When it comes to being a professor of theology, your pay depends mostly on the institution at which you work and your seniority. $63,000 per year is the average pay for professors of theology. However, this salary, as well as tenure can increase over the years if the professor keeps the same job.