Due to the variances among Christian denominations, prospective students interested in leadership positions should speak with their clergy to determine requirements for ordination or ascension to these types of roles in the church. Most 4-year bachelor's programs require a high school diploma or GED to apply, and many require enrolled students to participate in fieldwork in addition to classroom study. Some programs are offered online.
Bachelor's in Pastoral Christian Studies
The curriculum of pastoral Christian studies programs aims to enrich each student's maturity of faith and knowledge of religion. Programs are intended to equip scholars with knowledge of scriptures and a religious understanding of the will and purpose of God for the individual, the congregation and society. Students might learn to write and deliver weekly sermons and to engage in sensitive conversation. In addition to classroom learning, a practical component may be required. Coursework may include:
- Christian evangelism
- Christian theology
- Church history
- Old Testament studies
- New Testament studies
- Systematic theology
Popular Career Options
Bachelor of Arts degree programs prepare students to take roles in congregational leadership. Graduates may obtain a career as an:
- Assistant pastor
- Associate pastor
- Senior pastor
Employment Outlook and Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for individuals working as clergy members in 2018 was $48,990. The BLS predicts employment opportunities for clergy members will increase by 6% over the 2018-2028 decade.
Students who would like to continue their education at the graduate level may earn a Master of Arts degree in Christian studies, pastoral studies or a related field. The curriculum typically includes core theology classes and ministry classes. Concentrations may be available in theology, the Old Testament, the New Testament or specialized ministry work serving groups like youth, Hispanics, small Christian congregations.
Bachelor's degree programs in pastoral Christian studies teach students the fundamentals of the Christian scriptures and religion so they can apply these concepts as church leaders. Graduates can pursue master's programs or work as various kinds of pastors within the church.