In Doctor of Ministry programs, students may be able to specialize in church erecting and congregation building, family counseling, outreach ministries, and preaching. Often, degrees are offered as cohort tracks, allowing students to advance through the program with a core group of individuals. Prior to graduation, students must submit a thesis, which can take up to a year of research and writing to complete.
These three-year programs are offered by theological colleges and seminaries, and they are aimed at experienced pastors and misters. Applicants must have graduated with at least a 3.0 GPA from a master's degree program at a school accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). Other possible application requirements include letters of recommendation, a church endorsement, a writing sample, an interview, and proficiency in one of the biblical languages, such as Hebrew or Greek.
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Doctor of Ministry Degree Program
In doctoral ministry programs, students develop their abilities to apply biblical scriptures to modern-day issues. Most programs incorporate residency requirements and intensive on-campus seminars, which focus on such topics as:
- Church economics
- Foreign missions
- Youth ministry
- Cultural diversity in the church
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2015, clergy earned a median salary of $44,250. Employment is predicted to rise 6 percent between 2014 and 2024, which is about as fast as the national average.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Graduates of Doctor of Ministry programs can continue their training by attending leadership or ministry conferences or by taking individual professional development courses at seminaries.
In some states, clergy members who wish to perform marriages may have to register with or earn licensure. However, this practice is uncommon, and most states simply require pastoral officiants to be active and ordained practitioners.
Pastors and ministers who want to heighten their ministerial skills can pursue doctoral degrees in ministry. Most programs include a combination of traditional coursework and independent research, with students focusing on a particular area of ministry. Though career options for graduates can vary, the job outlook for clergy in general is about average compared to all occupations.