Only a few schools offer online master's degree programs in Christian education. While some are offered fully online, others combine online studies with on-campus courses and seminars, as well as field experiences working with churches and their congregations. The only significant prerequisite for admission is regular church attendance.
Some of these programs are designed for teachers and administrators at Christian schools, although church ministry leaders, such as those who work with youth, may be interested as well. There are less common online programs geared toward persons interested in entering the ministry as clergy.
Master's programs in Christian education give students foundational knowledge of the Bible and how Christian theology can impact the classroom. Students may explore the history of Christian education and discuss contemporary topics in the field.
Students planning to become ordained and enter the ministry learn about the pastor's role in influencing education programs at the church. They study the Bible in detail and look at Christian ethics.
Master's Degrees in Christian Education
A Master of Arts or Master of Science in Christian Education program includes instruction in teaching others about the Bible and theology in academic or church settings. Students are typically current or aspiring teachers, administrators, or ministers in Christian schools or ministries. They learn how to apply foundational concepts in Christian education to contemporary ministry settings. Individuals become well-versed in such concepts as Christian nurturing and classroom methods. Few institutions offer these programs online, but some of them also allow students to choose an added concentration within Christian education, such as youth ministry, adult ministry, educational administration, and school counseling.
Program Information and Requirements
The 2-3 year programs come in either fully online or hybrid formats. Hybrid programs require students to complete courses online as well as participate in on-site ministry assignments, such as seminars. The online component necessitates that students have Internet access, preferably broadband. Students communicate with instructors and classmates over message boards and email.
Curriculums typically include core courses in theology and education, which students must complete before taking electives. Students access and submit coursework through online forum platforms such as Blackboard.
Christian Education Introduction
Students get an overview of the educational aspects of Christian ministries, particularly honing their knowledge of theology. The course introduces them to the practices and methods involved in developing an educational ministry, including discipleship and congregational life.
Philosophy of Christian Education
Instructors teach students about Christian education's history, from the Old Testament to modern times. In addition, students develop study methods as drawn from interpretations of the New Testament and Hermeneutics.
Christian Youth Education
This course provides students with knowledge about educating youth and child ministries. Students learn about modern day issues in the field and how they pertain to Christian education.
Master of Divinity in Christian Education
Unlike the other master's programs in Christian education, an online Master of Divinity specifically helps students prepare for pastoral and ordained ministry work. This type of degree is necessary to become ordained or admitted to other graduate programs in theology, like a Doctor of Philosophy. An M.Div., a first-professional degree, expands on the education received in the M.A/M.S. programs. Christian education is the sole concentration in this program, whereas the previous programs offered sub-specialties. Master of Divinity in Christian Education programs aren't widely offered online.
Program Information and Requirements
Of the few online Master of Divinity programs, most are available in hybrid formats, requiring students to participate in congregational work or on-site lectures. They usually allow up to half of the required credit hours to be completed online. A computer, Internet connection and email account permit students to partake in online courses. Individuals access PowerPoint presentations, readings and videos online. The average time of degree completion is three years.
Students complete more course credits in a Master of Divinity program than in a Master of Science or Master of Arts. Many of the courses taken in the M.A/M.S. curriculum are included in the M.Div. syllabus as well.
Role of the Pastor
This course teaches students how to manage and lead missions and churches as a pastor. Students learn strategies for conceiving visions, missions and purposes and articulating them to their ministry.
Students examine the foundations of the ethics code from a theological and practical view. To prepare students for ministry life in modern society, the course pays specific attention to the current issues in relation to Christian ethics.
Students analyze the Bible intensively in a variety of contexts. They deal with issues of chronology, archaeology and theology, among others.
Career Information for Graduates
The focus on developing students' knowledge of youth ministry and theological methods of teaching qualifies graduates for such positions such as youth minister. The median salary for a youth minister with a Master of Arts in Christian Education ranged from $33,000 to $132,000, according to PayScale.com in November 2019.
Completion of the Master of Divinity program qualifies students to become ordained as pastors. PayScale.com reported in November 2019 that the yearly salary range for senior pastors was from $34,000 to $97,000. The annual salary range for a regular pastor in a ministry was between $26,000 and $78,000.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates with an M.Div. may pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in Theology or a Doctor of Ministry. While some schools offer such programs online, they are more widely found on-campus in a traditional format.
Students can choose between different master's degree programs that cover Christian education based on whether they want to work as a teacher or a clergy member. Both cover important theological content, but programs for future or current teachers typically focus more heavily on the history of Christian education and teaching youth, while clergy member training focuses more on leadership and ethics coursework.