Main Responsibilities of Licensed Ministers
Licensed ministers are tasked with carrying out the religious practices and worship services of their particular denomination or faith, which can include conducting marriage or burial ceremonies as well as religious rites. As they are often required to provide moral guidance to the members of their congregation, licensed ministers will need to communicate well and make well-informed decisions when performing their counseling duties. While it's possible to earn the academic and regulatory achievements online, religious organizations may have additional requirements that must be completed in-person in order to serve as a licensed minister.
|Required Skills||People skills, communication skills, decision-making skills|
|Job Growth*||6% for 2018-2028 (clergy)|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$48,990 per year (clergy)|
Source: *U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics
Steps Involved in Becoming a Licensed Minister Online
This section will focus on how persons can use the resources that are available online to become a licensed minister. They can earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees completely online, as well as seek ordination from a non-denominational or religious organization.
Step 1. Earn an Online Bachelor's Degree in a Religious Area
Most commonly, those who wish to pursue licensing as a minister will earn at least a bachelor's degree. While it's possible for persons to earn an online bachelor's degree in a variety of religious areas, one option is the Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies. Instead of a specific religious concentration, these 120-credit undergraduate degree programs tend to cover a broad area of worldwide religious beliefs and traditions. Some of the topics that are covered in these programs include religion, cultural diversity, and sociology in a religious context. In order to gain admission to bachelor's degree programs in religious studies, persons will need to have a high school diploma and in a few cases, a minimum GPA of 2.5 as well as acceptable SAT or ACT results.
Step 2. Earn an Online Master's Degree in Divinity
Depending on your particular denomination, you may need to earn a master's degree. Unlike the bachelor's degree in religious studies, master's degree programs in divinity are focused primarily on Christian religious practices and theories. The programs often have up to 93 credit hours, inclusive of thesis or non-thesis options, and persons can earn their master's degree in about two years of full-time enrollment. In some programs, students can pursue a general track or further specialize in areas such as biblical studies, Christian leadership, discipleship ministries, and pastoral counseling. When enrolled in these graduate degree programs, students can expect to take topics such as Christian history, theology, apologetics, and leadership.
Step 3. Get Ordained
At this step, persons can get ordained through a non-denominational organization or choose a particular denomination through which to get ordained. In the non-denominational option, persons can complete an online application and then have their ordination delivered. A Christian-based ordination can be a bit more involved and include online training for ministerial duties, deacon duties as well as ministry ordination. A few of the topics that are generally covered are Christian basics, Christian Leaders Connection and Deacon Ministry. Completion of the ordination process can involve getting letters of recommendation before individuals can get a letter of good standing, an ordination card as well as a certificate of ordination.