Minister Certificate and Certification Program Overviews

Apr 24, 2020

Essential Information

Ministry, spiritual leadership and counseling certificate programs are available through colleges and universities in a variety of specializations, youth and pastoral ministry being the most common. These programs focus on topics like Bible studies and church leadership. Admission requirements vary, but most only expect a high school diploma. Graduate-level certificate paths usually mandate a bachelor's degree.

Youth ministry certificate curriculum includes a practicum, where participants have the opportunity to have direct contact with youth in a professional, supportive environment. Pastoral ministry certificate coursework covers worship service leading, business and administrative principles, evangelistic training and council organization.

Certificate of Achievement in Youth Ministry

Coursework in a youth ministry certificate program covers general ministry skills and practices specific to working with children and teens. Common courses include the following:

  • Christian leadership skills
  • Practices of youth ministry
  • Leadership in youth ministry
  • Evangelism and catechism
  • Bible studies

Certificate of Achievement in Pastoral Ministry

As pastoral ministry certificate programs prepare students for leadership and teaching roles, curricula are Bible-intensive. Examples of core curriculum include:

  • Old and New Testament studies
  • Christian ethical issues
  • Preparing sermons
  • Counseling skills for ministers
  • Evangelism
  • History of Christianity

Employment Outlook

Graduates are eligible for positions in churches, parachurch organizations and schools. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for clergy is predicted to grow at a rate of 6% over 2018-2028. These professionals earned a median annual wage of $50,400 as of May 2019 (

Continuing Education

In some denominations, an individual is considered prepared to be a minister upon completing an educational certificate program. Others expect certification from a particular organization. For example, for the Catholic Church, certification must be from a program adhering to the National Certification Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministers.

Minister certificate programs teach students how to provide spiritual guidance and offer specialization options in several areas. A youth ministry certificate program, for example, prepares students to work with children and teenagers, while a pastoral ministry certificate provides a more general overview of ministerial duties to prepare students for leadership roles.

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