Distance learning degree programs in theology are available at undergraduate and graduate levels, and students participating in online theology programs often complete the same curriculum as students enrolled in on-campus classes. Programs can be completed fully online or in hybrid format. Hybrid programs may require campus visits and a practicum. These programs provide students with a theological and biblical education required for preaching or pastoral ministry. In addition, students are instructed on diverse cultures and religions and develop an understanding of a variety of ministries.
Theology Degree Programs
An online theology degree program provides an academic foundation for students interested in a career based on the principles of faith and religion. Bachelor's degree holders who desire to work in a church often go on to earn advanced graduate or seminary degrees. Those who complete a master's degree program may further study to earn a professional Doctor of Ministry or the more research-focused Doctor of Theology.
Information & Requirements
Depending on the school, distance learning theology programs are available entirely online or in a hybrid format, requiring some on-site attendance. In hybrid programs it is common for students to visit the campus for summer sessions or several week-long sessions throughout the course of the distance program. A practicum may also be integrated into an online program.
In preparation for a degree in theology, students should focus on classes involving history, sociology and civics. Once students are admitted into a program, coursework emphasizes the development and history of the world's religions. The curriculum could include classes like:
- Basics of Religion
- Practicing Faith
- Feasts of Jehovah
- Getting to Know God
- Wisdom Through Interpretation
- Leadership in the Church
- Bible Speaks to Contemporary Issues
- Discovering the Blood Covenant
- The Names and Attributes of God
- Foundational Experiences
The successful completion of a theology program gives students the ability and knowledge to interpret the Bible and administer programs and ministry within a church or other religious setting. Graduates could perform duties such as last rites, baptisms, sermons and weddings. Possible career opportunities include:
- Hospice Work
- Pastoral Care in Medical Facilities
- Youth Ministry
- Campus Ministry
- Religious Teachers
- Choral Directors
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), clergy members earned a median salary of $44,250 as of May 2015 ('www.bls.gov'). Projected job opportunities for clergy members was expected to grow at an average rate of 6% for the decade spanning 2014-2024, according to the BLS.
Theology degree programs are available fully online for students to learn at their own pace, but a practicum or other on-campus visits may be required. Theology programs are for students seeking a career in faith and religion.