Youth Ministry Schools and Colleges with Program Descriptions

Youth ministry students are trained to teach theology and help youth in their religious study, activities and service. A number of schools have certificate, undergraduate and graduate programs in youth ministry.

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Youth ministry is a religious occupation focusing on children and young adults. Youth ministry programs educate students in the Bible and ways to teach it to church youth, along with providing practical experience working with local churches and mission projects.

Schools for Youth Ministry

The following private schools offer degree programs in youth ministry:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Lee University Cleveland, TN 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's $15,000
Colorado Christian University Lakewood, CO 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $27,986
Cedarville University Cedarville, OH 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $27,206
Olivet Nazarene University Bourbonnais, IL 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $32,790
Indiana Wesleyan University Marion, IN 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $24,728
Bethel University St. Paul, MN 4-year, Private not-for-profit Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's $34,140
Spring Arbor University Spring Arbor, MI 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $25,510

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

Important considerations that prospective students should keep in mind:

  • Students can choose to major in youth ministries or ministry studies with a concentration in youth ministry
  • Research a school's denomination to see if your own beliefs match.
  • Depending on where you'd like to primarily work, a degree in a related field, such as adolescent studies, could prepare you for ministry in alternative settings like schools or community youth programs.
  • Look for programs with hands-on learning experiences or internship opportunities to better prepare for a future job.

Certificate Programs in Youth Ministry

A certificate program in youth ministry is a 2-year program that teaches skills in effective youth ministry for church and parochial school environments. Some exist in conjunction with a degree program, while others provide non-credit courses leading only to a certificate.

Bachelor's Degree in Youth Ministry

Bachelor's degree programs in youth ministry include general education courses, such as English, psychology, math and science. Courses related to religion and teaching the young, such as youth mentoring, pastoral care of youth and youth culture, have common requirements. Some schools also offer a minor in youth ministry in conjunction with a related bachelor's degree program. Other colleges offer more specialized youth ministry courses, including sports ministry or social services.

Masters Degrees in Youth Ministry

Common youth ministry graduate degree offerings include a Master of Arts in Theology, Master of Arts in Christian Ministry and Master of Divinity. They all offer more in-depth studies in religious occupations and assist students in acquiring skills needed for teaching and leadership in churches, missions and education. Courses include early, medieval and modern church study, advanced Old and New Testament study, congregational ministry and denominational studies, with a required thesis toward the end of the program.

Undergraduate and graduate degree programs in youth ministry are available at private, religiously affiliated institutions. During the school selection process, students should investigate a program's degree options, religious beliefs and more to find the right fit.

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