Online Education and Training in Pastoral Christian Studies
While most pastoral Christian studies degree programs cannot be completed exclusively over the Internet, many schools offer certificate, associate's, bachelor's or master's degree programs that can be completed partially online. Read on to learn what each type of degree program entails.
Online Pastoral Christian Studies Programs
Students wishing to explore pastoral Christian studies via distance learning can work toward a number of academic certificates and degrees from the comfort of home. However, many programs require that students complete some on-campus courses or stays of residency at churches. Thus, most academic pursuits in pastoral Christian studies can't be completed entirely online.
Online Undergraduate Certificate Programs
Undergraduate certificate programs are geared toward students who hope to enter the pastoral ministry on a part-time basis. Online programs at this level usually allow students to choose from a large pool of Christian studies electives, in addition to completing introductory courses on theology, leadership and the Bible.
Online Associate Degree Programs
Associate degree programs in pastoral Christian studies are aimed toward people who want to work with church leadership as laypersons or who plan to join the Christian ministry later in life. Online associate degree students generally study the Old Testament and New Testament, as well as Christian theology.
Online Bachelor's Degree Programs
Pastoral Christian studies bachelor's degree programs are designed for those willing to commit their lives to worship and serving others through Christianity. Courses in an online bachelor's degree program might include Bible study, church history and the history of civilization.
Online Master's Degree Programs
Achieving a master's degree is a further expression of one's commitment to the ministry. Master's degree programs in Christian studies typically include advanced study of the Old and New Testaments, in addition to the study of Christian philosophy and ethics.
Online Graduate Certificate Programs
Graduate certificate programs can help existing ministers become experts in specific areas of ministry study or Christian history. As with undergraduate certificate programs, most schools allow online graduate certificate students to choose from a variety of graduate-level Christian studies courses. Recipients of certificates in pastoral Christian studies can often apply their credits toward the pursuit of a master's degree.
The main goal of online Christian education programs is to prepare students to join the ministry. However, many pastoral Christian studies students go on to pursue such varied careers as theology teachers, youth counselors, church historians or missionaries. According to Payscale.com, youth ministers with a bachelor's degree in theology earned an average of $33,000 per year in late 2009, while ministers and senior pastors made approximately $36,000 and $47,000 per year, respectively.
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