Taking an online theology degree program prepares students for jobs as ordained clergy, as well as other non-ordained career paths, including ones outside of religious organizations.
In many ways, online religious studies degree programs resemble liberal arts degrees. Online theology degree programs and courses teach students to read and think carefully, develop convincing arguments, and communicate through writing and speaking.
Theology degrees focus on the history and context of religious traditions, as well as provide practical applications of that religion to current problems and issues. Many theology degrees are rooted in the Christian faith, although degrees based in other religions -- such as Buddhism and Judaism -- are becoming more common. In addition, some online theology courses prepare students to provide religious counseling to people as a chaplain or member of the clergy.
Requirements for a theology degree vary with the denomination. Many programs offer courses similar to those found in a liberal arts degree. Some theology programs may also allow you to specialize in areas such as church history, bioethics, moral theology, or scripture. You can earn a bachelors of theology, a bachelors in religious studies, masters degree in religion or religious studies and a PhD degree in religion by distance learning.
Liberty University founded in 1971, is the world's largest evangelical Christian university and is located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Liberty offers a broad range of online theology degrees, religion and divinity programs:
Grand Canyon University is a regionally accredited, private, non-denominational Christian university based in Phoenix, Arizona. Grand Canyon currently offers the following Christian studies online degrees:
Long before the Internet, religious schools offered religious courses through distance-learning programs. Many of these courses allowed students to work at their own pace, studying religious texts and participating in written discussions with their instructors through the mail. The self-paced format worked well with texts such as the Bible, which could be studied over a lifetime. Online theology schools have built upon this, and augmented it with Internet-based learning. Online theology degree and courses provide a mix of learning environments, from the self-paced format to the more traditional online classroom structure. Both styles are well-suited to theology degrees online, which teach both religious texts and practical skills, such as communication and technology.
Not all students entering an online religious studies degree program plans on becoming a member of the clergy. When your pathway leads toward the clergy, however, keep these tips in mind:
The clergy is one of the top 50 careers in 2011, according to U.S. News & World Report, with steady growth expected in the next ten years. In addition to these ordained positions, a theology degree also prepares students for non-ordained or lay positions, such as administrator or director of a church, lay leaders, or youth ministers.
Because of the critical thinking skills taught by many theology degree online programs, graduates can also find careers outside of religious organizations. This includes human rights organizations, media and communications, and corporations. These jobs may or may not directly involve religion.
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