An accelerated theology degree can prepare you for meaningful work to give your life a purpose.
Theology is defined as the study of God and religious belief. A degree in theology is not about getting rich. Or even being famous.
Although there are higher paying jobs you can get with a theology degree. But you will find that a degree in theology can prepare you for service.
To help others.
To understand the bigger picture of life.
Have you ever wondered “is there more to life than a career and making money?” A degree in theology can help you explore:
– what you believe
– why you believe it
– what this means for your life
Then you will be ready to guide others. There are careers in church ministry, teaching, writing, fundraising, social work, even Bible translation or overseas relief work.
But you don’t want to spend 4 years working away at a degree when you know that people need help now. $94,000 seems like an astronomical price tag to pay.
You want to be ready and equipped to serve but you feel attending school for years and building up a huge pile of debt is a horrible way to start ministry.
Jesus told a parable of feeding a crowd of 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish. It is possible to do big things with limited resources.
What if you could have a degree in theology in 18-24 months for just over $30,000? It would take hard work and determination but you could be on the path to ministry sooner than you think without putting yourself (or your family) into a huge amount of debt.
Accelerated Theology Degree Programs Overview
When you take a degree in theology you usually want to find a school that aligns with your own personal beliefs. Most Catholic theology students will be looking at a Catholic school and Protestants for a Protestant school. But no matter what denomination or division of the church you come from theology classes tend to cover the basic tenants of your faith.
Your spiritual growth will be formed by classes such as:
- Foundational Issues in Apologetics
- Christianity and the Cults
- Biblical Studies and Apologetics
- Church History
- World Religions
- Historical Theology
- The Church: Its Mission and Hope
- Old Testament Overview
- New Testament Overview
Now doesn’t that sound like a list of classes that will expand and challenge your spiritual knowledge?
Not only are you learning about foundational beliefs but you will be figuring out what to do with your beliefs.
Careers with an Accelerated Theology Degree
Newsflash: A theology degree will not make you rich. Oh wait. You knew that already, didn’t you?
Very few people pursue theology careers with the intention of making millions of dollars. Your focus is more likely on making a difference in the world around you.
But you still need to pay the bills. In the Biblical book of Luke in chapter 14 verse 28, Jesus states that if you want to build a tower you should first sit down and figure out the cost.
A wise learner will first consider the cost of his project before starting out. Even for a degree in theology.
Careers in theology can be many, although most will be connected with a church, mission organization, religious school or charity.
|Religious School Teacher||$51,000|
|Executive Director of School||$65,000|
|Fund Raising Specialist||$45,000|
|Director of Religious Activities||$38,610|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
What an amazing list of jobs! Can you imagine the satisfaction and purpose you could find in one of these careers?
There are many who have left higher paying careers to pursue a humbler life in ministry. Jack Gleeson, famous for his role as King Joffrey in Game of Thrones, left a successful acting career to instead study theology at Trinity College in Dublin.
You could be numbered among other famous theologians and ministers like:
- Martin Luther
- Karl Barth
- John Wesley
- Albert Schweitzer
- CS Lewis
- Billy Graham
- Karl Adam
- Pope Francis
Pursuing a career in theology can allow you to leave a legacy of hope and change in the world instead of fame and riches.
Accelerated Theology Degree Programs Offer Year-Round Admissions
Once you have committed your mind and your heart to following this path there is no need to wait to start your degree.
The world’s problems aren’t waiting and neither do you need to. You can start your degree now. Like tomorrow.
Most universities in North America will offer alternate start dates each month.
You don’t need to hold back on your calling for another year or to wait for the next semester to start. You can make good on your desire to learn more about your faith and start this month.
Accelerated Theology Degree Programs Online – Accelerated Classes vs. Self-Paced Classes
There are many different branches of theology that you may choose to study, there are also many different ways that you can complete your classes.
Yes, you don’t have to be stuck in a classroom for hours on end. Online classes are quickly making education more accessible to every person.
Online classes typically follow 2 styles:
- Accelerated online classes
- Self-Paced classes
Accelerated classes are similar to a traditional classroom setting in that you will have a start date set by your professor as well as assignment due dates. The advantage is that accelerated classes are completed faster.
Self-paced classes would be similar to how many great theologians of history studied. At their own pace. Learning as much as you can for a given time.
Option 1: Accelerated Online Theology Classes
Registering for a class would usually require a 16 week commitment to attending class every week. 4 whole months of class for 3 credit hours.
That speed can be painfully slow if you are wanting to be serving now. Try signing up for an accelerated online class. Not only can you complete the class in 6-8 weeks but you also can complete the class wherever is most convenient for you. As long as you have internet access.
Save yourself a lot of commuting time! But still get the same excellent material from your professors, complete assignments and have the class added to your transcript.
Don’t forget, because the class takes half the time as usual, you have the option of completing a 2nd class right away and doubling your degree completion speed.
Option 2: Self-Paced Online Theology Classes
Does your life have a lot of commitments from September -April but then your summer months are pretty relaxed. That tends to be the norm for those involved in church ministry!
You can take advantage of this and still work on your degree. On your own time.
Register for a self-paced semester at a school like Capella University or Westerns Governors University. How it works at Capella is that you pay $2300 for a 12 week semester. During those 3 months you can complete as many courses as you like.
Instead of being a slave to the school semester, you can conquer class after class at a time that works for you. A very intense but genius way to finish classes quickly.
Types of Accelerated Theology Degree Programs
The types of theology degrees are varied but all focus on the study of God’s nature and religious beliefs.
You might pursue a bachelor’s degree in religion, religious studies, theology or apologetics. Some of the majors often chosen are:
- Biblical and Theological Studies
- Christian Counseling
- Christian Ministries
- Biblical Languages
- Global Studies
- New Testament
- Old Testament
- Biblical Scholarship
- Writing and Literature
Is there a field of theology that inspires you most? That would be the one you could pursue!
3 Ways to Accelerate Your Theology Degree Even More
Completing your theology degree quicker not only saves you money but allows you to start serving in your chosen ministry quicker. Using these 3 strategies you can shave years off the time you spend in school.
1. Test out of college classes (up to 1 year)
Did you know that you don’t have to take classes to get college credit? I know, it sounds ridiculous but it is completely ethical.
Most schools will accept credit that you can earn through the College Level Examination Program. Instead of attending a class on a subject you already have knowledge in, you can register to take the exam. Pay a $85 fee. Answer the 90 multiple choice questions. As long as you get 50% correct, you earn 3 college credits in classes like humanities, history and natural sciences.
This method can earn you up to 30 credits, which is 10 classes worth. Usually that would take you about a year. Brilliant, right?
2. Get college credit for your life and work experience
Have you participated in youth ministry? A cross cultural missions trip? Completed training as a Worship leader or in children’s ministry?
All of that valuable time you put into serving can also potentially earn you credit.
Most colleges and universities will award Credit for Prior Life Experience. At Liberty University you can earn:
- 9 credits for having done a year with Youth With a Mission (YWAM).
- 6 credits for having a diploma in Child Evangelism
- 3 credits for attending a national worship leaders conference
You can also get credit for military service and workplace training. You can earn up to 15 credits this way. Another semester of classes done without going to class!
3. Stay continuously enrolled with max courseload
Once you start your classwork, there is a secret to completing your classes faster. Take more classes at once.
Surprisingly most students aren’t aware of this option. Other students will enroll in 15 credits each fall and winter semester. A respectable 5 classes every 4 months. Take the summer off to work at summer camp or do a church internship.
A great way to work but it will take you 4 years to get your degree then.
Did you know you could almost double the number of credits you earn in a year? Many universities allow you to take up to 18 credits each semester and also offer classes over the summer. In one year you could earn 54 credits.
If you add the 30 credits you earned by credit by exam and the 15 credits from credit for prior life experience, you could be done in just over 4 semesters. That is 18 months.
Transferring Your Existing College Credits
Did you start a degree in engineering or history before you felt the call into ministry? Those credits you earned can be put to good use to meet your theology degree requirements.
To make sure your pre-existing college credit is useful check that:
- Your previous college was accredited
- You applied yourself at earned at least a C in the class
- The class meets your new degree requirements
Even if the class doesn’t match any of your concentration requirements you can still apply the class to your electives. Your electives could be in composition, math, natural science, technology, literature, social sciences or philosophy.
Don’t you waste that credit!
Lower Tuition Costs
You’ve counted the cost and you’re ready to start this journey. Although you are prepared to make sacrifices, the good news is that earning your degree could cost you less than you originally planned.
A typical theology degree will require 120 credit hours.
If you were to attend Loyola University College you are looking at $788 per credit hour. That works out to $2364 for a 3 credit class. Your theology degree could cost you $94,560.
That is a lot of debt to be carrying to start a career in ministry. Thankfully, a theology degree does not need to cost you this much.
You can use credit for exams to save $1000s on a class. You can use your portfolio for credit for prior learning.
Cost Of Theology Degree
|Ways To Earn Credit||Number Of Credits||Total Cost|
|Attend Loyola University College||120||$94,560|
|Attend Barry University||120||$118,800|
|Attend Liberty University||120||$46,800|
|College Level Examination Program
Credit for Prior Learning
Remaining classes at Liberty University
Using these strategies can help you save HUGE amounts of money. Your theology degree could cost you a ⅓ of what you planned.
Theology Degree Accreditation
Are you planning to continue your education after you receive a degree in theology? Maybe add training in education or counseling. Or continue with a master’s or doctorate in theology?
Accreditation adds validity to your degree. Most schools will be regionally accredited and that is good enough.
If you are looking for a higher level of theological accreditation, check if your school is accredited by:
- The Association of Theological Schools
- the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE)
- the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS)
Accreditation is a nice extra step but as long as your school is regionally accredited your degree is considered valid.
So where does this leave you? Now you know that pursuing a degree in theology does not require 4 years of classes. You don’t need to end up $100,000 in debt.
Does that make the path to ministry seem a little more doable? You can still follow your calling into service while providing for your family.
You can be a good steward of your resources and earn an accelerated online degree in theology.
Instead of wishing that you had followed this path, you could start on your path to a degree in theology now. You could be done in 18 months.
Then where will you go? And who will you serve?