Christian Studies

Christian studies programs can help you acquire the theological background and practical training you need to pursue ministry or missionary work. Continue reading for more information about degree options, career opportunities and salaries for graduates of Christian studies programs.

Is Christian Studies For Me?

Overview of the Field

Formal education programs in Christian studies can help you prepare for a career in ministry, helping others through spiritual rough patches or times of doubt. Bachelor's degree programs can be found on campus or online. Campus-based and online master's degree programs in Christian studies are also available. You may also find related degree programs in early Christian studies, religion and theology.

Topics of Study

Through a brick-and-mortar or online Christian studies program, you'll become familiar with the Old and New Testaments, biblical theology and the history of Christianity. Some programs include instruction in Hebrew and Greek, which can aid in interpreting original Biblical documents and enhance your understanding of Biblical culture. Training in leadership and Christian counseling methods may also be provided, so you can learn how to most effectively share the gospel and help struggling members of the church community. Some programs offer specializations in overseas missionary work or youth services.

Employment and Salary Information

A degree in Christian studies can lead to a variety of career opportunities, including positions as a pastor, religion teacher or worship leader. You may also find a job as a church secretary, director of religious activities or youth minister. As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), members of the clergy earned a median annual salary of $44,060 in May 2012, while directors of religious activities made $37,280 (www.bls.gov).

According to PayScale.com in March 2014, youth ministers and pastors earned median annual salaries of $32,510 and $34,074 respectively. In the same month, the median annual salary for a church administrator was $34,216 (www.payscale.com).

How Can I Work in Christian Studies?

Entry-Level Education Requirements

A major in Christian or religious studies can open the door to a number of church-related opportunities. While an associate's degree may qualify you for a job as a church secretary, a bachelor's degree in Christian or youth studies may be needed for a position as a church administrator, educator or youth pastor. A background in business can also be helpful when managing church finances, personnel and property. Potential employers may also want to be reassured that you share the congregation's theological views, have a relationship with God and an understanding of the Bible. As a working member of a church, you may have the chance to go on missions and teach people in other countries about Christianity.

Advanced-Level Education Requirements

Although a master's degree may be sufficient for a job as an assistant pastor, a doctoral degree in biblical studies may be needed to obtain a position as a head pastor. Some pastors are also ordained ministers and have the authority to perform marriage ceremonies. Completion of a graduate degree program can also help you acquire the skills you need to research and write sermons, counsel your congregation, develop church programs and lead worship services.

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