Associate in Theology Program Guide

portrait of Doug Wintemute
by Doug Wintemute
Published on April 20, 2021

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An associate degree in theology prepares graduates to join the workforce of more than 200,000 people in religious organizations. These programs can also prepare graduates for many other professions and pathways. While pursuing an associate degree in theology, students acquire valuable critical thinking, communication, and leadership skills.

Students also learn to help people and the community at large. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the addition of nearly 350,000 community and social service jobs between 2019 and 2029.

Read on for more about the program and relevant career opportunities.

Should I Get an Associate in Theology?

Theology graduates can also combine their passion for religion with helping people and work for various community organizations.

Many students pursue an associate degree in theology because of their passion for religion and religious thought. These degrees typically require approximately 60 credits, and full-time students graduate in about two years. Graduates can enter the workforce immediately or continue their education in a related field.

While many theology students eventually want to enter the clergy, these positions typically require a graduate degree. Theology graduates can also combine their passion for religion with helping people and work for various community organizations.

The BLS projects 12% job growth for the community and social service field between 2019 and 2029, approximately three times as fast as the average rate for all occupations. Some of the positions in this sector also require more advanced degrees, certifications, or licensure, which involves additional training.

An associate degree in theology paves the way for students to continue their education. A bachelor's degree in theology may be the most direct route, but graduates can also pursue degrees in counseling, education, or healthcare.

Associate degrees often feature lower tuition costs than a bachelor's program, which can save students money.

Check out the Best Online Associate in Theology Programs

What Will I Learn in a Theology Associate Program?

Coursework in an associate degree in theology varies depending on the school, the religious denomination, and the overall focus of the program. Typically, learners study the Bible and other religious texts; pastoral care; and leadership, history, and youth ministry.

Learners explore ways of sharing their beliefs, putting religious thought into practice, and building community. In addition to theology, some schools offer related programs in ministry, biblical studies, and religious studies.

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What Can I Do With an Associate in Theology?

Graduating with an associate degree in theology opens the door to an array of potential careers and industries. Graduates can work toward careers in ministry and theology with additional education or pursue related entry-level careers, such as human service assistant and community health worker.

Theology degrees provide students with widely applicable training and skills that many industries and employers seek. Graduates can pursue non-clergy roles in religious organizations, including administrative support and educational instruction.

Below are several popular professional and academic paths for associate degree-holders.

Popular Career Paths

Popular Continued Education Paths

How Much Money Can I Make With an Associate in Theology?

According to the BLS, occupations in religious organizations pay an average annual salary of $46,980. Community and social service professionals earn a median annual salary of $46,090.

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Theology Programs

What is an associate in theology?

An associate degree in theology provides students with training in general education, humanities, and religion. Students learn how to interpret religious thought and apply it to various situations and contexts. Learners also examine how religion influences people, communities, and ethics.

How much does it cost to get an associate in theology?

Tuition prices for an associate degree in theology depend on the school and program. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average annual tuition at a public, two-year school in 2019 was about $3,310 for in-state students. For out-of-state students, the price was approximately $7,920.

Is an associate in theology worth it?

All students need to determine the value of an associate degree in theology for themselves. For many, these programs offer a chance to help people and spread meaningful messages.

Can I get a job as a pastor with an associate in theology?

For most ministerial leadership positions, pastors need a graduate degree. As such, graduates with an associate degree in theology must usually continue their training into a bachelor's and then a master's program. Many schools offer pathways to make this process easier.

What's the difference between an associate in theology and an associate in biblical studies?

While theology and biblical studies may cover much of the same material, biblical studies focuses on interpreting the Bible, whereas theology uses a much wider lens, covering churches, religious practices, and religion throughout history.

We answer your questions about earning a Master's in Theology degree -- career outlook, admissions, cost, and program information. We answer your questions about earning a bachelor's in Christian counseling degree -- career outlook, admissions, cost, and program information. We've ranked the top online associate in theology programs. Compare schools by cost and convenience. Earn your associate degree online.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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