A rigorous theology program prepares graduates for careers as ministers, missionaries, or educators, or to work for nonprofit organizations built on Christian principles. Theology students have traditionally studied in campus-based programs, but as online higher education opportunities expand across disciplines, online theology programs are increasingly popular. Today, thousands of distance learners pursue their spiritual and professional callings remotely.

The 10 Most Affordable Online Theology Programs

  1. Bethesda University of California - Anaheim, CA
  2. Johnson University - Knoxville, TN
  3. The Baptist College of Florida - Graceville, FL
  4. Clarks Summit Univeristy - Clarks Summit, PA
  5. Gods Bible School and College - Cincinnati, OH
  6. World Mission University - Los Angeles, CA
  7. Taylor University - Upland, IN
  8. University of Northwestern - St Paul - Saint Paul, MN
  9. Luther Rice University & Seminary - Lithonia, GA
  10. Lancaster Bible College - Lancaster, PA

Many accredited colleges now offer comprehensive online bachelor's in theology degrees. These schools allow students to pursue degrees at their own pace -- a convenience for anyone who must work full time to pay for school or provide childcare. Online programs are usually more affordable because distance learners save on commuting and living expenses, and often pay lower tuition rates.

It's important to consider that the cheapest online theology programs may not always be the best. Quality curricula from accredited, reputable schools offer far more benefits than degrees from colleges that charge low tuition rates but provide low-quality education. Fortunately, several affordable and reputable options exist for students seeking online degrees in theology.

The table below can help you decide which colleges would offer the best programs at the most affordable prices. We calculate our "college affordability score" based on a comprehensive list of online universities offering attractive educational programs in theology, biblical studies, and ministry, plus financial assistance and financial aid packages. These schools boast low tuition rates and tend to help students graduate with little or no college-related debt.

Affordable Online Theology Programs

Rank School Location Cost Receiving Loans Description Toggle

Bethesda University of California

Anaheim, CA Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 21%

The bachelor's in religion program at Bethesda is offered both online and on-campus. Students can concentrate in biblical studies, pastoral ministry, Christian education, or missions. These specialized programs provide students with the professional training required for ministry while also preparing them for a master’s program.

Upper division courses include a preaching practicum component which cannot be completed online. Financial Aid at Bethesda is awarded based on need and federal financial aid is available to qualified students. The Board of Trustees has also made a commitment to keeping tuition affordable.


Johnson University

Knoxville, TN Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 59%

Students at Johnson University can enroll in an affordable online theology degree program that covers ministry leadership, pastoral care, and intercultural studies in detail. This school offers integrated programs with a biblical foundation and an arts and sciences core, providing distance learners with a well-rounded education. Online bachelor’s degree programs include one-on-one academic advising opportunities and a virtual library service so students have easy access to research papers, books, reports, and other materials.

Affordable tuition is a staple at Johnson University. The tuition structure varies by program, and financial aid counselors are available to help students submit a FAFSA and to provide information about their financing options.


The Baptist College of Florida

Graceville, FL Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 56%

The Baptist College of Florida offers an inexpensive online theology degree. Online courses cost the same as traditional classes and students from around the nation are welcome to apply. The bachelor of arts in biblical studies provides foundational knowledge in interpreting biblical passages and the program prepares students for rigorous bible study. The program includes both general education and biblical and theological foundation courses.

The college’s financial aid office works with students to determine their eligibility for different financial aid programs. Financial assistance is available in the form of grants, loans, and scholarships. Students may also be eligible to apply for Florida Ministerial Aid.


Clarks Summit Univeristy

Clarks Summit, PA Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 56%

Clarks Summit University offers a certificate, associate, and bachelor’s degree in ministry and biblical studies. The school also offers an integrated program for students interested in studying biblical truth. Online programs are tailored to the needs of the student and include access to faculty who can serve as lifelong mentors.

Financial aid is available in the form of a tuition relief plan that provides reduced or free degree options for low-income students, along with grants, loans, and scholarships. The university also offers a reduced rate for distance learners who study entirely online.


Gods Bible School and College

Cincinnati, OH Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 19%

a href="https://www.gbs.edu/" target="_blank">God’s Bible School & College is one of the most affordable bible colleges in America. The school’s online bachelor’s degree in biblical & theological studies provides students with a comprehensive training in the traditional doctrines of classical Christian theology, while also introducing basic ministry leadership skills. Students work closely with experienced faculty members with backgrounds in theology, ministry, and teaching.

The school is committed to helping students graduate with minimal debt, offering low tuition and endowment scholarships. Students who pay their semester balance in full receive a 2% discount. Payment plans without finance charges are also available; 20% of the total bill is added to the final bill, plus any fees with these payment plans.


World Mission University

Los Angeles, CA Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 4%

World Mission University is a Korean theological school located in Los Angeles. The school is also among the most affordable universities for students pursuing a theology or Christian studies degree. Students can complete a bachelor of arts in biblical studies or Christian counseling online, or pursue a master’s in theology. Students must complete a Moodle tutorial before taking classes; the tutorial provides an introduction to school expectations and the online format.

Financial aid is available through institutional scholarships, including the Joo Eun Scholarship, Scholastic Achievement Scholarship, and Overseas Mission Scholarship.


Taylor University

Upland, IN Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 45%

Taylor offers its online degree programs amidst a Christ-centered curriculum. The school offers an associate degree in biblical studies, where students take courses in theology and introductory courses in ministry. Courses include biblical literature and foundations of Christian thought.

The school offers affordable tuition rates and also permits consortium agreements, were the student’s home institution pays for the full cost of tuition at Taylor. High school students are eligible for a reduced tuition rate when taking online dual credit courses.


University of Northwestern - St Paul

Saint Paul, MN Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 46%

The biblical studies program at UNWSP is offered online and on-campus. The degree provides students with a comprehensive study in biblical theology, theological methods, and advanced biblical interpretations. The program is intended for students who want to pursue teaching positions or proceed to a pre-seminary program after graduating.

Financial aid is available for online courses, and discounts may be extended to students currently working in Christian ministry or education. Students who have family members attending Northwestern can also qualify for reduced fees.

Monthly payment plans are available by semester, and the school honors employer tuition assistance plans.


Luther Rice University & Seminary

Lithonia, GA Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 54%

All courses and seminary programs at Luther Rice are available online, with no campus residency requirements. Students can complete a bachelor’s program in religion with a major in biblical counseling if they want to focus on theology. Other majors include a Christian worldview program and various ministerial degrees.

Students interested in becoming pastors, missionaries, or ministers graduate prepared to pursue their calling. Luther Rice provides a need-based tuition assistance program, which can help students reduce their tuition and technology fees by as much as 50%.


Lancaster Bible College

Lancaster, PA Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 66%

Lancaster Bible College offers both a four-year and two-year biblical studies track for theology students. The four-year program takes an integrated approach to theology and biblical studies, allowing students to apply key concepts in a practical setting. Students enrolled in online courses can complete their degree on their own schedule and still have opportunities to work with a mentor from their church or workplace.

Nearly all undergraduates receive financial aid, and the school’s financial aid office can help students obtain need-based assistance. Student loans may be an option for others, while grants and scholarships are also available. Students who want to earn money while studying may consider a campus job funded through the Federal Work Study program.


Piedmont International University

Winston-Salem, NC Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 53%

Piedmont offers affordable biblical education programs in a flexible online curriculum. Online programs are available for students pursuing an undergraduate degree, as are dual enrollment courses for high school juniors and seniors.

The university offers low fees and a stable tuition rate. Undergraduate scholarships include funded grants and awards--including the Atlantic Scholarship for Ministry Training and the Johnny Albert Award--along with institutional grants and scholarships where students can pursue merit-based funding. Tuition assistance and vocational rehabilitation are available for military members.


The King's University

Southlake, TX Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 50%

The King’s University partners with Gateway Church--one of the most influential churches in the country--to offer an integrated and comprehensive ministry learning experience. Online students complete courses in seven-week sessions.

The bachelor of biblical studies and theology program provides a detailed review of biblical content while also teaching students how to interpret scripture. Beginning courses in Hebrew and Greek are also part of the program.

Tuition is the same for residential and online students, although distance learners must pay a fee for each online course. Students can also apply for scholarships, including The King’s University Scholarship and The Grady and Edna Hughes Missionary Scholarship.


John Wesley University

High Point, NC Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 42%

Students at John Wesley University can explore several majors in theology and biblical studies, including Christian education and family & youth ministry programs. Students in the school’s Christian ministries program can pursue several concentrations, including: Christian Education, Christian Counseling, Family & Youth Ministry, Intercultural Studies, Pastoral Ministry, and Worship Arts.

These programs are available on-campus and entirely online. Distance learners can obtain federal and state aid, along with grants and scholarships from outside sources, such as area businesses or employers.


Barclay College

Haviland, KS Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 68%

Barclay College offers an affordable online biblical studies program with an emphasis on systematic theology, literature, and spiritual studies. Tuition is lower here than at many similar private Christian colleges, and students can explore various financial aid, grant, and scholarship options. Online programs are designed for working adults and can be completed in just 18 to 20 months. These programs also prepare students for graduate work after completing their online bachelor’s of theology.

Students enrolled in online programs may consider seeking financial assistance from their church, local, regional and national organizations. Many employers also offer tuition reimbursement benefits to employers. Students can work with the Financial Aid Director to learn more about federal loans and other forms of aid. Still, we found the overall cost of online programs to be significantly lower than similar private Christian colleges.


Saint Joseph's College of Maine

Standish, ME Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 65%

Students looking to complete an affordable degree on an accelerated track can pursue Saint Joseph’s interdisciplinary studies program that includes a minor in theology. This is among the cheapest online theology degree options for students planning to pursue their calling in ministry or Christian education. There is no on-campus residency requirement.

Scholarship assistance is available for full-time distance learners. Some students may be eligible for a tuition waiver through the tuition exchange program, or as a dependent of an employee at the school. Scholarships can be renewed for up to four years.

Prominent awards include the Sisters of Mercy Scholarships, which offer up to a few thousand dollars worth of annual aid.


Nazarene Bible College

Colorado Springs, CO Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 48%

Nazarene Bible College has offered online courses since 1998, and the school’s online suite now includes customized four-year and two-year ministry programs. Students can complete their bachelor’s in ministry with a concentration in bible and theology, where they’ll complete extensive training in the exegetical study of Christian Scripture. Students can also take additional courses to fulfill education requirements for ordination as an elder in the Church.

This school offers several forms of financial aid, including grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study packages. NBC institutional scholarships can also help students defray their cost of attendance.


University of Mary

Bismark, ND Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 65%

Students seeking an affordable online theology degree can complete the Catholic studies program at the University of Mary. This interdisciplinary degree caters to students around the globe, and the curriculum covers the Catholic Church’s contributions to culture and epistemology.

Students can work with financial advisors to review all payment and financial aid options. Most students receive scholarships or some other form of financial aid, and the school remains one of the most affordable private universities in the country.

All students are encouraged to fill out a FAFSA and apply for academic scholarships, such as the Sister Thomas Welder Leadership Scholarship and The Catholic Scholars Program. Other scholarship opportunities for students are available, including the Women’s Opportunity Scholarship fund and the NOAH’s Event Venue Scholarship program.


Truett-McConnell College

Cleveland, GA Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 25%

Students at Truett McConnell can pursue a bachelor’s in Christian studies with a concentration in biblical and theological Studies. Applying to the online program is free and students can submit their entire application through an online form.

Tuition is relatively affordable and financial aid is available to students who need it. More than 95% of students attending Truett McConnell receive some form of financial aid, including scholarships and grants. Institutional aid is offered to all eligible students, including TMU Scholar awards, transfer scholarships and a ministerial scholarship.


Lee University

Cleveland, TN Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 53%

Lee offers a bachelor’s degree in bible and theology entirely online. The program provides students with strong biblical and theological fundamentals while covering scripture and biblical interpretation. The program includes a combination of general education and specialty courses, along with 15 hours of collateral requirements.

Financial aid is available and all students are encouraged to pursue private scholarships from their high school, employer, parent’s employer, church, and community organizations for additional support.

Incoming freshman and transfer students may be eligible to apply for academic scholarships offered by the school, including the Centennial scholarship, Honor Scholarship, and John D. Nichols Scholarship.


Palm Beach Atlantic University

West Palm Beach, FL Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 55%

Palm Beach Atlantic offers an online bachelor’s in ministry, a program with a strong focus on theology, biblical studies, and understanding scripture in context. The degree prepares students for Palm Beach’s master of divinity program with a combination of practical ministry and academic work.

Students can qualify for up to $3,000 in financial aid simply by enrolling. This program is also available in an accelerated course format that allows students to complete courses in eight-week terms. Tuition is priced per credit, plus a resource fee per semester. Financial aid is available in the form of federal loans and work-study awards.


Manhattan Christian College

Manhattan, KS Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 67%

The biblical leadership program at Manhattan Christian College features a strong focus on theology, and is one of two online bachelor’s degree options available to students who feel called to the ministry. Half of the curriculum focuses on the bible and theology, while the other half covers leadership and ministry. Classes are taught in an accelerated eight-week course format with small class sizes.

The school offers institutional scholarships, both merit and need-based. Academic scholarships, including a President’s Scholarship and an Honors Scholarship, are also available.

The Thunder Merit Scholarship is awarded based on student involvement in the community, service, and other factors. The Timothy Days Leadership Scholarship is a prestigious award for incoming freshmen. Students may also apply for other scholarship opportunities such as the Yvonne Kafka College Scholarship and the Alexander Christian foundation awards for young people from select states.


Central Baptist College

Conway, AR Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 59%

A core component of Central Baptist College’s bible program is its theology requirement. Students in the degree must take 12 credits of theological study, alongside courses that cover the new and old testaments, Greek, interpreting the Bible, and the life of Jesus Christ. Distance learners must complete a total of 120 credits to graduate. The program prepares students to follow their calling, and pursue a career in ministry.

Distance learners are encouraged to fill out a FAFSA and apply for state and federal aid. The school also awards a number of need and merit-based institutional scholarships; students can apply here.


DeSales University

Center Valley, PA Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 66%

The online theology program at DeSales is part of the university’s ACCESS distance program. DeSales permits students to transfer their credits, and also allows prospective attendees to submit their practical working experience for course credit. Students must pass 16 theology courses to graduate, including three intermediate courses.

ACCESS students can pursue a tuition deferment plan, if necessary, and the school offers military benefits to qualifying distance learners. Private grants and scholarships are available to eligible students and students are encouraged to explore external scholarship opportunities to cover any tuition expense gaps.


Ecclesia College

Springdale, AR Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 61%

Students interested in theology can pursue their bachelor’s in biblical studies or Christian leadership at Ecclesia College. Both programs are offered online and include theology classes and a detailed review of the bible. The school is committed to making Christian education as affordable as possible and does so by offering a discounted rate per credit hour for online students, providing an affordable online theology degree for distance learners across the country.

Arkansas residents can apply for up to $2,000 per year in scholarship money by applying for the scholarship directly through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education website.

Other funding options include the Ecclesia College Subsidy, a performance-based scholarship, and through the school’s work-study program. Other campus-based awards include the John Tate Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Founders Scholarship Fund, and the Twila Paris Scholarship Fund.


Johnson University

Kissimmee, FL Cost: $$$$$ Receiving Loans: 74%

Students interested in a program focused on the Bible, theology, and leadership can pursue their online degree in ministry leadership online at Johnson. This comprehensive program includes an internship where students must complete coursework and degree requirements in a practical setting.

The university has provided affordable tuition for students since the day it opened, and offers one of the cheapest online theology degrees you’ll find south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Johnson maintains low tuition fees through the financial support of various donors, including churches, alumni, and friends of the university. Students who need financial help to cover the costs of their education are encouraged to apply for federal aid by completing a FAFSA.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Theology Program?

Requirements for online and campus-based religion degrees vary widely across institutions, but most programs offer coursework in biblical studies, theological history, and principles of ministry. Some feature specialized courses in areas such as pastoral counseling, youth ministry, and interracial and gender-inclusive faith communities. This section provides an idea of what to expect from a bachelor's program in the religion field.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Bachelor's in Theology

Ministry Administration and Leadership

This concentration provides knowledge and applications needed to serve faith communities. Coursework might include nonprofit business principles, best practices in ministry administration, church governance, homiletics and expository preaching, church planting, and revival strategies. Some programs emphasize the development of interpersonal skills for the creation of inclusive ministries, addressing gender, race, youth, disabilities, and other special needs.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Church ministers and assistants, youth ministers, directors of religious education, missionary, and evangelization leaders

Pastoral Ministry and Counseling

Students in this concentration learn counseling techniques and mental health training to provide psychological therapy, emotional support, and spiritual guidance to individuals in a variety of settings, from church congregations to religious-affiliated agencies. Most pastoral ministers have a bachelor's in theology, and many continue their education at the master's level in psychology or counseling and obtain state licensure.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Youth minister, marriage and family counselor, addictions counselor, spiritual adviser

Religious Education

A concentration in religious education prepares students to design and administer church education programs for adults and children, plus religion curriculum used in elementary through high school levels in church-sponsored schools. Coursework focuses on biblical, catechetical, and other types of instruction aligned with the beliefs of a particular faith or denomination.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Director of church religious education; elementary, middle, or high school teacher of religious education; church-sponsored private school administrator

Example Courses for an Online Bachelor's in Theology

Each school imposes its own religion degree requirements, which reflect the specific tenants of the faith-based institution and its program goals. In general, programs consist of foundational core courses, followed by major requirements and electives (like those listed below) in areas such as biblical studies, church history, theological ethics, ministry leadership, and pastoral counseling.

  • Biblical Studies in the Old and New Testament

    A gateway class for undergraduates in the major, this course presents an overview of the message and context of the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments. Students acquire biblical hermeneutics skills and learn to analyze biblical language and text, synthesize biblical knowledge, and integrate principles into contemporary applications.

  • Church History

    This course provides historical and theological training for future church leaders, ministers, and educators. It explores the history of Christianity and the church both in the United States and globally, with a special emphasis on non-Western traditions. Students examine various theological developments and major social movements that have shaped the church over time.

  • Apologetics

    This introductory course, designed for students interested in ministry roles or who intend to pursue graduate work, presents the basic ideas of apologetics, the relationship between reason and faith, the apologetic method, major world views, and challenges to Christian faith. Themes include religious pluralism, atheism, biblical inaccuracy, and postmodern perspectives on religion.

  • Introduction to Ministry

    Students in this course learn about the responsibilities and challenges in contemporary church ministry. They analyze leadership principles, administrative procedures, organizational and managerial practices, counseling, and ethics. Course content addresses practical considerations such as the management of staff, volunteers, and finances, and the upkeep of buildings and grounds along with the worship and pastoral needs of congregants.

  • Pastoral Counseling

    Students integrate and apply theological and psychological principles of pastoral counseling and care, using case studies in several areas including bereavement support, marriage and family counseling, and ministries designed for youth and other special populations. This course appeals to students seeking positions in pastoral ministry and provides the academic foundation for graduate studies and licensure in counseling.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Bachelor's in Theology?

Online undergraduate theology degrees offer a manageable alternative to traditional campus-based programs. Most programs require approximately 120 credits; students who enroll full-time complete the degree in four years or less. Some schools offer accelerated programs, which take two years or less to finish with continuous full-time enrollment. Online students, who often have to juggle work or family responsibilities, sometimes choose to take one or two classes per term, lengthening how long it takes to complete the degree.

Before enrolling in any online program, consider its course delivery format and how course delivery may affect degree length. Many schools offer self-paced, asynchronous courses, which give students flexibility to progress through the program at their own speed. Some schools use cohort-learning models, which place each new class of students into groups. These cohorts take all their courses together at fixed times in sequence through the program.

What Kinds of Schools Offer an Online Bachelor's in Theology?

Christian colleges generally adhere to a Christian orientation, employing faculty who espouse a Christian worldview. They offer a variety of undergraduate liberal arts and sciences programs similar to those offered in secular schools, along with religious studies courses. Whether nondenominational or church-sponsored, these schools attract students who prefer environments that promote Christian values.

In contrast to Christian colleges, Bible colleges feature a narrower focus of undergraduate degrees with significant emphases on biblical studies and theology. They offer undergraduate education in areas like Bible studies, pastoral ministry, and Christian education, sometimes along with other academic and professional majors. Students seeking online biblical studies degrees at Bible colleges usually intend to enter the ministry, do missionary work, or assume other church leadership roles, though some graduates opt for nonreligious careers. Many Bible colleges receive accreditation from the Association for Biblical Higher Education, along with regional or national accreditation. Seminaries receive sponsorship from a parent denomination and offer bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in religious studies and theology. Students enrolled in online seminary schools intend to fill leadership and educational positions with denomination-affiliated institutions. Many seminary schools receive accreditation from agencies affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education.

How Much Does an Online Bachelor's in Theology Cost?

The cost of earning a religion degree online differs considerably by school. Tuition ranges from just over $10,000 annually to almost $80,000, with wide variations between public institutions and private schools. Most schools charge higher tuition rates for out-of-state students, though some online programs offer flat tuition rates for all students regardless of state residency. Some programs provide discounted tuition for students who take full course loads each term. Students should always consider "hidden costs" in addition to tuition; online programs often charge technology fees that do not apply to on-campus students. Some programs require students to travel to campus a few times each year for workshops.

Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Theology Degrees

Accredited schools undergo an extensive evaluation of academic standards and financial practices by an outside agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Most colleges seek out either national or regional accreditation. Technical, vocational, and for-profit schools usually acquire national accreditation, and often offer less rigorous admissions requirements and relatively inexpensive tuition. Regional accreditation, the most popular and prestigious designation, requires higher professional and academic standards. A school's accreditation status determines credit transferability and eligibility for federal financial aid.

Many schools offering theology-related degrees hold regional accreditation, and some seek out additional specialized accreditation for their specific programs. For example, Bible schools may acquire programmatic accreditation from the Association of Biblical Higher Education. Seminary schools offering graduate programs usually seek accreditation from the Association of Theological Schools.

Two major organizations oversee the accreditation review process for U.S. colleges and universities. The ED establishes national educational policy and administers federal financial aid programs. CHEA coordinates postsecondary accreditation and advocates for the self-regulation of 3,000 member institutions. Both regional and national accreditation associations, plus some programmatic accreditors, receive approval from the ED or CHEA to ensure they adhere to standard regulatory criteria. The accreditation review considers several variables, including curriculum quality, faculty reputation, student services, and financial stability. Students considering any online religion or theology degree should always confirm a school's accreditation status by checking the ED and CHEA websites.

Employment Outlook for Bachelor's in Theology Graduates

Bachelor's in Theology Salary
Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level (1-4 Years of Experience) Median Salary for Mid-Career (5-9 Years of Experience) Median Salary for Late-Career (More Than 20 Years of Experience)
Youth Minister $35,987 $35,000 $39,000 $40,000
Church Administrator $39,493 $39,000 $39,000 $42,000
Chaplain $49,671 $46,000 $51,000 $53,000
Minister $50,356 $41,000 $48,000 $60,000

An online undergraduate theology degree leads to many career paths in ministry, church leadership, and other service and administrative roles. Salary ranges vary by geographical location, size of the employing organization, and specific job requirements, with the highest salaries reserved for those with the most experience. While graduates of religious studies or theology programs often seek positions in church ministry, others may choose to serve as chaplains in settings like hospitals or the military. Many graduates enter administrative occupations, overseeing development and programming for churches and social agencies. This table illustrates expected salaries by experience level for various ministry and supervisory roles.

Bachelor's in Theology Careers

An online theology degree enables students to connect their religious values to a surprisingly wide array of careers. In addition to the most common employment paths in church leadership and ministry, graduates may pursue vocational and professional interests in nonprofit, nondenominational, and secular settings as pastoral counselors, chaplains, educators, and administrators. A bachelor's also serves as a stepping stone to advanced graduate-level study and licensure in counseling or other helping professions.

Hospital Chaplain

Chaplains offer appropriate spiritual guidance, emotional support, and counseling to patients, families, and caregivers as requested. Large hospitals often employ several chaplains representing multiple religious faiths. Most chaplains hold at least a bachelor's degree in theology or divinity studies, and previously served in a clerical role or as a counselor.

Median Annual Salary: $51,015


Clergy are individuals who conduct worship services and perform spiritual functions related to the beliefs and practices of a religious faith. Clergy lead congregations, preside over services, direct educational programs and other activities, and provide guidance and support. Many religious organizations require clergy members to have earned at least a bachelor's degree in ministry or a theology-related field.

Median Annual Salary: $50,800

Pastoral Counselor

These faith-based mental health professionals integrate religious beliefs into therapy and counseling applications. They assist individuals dealing with personal challenges, including depression, substance abuse, mental illness, and behavioral disorders. Prospective pastoral counselors usually obtain a bachelor's degree in theology or a related field before pursuing licensing and further graduate training in psychology, counseling, or pastoral care.

Median Annual Salary: $44,630

Projected Growth Rate: 22%

Director of Religious Activity and Education

Responsibilities for religious directors include the design and implementation of religious-based programming. Religious organizations often prefer to employ directors with a bachelor's degree in ministry, Bible studies, or a related area, plus experience working with diverse groups.

Median Annual Salary: $40,810

Projected Growth Rate: 5%

Youth Pastor

These pastors administer youth ministries within a religious organization or church-affiliated social agency, conducting programs for young people from preschool through college. They counsel, conduct meetings and study groups, and engage young people in community outreach and mission work. Many youth pastors hold at least a bachelor's degree, and some hold counseling licensure.

Median Annual Salary: $38,054

Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Theology Program

Anyone planning to enroll in a bachelor's program, whether campus-based or online, should complete and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to learn more about grants, low-interest loans, and other sources of government funding. In addition to federal, state and college-specific financial aid, many faith-based organizations and nonprofit foundations offer scholarships and grants specifically geared toward students pursuing religion-related college degrees or careers in ministry or community service.


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