Theology is a broad field that examines the foundations, tenets, and practice of religious beliefs. Students study historical religious texts, scientific evidence of divine existence, and testimonials of spiritual experiences. Theology provides students with the academic background to advocate and preach for a particular religious tradition or to challenge them. Theology can also be a way to examine religious beliefs without reference to any formal religious tradition. If you enjoy debating religious topics and find yourself curious about the nature of divine and spiritual phenomena, an associate degree in theology may be right for you.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ASSOCIATE IN THEOLOGY PROGRAMS?
Grace College of Divinity
|Fayetteville, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 71%||
Founded in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 2000, Grace College of Divinity (GCD) offers a two-year associate of arts in divinity degree designed for students looking to build an academic foundation for local church work. The program is ideal for students who are already working full time. Like all programs offered at GCD, the associate of arts in divinity can be conducted entirely online through asynchronous sessions.
GCD's 60-credit program focuses on courses in the areas of biblical studies, theology, and practical ministry with a curriculum designed to build clear communication skills, leadership, and knowledge of history and philosophy. Ministry electives include courses in church life, spiritual formation, and counseling. Students can expect to leave the program with enhanced biblical literacy and practical leadership skills gained through a combination of academic study and hands-on experience.
In addition, the program requires the completion of four Leadership in Action (LIA) projects (with a maximum of one per semester), which combine hands-on learning with community enrichment according to the interests of each particular student. A LIA project might involve community outreach, event management, or study through an ongoing service position.
Applicants must complete a faith-based essay in addition to providing two references -- one pastoral and one personal. Students may transfer credits bearing a grade of "C" or higher.
GCD is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education.
The Baptist College of Florida
|Graceville, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
Established in 1943 in Graceville, Florida, the Baptist College of Florida (BCF) is a private institution that offers online options for all degree programs, including a two-year online associate of divinity, which is designed for students who wish to enter pastoral ministry. The school also offers distance learning programs through satellite campuses in Orlando and Jacksonville.
BCF's 66-credit program centers on core courses in biblical knowledge with a strong focus on general education topics including composition, psychology, math, arts, and communications. All students enrolling in online programs must complete an orientation course to familiarize themselves with the technology and prepare for an online learning environment. Online courses at BCF tend to be conducted asynchronously and comprise lectures, discussion, assignments, and tests.
Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and must submit SAT or ACT scores. Students should be proficient in Microsoft Word or an equivalent word processor and familiar with the basics of internet navigation. Students who do not meet the minimum requirements for computer proficiency will have an opportunity to enroll in a course on basic information technologies.
BCF is affiliated with the Florida Baptist Convention and holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|Knoxville, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 63%||
With physical campuses located in Florida and Tennessee, Johnson University (JUTN) is a private institution offering a two-year associate of science in biblical arts and associate of arts in biblical studies, which can both be completed entirely online. The programs are designed for students who wish to work on a church staff or as members of nonprofit organizations, or who wish to continue to bachelor-level studies.
JUTN's 60-credit program consists of studies in the new and old testaments with core courses in philosophy and critical thinking. The associate of arts degree incorporates a year of world language study. Language options include Chinese, French, Greek, Hebrew, and Spanish, with additional options available with approval. The associate of science degree requires credits in mathematics, natural sciences, or social sciences, including health and fitness science, literacy, and social psychology.
Resources for online learners include online academic coaching through the Academic Support Center, and 24-hour technical support. Remove students have access to extensive library services, including interlibrary loans. All online courses are offered asynchronously, and applicants must submit SAT, ACT, or CLT scores.
Johnson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Northwest University-College of Adult and Professional Studies
|Kirkland, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
Founded in 1934, Seattle-based Northwest University (NU) is a private college that offers an online associate degree in ministry leadership through its College of Adult and Professional Studies. The program is designed for students looking to develop biblical knowledge and ministerial skills without committing to a four-year degree. The program is ideal for students who want to build a strong biblical foundation for work in various aspects of ministry or who want to enroll in NU's bachelor of arts in ministry.
NU's 66-credit program builds its core curriculum around biblical knowledge, theology, ministry leadership, and communications, and includes courses in the humanities and social sciences. Major-specific courses include old and new testament history and literature, biblical interpretation, faith in society, and ministry operations. Every course at NU incorporates a focus on faith-based learning, allowing students to make practical connections between their personal faith lives and academic studies.
Online courses at NU are offered asynchronously. Students can expect to learn through video lectures, discussion boards, assignments, and tests. Resources for online learners include state-of-the-art course platforms and access to 24-hour technical support.
Applicants must submit SAT or ACT scores, and there is no application fee. NU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Ohio Christian University
|Circleville, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
Established in 1948 in Circleville, Ohio as Circleville Bible College, Ohio Christian University offers an online associate of arts in Christian ministry with a concentration in biblical studies for students wishing to connect faith with action in their careers and lives. Students leave the program with increased biblical literacy, communication skills, and leadership abilities in the areas of ministry and administration. The school also offers an Online Plus program where students can combine online learning with in-person experiences.
OCU's 60-credit program focuses on topics in general education like communication, humanities, reasoning skills, mathematics, biblical literature, and social sciences, including anthropology, business, and economics. Christian ministry comprises 15 credits of the program, with courses in principles of worship, personal stewardship, investigating Christian theology, and ministry practices. Students complete coursework one module at a time following an asynchronous cohort model.
Applicants must have a minimum 2.0 GPA and must submit SAT, ACT, or CLT scores. OCU holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
What Can I Do With an Associate in Theology Degree?
A theology degree can be applied to a variety of different career paths that do not directly relate to religious practices. As a discipline in the liberal arts and humanities, theology fosters critical thinking, communication, research, and writing skills. Graduates with an online associate degree in theology are prepared for careers as teachers, journalists, lawyers, program directors, and more. Theology degrees online are useful for students who wish to enter a profession related to religious and spiritual activities or education. Here is a list of possible occupations for individuals with a degree in theology:
Clergy are religious leaders who usually preside over religious rituals or oversee religious activities and education. The various roles and names for clergy members vary depending on the specific religious tradition and denomination. Christian religious leaders include pastors, ministers, priests, and bishops. Jewish religious leaders are called rabbi. Clergy members are typically ordained by a specific religious institution, like a Church or Mosque, and work with that institution to teach religious doctrines and practices.
Median Annual Salary: $49,450
Projected Growth Rate: N/A
- High School Teacher
High school teachers are responsible for educating students and preparing them for college or the job market. They create lesson plans according to the school district's curriculum and objectives, give lectures, and facilitate preparations for standardized tests. High school teachers must have a bachelor's degree and be licensed by the state to teach certain subjects. An associate degree in theology could be beneficial for those who wish to teach at a religious private school.
Median Annual Salary: $58,030
Projected Growth Rate: 6%
- Social and Community Service Managers
Social and community service managers oversee the day-to-day operations of community service organizations, nonprofit organizations, social service companies, and government agencies. They manage volunteers and paid service workers who provide social service programs. This position typically requires a bachelor's degree and some work experience.
Median Annual Salary: $64,680
Projected Growth Rate: 10%
- Social Workers
Social workers dedicate their lives to helping individuals, families, and communities with everyday problems. Social workers work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, adoption clinics, non-profit organizations, social service organizations, and mental health institutions. They are often required to have a bachelor's degree in social work. Clinical social workers must also have a master's degree and be licensed by the state in which they work.
Median Annual Salary: $46,890
Projected Growth Rate: 12%
- Theology Professor/Theologian
A theologian is a specialist who teaches theology courses and gives lectures. Many theologians are also university professors who conduct research regarding the nature of the divine, publish academic papers, and teach college level courses. Theology professors are required to have a PhD in theology or a similar field.
Median Annual Salary: $75,430
Projected Growth Rate: 13%
After obtaining an associate degree in theology, you may want to consider transferring into a bachelor's program. An undergraduate program gives students the opportunity to focus their education, like on Biblical texts. Some professions require a higher degree. Teaching theology or a similar discipline at the college level requires at least a master's degree. If this is something you're interested in, then getting a bachelor's degree is the next step.
- Religious Studies: Religious studies is devoted to investigating and comparing religious beliefs, traditions, history, and institutions. It combines perspectives from a variety of different disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, history, and philosophy to examine religious behavior objectively and contextually, without being partial to any religious tradition.
- Social Work: Social work programs combine social science research and methodology in order to develop programs that help solve social problems. Many social work programs include coursework in other departments like sociology, psychology, economics, and law. Social work encompasses philanthropic efforts without any religious affiliation.
- Philosophy: Philosophy is the investigation of intellectual and social questions concerning existence, reason, knowledge, language, body, and mind. It emphasizes and fosters skills such as critical thinking, rational argument development, and persuasive writing. Coursework may cover topics such as the texts of ancient and contemporary philosophers, logical argument and persuasion, and philosophical paradigms. Philosophers are often university professors, but students with an undergraduate degree in philosophy can be found in various professions, such as law, journalism, and politics.
- Theology: Theology bachelor's programs offer individuals with an associate degree in theology a chance to gain further expertise in the subject. This commonly leads to a teaching career.
ASSOCIATE IN THEOLOGY SALARY
Many specialists in theology may choose to pursue further education and teach at the postsecondary level. The top paying states for postsecondary theology and religion professors are mostly located in the Northeast, with a few exceptions. So if you want to become a theologian, keep an eye out for employment opportunities in the following states:
|State||Median Annual Salary|
Professional theology organizations are dedicated to promoting engagement in theology and other related fields. Through professional organizations, students meet other professionals in the discipline, participate in theology conferences, receive notifications about theology-related job openings, and discover publication opportunities in theology journals. Conferences hosted by professional organizations are a great outlet to present theological research and learn about pedagogy practices.
Financing Your Online Associate in Theology Program
Many students pursuing an online associate degree in theology are eligible for financial aid. Check with your school to verify if they offer any financial aid programs or scholarships to students in your field. Some schools offer theology specific, merit- or need-based fellowships. Every student should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This allows you to see how much federal aid you're eligible to receive.
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.
Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.
Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.