Best Online Bible Colleges of 2022
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If you've ever felt a calling to work in Christian ministry, then you understand that knowing your vocation can feel powerful. The question is: How do you get there?
Bible colleges may be a good option for students who hope to work in fields like ministry and theology. These schools follow a biblically focused curriculum, preparing graduates for a career in their church. Unlike secular colleges — or even many private Christian colleges — they don't typically require students to take many arts and science subjects in their general education courses.
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This guide lists the best online Bible colleges. It also answers common questions about this unique pathway to ministry work.
What Is a Bible College?
Bible colleges operate as higher education institutes that focus on biblical courses and a theological and Christian-related curriculum. They typically prepare students for careers within the field of ministry or theology.
While many Bible colleges stick with academic programs like biblical studies or biblical theology, some branch out a bit more with their degree offerings. For instance, students may be able to enroll in areas like biblical counseling or music ministry.
Bible Colleges vs. Christian Colleges
At their core, Bible colleges and Christian colleges share many similarities. They both offer students a higher education founded on Christian theology, thought, and tradition. Students can usually pursue associate, bachelor's, or graduate degrees.
However, Bible colleges and Christian colleges differ in specific ways. Generally speaking, Christian colleges offer a greater variety of subjects in their curriculum, including arts and science courses. Bible colleges tend to follow a curriculum more narrow in scope, focusing more on Christian theology.
Students who may want to go into secular careers may prefer to attend Christian colleges because of the wider variety of coursework. In contrast, those who know they want to follow a career based in religion —such as Christian ministry or Christian education — may prefer a Bible college.
Featured Online Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
How Do I Choose a Bible College?
There are several important factors to keep in mind when choosing a Bible college. First and foremost, it's critical to know whether you want to focus exclusively on ministry-oriented curricula. If you want a broader education or think there's a chance you'll opt for a secular career in the future, finding a Bible college that offers more liberal arts or business classes may be important.
When it comes to accreditation, it's crucial to remember that not all Bible colleges carry the same accreditation you can expect to find at traditional colleges and universities. Look for accreditation from the Association for Biblical Higher Education to ensure that your Bible college meets quality education standards.
How Much Does It Cost to Go to a Bible College?
Like other institutions of higher education, the true cost of Bible college varies depending on the school. However, because Bible colleges are private institutions, you can expect the base tuition to be higher than tuition at a public college or university — especially compared to in-state institutions.
The out-of-pocket cost of your Bible college will be impacted by your enrollment status, the number of scholarships you receive, and whether or not your school offers any other types of financial aid. Additionally, online students may be able to save on tuition and fees compared to students who attend class in person.
What Kind of Degree Programs Are Offered at Bible Colleges?
While some Bible colleges only offer undergraduate degrees, others host programs at every level, including associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Many colleges also run certificate programs for students who prefer a less intensive academic option that can be completed within a year.
Bible colleges often grant biblical studies degrees and various ministry degrees, such as Christian ministries or intercultural ministries. You can also find colleges that run more niche programs, allowing students to major in subjects like Christian counseling, women in ministry leadership, or children and family ministry.
Colleges that offer graduate degrees might offer master's degrees in ministry or biblical theology. Graduate programs allow students to become experts in certain areas, like Christian apologetics, Bible exposition, or formational leadership.
Is Attending an Online Bible College a Good Idea?
Attending an online Bible college can be beneficial for many students. For example, distance learners can save on expenses, and the course content of many ministry-focused programs lends itself well to the online classroom. Participants can interpret scripture in online discussion groups and message boards.
Additionally, students enrolled at an asynchronous online Bible college can set their own schedules and study from anywhere with a stable internet connection. Cutting down on your daily commute can save time and money. Additionally, online programs may offer accelerated options for students who want to graduate ahead of schedule.
2022 Top Online Bible Colleges
The 10 best online Bible colleges listed in this ranking are all accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education. These schools are ranked based on their overall academic quality and online program offerings. Learn more about BestColleges' ranking methodology.
Frequently Asked Questions About Online Bible Colleges
Can I go to Bible college online?
Yes, you can go to Bible college online. Like other colleges and universities, Bible colleges have adapted to the 21st century. For many schools, that means offering online classes that students can fit into their otherwise busy schedules.
When researching online Bible colleges, make sure to look for programs that align with your lifestyle. For instance, some schools may offer synchronous courses. This means students must virtually attend remote lectures on a regular basis. Distance learners with unpredictable jobs may prefer asynchronous courses. This can allow them to view lectures on their own time.
Is Bible college the same as regular college?
Bible and secular colleges both offer students the chance to pursue degrees and prepare for their future careers. However, Bible colleges and secular colleges have a few main differences.
Bible college courses mainly focus on theology, Christian ministry, and other biblical topics. Although you may find some course offerings in other subjects, the goal of Bible colleges typically involves preparing students for Christian ministry.
In contrast, secular colleges usually include a variety of general education courses in the arts and sciences. Students can also choose from a much larger selection of majors — most of them unrelated to religion.
Are there any free online Bible colleges?
Although you'll be hard-pressed to find a completely free college, many Bible colleges do offer generous scholarships and financial aid packages. When carrying out your research, make sure to look at colleges' financial aid and tuition pages —the sticker price of tuition may be much higher than the out-of-pocket cost.
In addition, research outside scholarships and financial awards. Does your church offer aid to people going into ministry? Perhaps a community group gives money to college-bound students. Look into federal programs as well. You may qualify for federal student loans with low interest rates.
What accreditation should a Bible college have?
The accreditation process evaluates colleges and universities to make sure they offer students a high-quality education. The accrediting association that oversees many top Bible colleges is the Association for Biblical Higher Education. Look for schools accredited by this organization when carrying out your research.
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