Best Online Associate in Ministry Programs
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An online associate in ministry prepares students for Christian-based careers like minister of a small church and director of youth ministry in the U.S. or abroad. Ministry programs offer students strong philanthropic skills that are useful in religious contexts, such as local churches, and in secular contexts, such as international relief organizations.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for jobs in ministry is projected to grow 5% to 8% between 2014 and 2024, which is an average rate of growth. While this degree is a good first step toward earning your master of divinity or theology and becoming a Christian minister, there are also several entry-level opportunities for graduates with associate degrees in this field.
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What are the Best Associate in Ministry Programs?
Here are our top 10:
|#1||City Vision University Kansas City, MO|
|#2||Manna University Fayetteville, NC|
|#3||Maranatha Baptist University Watertown, WI|
|#4||Johnson University Knoxville, TN|
|#5||Valor Christian College Columbus, OH|
|#6||The King's University Southlake, TX|
|#7||University of Valley Forge Phoenixville, PA|
|#8||Southeastern University Lakeland, FL|
|#9||Crown College Saint Bonifacius, MN|
|#10||Amridge University Montgomery, AL|
Related Programs That Might Interest You
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What's the Difference Between a Ministry, Theology, and Divinity Degree?
While ministry, theology, and divinity degrees are often referred to interchangeably, these degrees are actually separate programs. An associate in ministry is designed for individuals who are interested in supportive work in Christian churches and organizations. This degree provides students with a foundation in ministry, but it does not prepare them for pastoral ordination. A master of divinity degree takes about four to five years to complete and is typically designed for individuals interested in pastoral work; many Christian denominations require pastors to hold an MDiv degree. A bachelor or master of theology involves a more academic approach and features studies in church history, hermeneutics, theology, apologetics, and global studies.
Associate and bachelor's degrees in ministry provide students with the basic skills needed to work with Christian churches and organizations. This degree does not prepare students for ordination, although many graduates with ministry degrees continue their education and earn divinity or theology degrees. Ministry classes include biblical studies and youth and student ministries.
Possible Careers: Graduates with this degree earn positions as relief workers, missionaries, youth pastors, nonprofit workers, and directors of church groups and Christian organizations.
A master of divinity is a four to five year program that prepares students to be ordinated in a Christian church and to meet the leadership needs of Christian communities. Typical courses in this program include biblical studies, global and community engagement, and history of Christianity.
Possible Careers: This degree prepares individuals for careers as pastors, bishops, or higher education teachers. It also prepares them for secular careers in public arena advocacy, teaching, and counseling.
A bachelor or master of theology provides students with academic knowledge through the study of church history, global issues, and language. This degree often involves more extensive academic research, analysis, and writing than divinity or ministry degrees. Typical classes in theology programs include introduction to Islam and biblical Greek and Hebrew.
Possible Careers: A theology degree prepares individuals for careers as pastors, high school teachers, college professors, missionaries, and journalists.
Best Accredited Online Associate in Ministry Programs
What Will I Learn in an Online Ministry Program?
Classes, assignments, and skills acquired will vary depending on the program and school you choose for your online associate in ministry degree. However, below you can find a sample curriculum for this degree.
- Introduction to the Old Testament: This class examines the Old Testament through the lens of contemporary ministry. The course prepares students for work as Christian teachers, ministry directors, missionaries, and other Christian organization leaders.
- Church History: This course offers a survey of the movements and ideas that have influenced and formed the Christian church. Students will gain the foundational knowledge necessary to eventually become ministers, missionaries, and other Christian leaders.
- Systematic Theology: Offering a survey of the Christian belief system, this class considers a variety of perspectives on scripture but emphasizes those of the Christian church. The course prepares students for mission work and positions in other related fields.
What Can I Do With an Associate Degree in Ministry?
An associate degree in ministry prepares students for several occupational and educational paths. The degree provides students with a strong foundation in Christian teachings, and many students with associate degrees in ministry continue their studies and earn degrees in divinity or theology. While most graduates with this degree work in Christian fields and eventually become ministry directors or pastors, many graduates also work in secular fields, such as counseling, teaching, and nonprofit work. It is common for students with associate degrees in ministry to work as Peace Corps volunteers. This degree is a good fit for individuals who are already active in their churches and are interested in Christian leadership positions or Christian-based global nonprofit work. This degree is also fitting for individuals who have a gift for public speaking and teaching, are driven by a sense of personal calling rather than by a desire for financial success, and are interested in humanitarian work.
Youth pastors work with a church or Christian organization's youth population through outreach and other activities. These Christian leaders are responsible for organizing meetings, mission trips, fundraisers, and classes for middle school, high school and college students.
Median Annual Salary: $34,996
Relief workers typically work on the frontlines of recovering from natural or manmade disasters. Duties for this occupation include providing emergency aid, coordinating volunteers, and communicating with government agencies.
Median Annual Salary: $38,326
Director of Ministry
A director of ministry works as a leader in one of many specialized areas, including children's, ministry, single's, and senior adult ministry. Ministry directors perform management, administrative, and project management tasks.
Median Annual Salary: $41,773
An associate degree in ministry is a strong first step towards formal Christian training. Many individuals earn their associate ministry degrees in order to supplement their secular careers with leadership work in their church. Students who earn an online associate degree in ministry often transfer to a bachelor's program, which can make them more competitive candidates for jobs in ministry, worship, church leadership, education, and nonprofit work. A bachelor's degree in ministry also prepares students to earn a master of theology or divinity. Below are a few common degrees that individuals with an associate in ministry pursue.
- Bachelor's Degree in Ministry: A bachelor's in ministry allows students to complete advanced studies in Christian leadership skills. The degree emphasizes hands-on experiences in a church setting and the practical skills needed for global work and the knowledge of Christian belief systems.
- Bachelor's Degree in Christian Counseling: This degree provides students with a foundation in counseling from a Christian perspective. The degree focuses on theories of psychology and Christian counseling methods and prepares students for nonclinical positions in counseling and psychology.
- Bachelor's Degree in Biblical Studies: This degree involves a contextual and historical exploration of the Bible, including studies in the Old and New Testaments and in systematic theology. It prepares students for careers in advanced church ministry positions or for further studies in divinity and theology.
Salary Outlook for Associate in Ministry Graduates
The salary that you earn after receiving your associate in ministry depends on your position and employer. Graduates with ministry degrees often work in unpaid mission or relief work positions for a few years before moving on to paid positions. Below you can find information from PayScale for the median annual salaries for common ministry positions.
The salary you earn after earning your associate in ministry also depends on your level of experience and your location. Below, is a table with data from the BLS regarding the highest paying states for general clergy and ministry jobs. The table also features data regarding the estimated number of individuals working in clergy and ministry positions in each state.
|State||Hourly Mean Wage||Annual Mean Wage||Estimate of Employment|
Financing Your Online Associate in Ministry Program
Students enrolled in online associate in ministry programs can access several scholarships and grants from local churches and Christian organizations. While certain churches only offer scholarships to members, other organizations offer scholarships to any Christian students or to students from certain denominations. The Cannon Endowment Scholarship, for example, is awarded to students who are members of the Presbyterian church, the United Methodist church, the Christian Church Disciples of Christ, or the United Church of Christ. In order to better understand federal funding opportunities, make sure you complete a FAFSA form.
AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID
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.
UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA
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 STUDENTS
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.
SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS
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.
FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY
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.