How to Evaluate Online Theology Degrees
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How to Evaluate Online Theology Degrees

This article specifies some of the important factors to consider before beginning a course of study online in theology. So much of the world's business is conducted on the Internet that we should be aware of the criteria to look for in the field of theology.

You can get almost anything online now—even a theology degree, but whether it will be meaningful in the way you want to use it takes some forethought.

• Why do you want a theology degree?If you want a more complete knowledge of the Bible, there are lots of ways to get it without the time investment and study requirement of an academic degree. Many churches have free Bible studies. The free lessons may have a theological or doctrinal view that is different from yours. Make sure you understand the position of the author. If you want to work in a church as a pastor or a youth pastor or any other job that requires ordination, you will need to look further at the degree.

• What does your denomination or your church require for the job you are seeking?Before you decide on the school and the degree plan you want to pursue, you should first find out what credentials you church or denomination requires. Many schools have affiliations with churches and denominations and support the same view of scripture and tenants of faith. Make sure yours are compatible.Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention, but you should not assume that they are acceptable to all Baptist Churches or associations.

• What is the cost of an online degree?The cost of an online degree may be the same per hour as attending classes on campus. You would not have to live in a dorm or travel to get to class. The school may provide materials in a PDF format for free. You will probably have access to the library facilities, too. Liberty University Online is half the cost of Kaplan and Phoenix according to their calculations. Trinity offers free tuition to theology students totally online. They offer a large number of courses and degrees; however they are still seeking accreditation.

What does accreditation mean?Accreditation is awarded to schools whose classes and formats conform to standards set by accrediting agencies or associations. The U. S. Department of Education says, “The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality.” Accreditation also means that courses are transferrable to other schools and colleges.  Without accreditation the piece of paper with your name and degree carries very little weight.

• How can online education accommodate you?

Some classes can be accessed any time. Other classes, like the SALT (School of Leadership Training) program at Hope International University, partners with local congregations to provide on-the-job experiences for students. Some programs include webinars and online discussions.  Check out all the provision before you enroll.

Before you commit time, money, or study to a program, answer the questions presented here for yourself. You may need to do additional research, get the advice of a pastor, or call the school.

Source: U.S. Department of Education

Bible Study Lessons by David E. Pratte

Campbellsville University

Liberty Online Degrees

Trinity

Hope International University

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Comments (2)

Informative article, thanks.

Glad I could hlep. Thanks for readning and responding.

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