Theology professors are hired by a wide variety of colleges, universities and seminaries around the globe. They are primarily responsible for teaching students the basics of theology and offering specialty courses in areas such as systematic theology, hermeneutics, liberation theology, womanist theology, feminist theology and more. Requirements for being hired as a theology professor vary from institution to institution, but some tend to be consistent across the board.
Education is just about the most important requirement for becoming a theology professor. Professors must obtain a high school diploma and a four-year college degree. The college degree could be in religion or in another subject area. Theology professors must also obtain master's level education. Some professors hold master of divinity degrees, while others opt for master of theology degrees. While some institutions will hire a theology professor with only a master's level degree, most schools require that the candidate possess a Ph.D. or Th.D. in an area such as theology, systematic theology, applied theology or pastoral theology. Some hiring institutions also like to see a high GPA in a student entering her first professorship.
Theology professors generally need some teaching experience before a hiring institution will consider them for a position. Most graduate students get the opportunity to be a teaching assistant sometime during their education. Others may lead bible studies or Sunday school classes in their congregations, or volunteer their teaching services for a community education course. Many graduate theology students also participate in presenting seminars on subject matters pertaining to their theses and get teaching experience in this way. A candidate with a good theological education, high GPA and lots of teaching experience will have a better chance at landing a job than someone who has no teaching experience at all.
Expertise and Passion
Seminaries and other institutions of higher learning want to hire theologians who have an expertise and passion for their subject areas. They may be interested in reading the candidate's doctoral thesis, or in how many books and articles a particular candidate has published. Theology professors need to have special knowledge to offer their students and a passion that is contagious and makes the students want to learn more. Many hiring institutions will have candidates preach in chapel, perform a series of lectures or even teach a class or two in order to get a feel for how he interacts with students and fits into the community.
Anne Kinsey is a writer, business woman, minister and coach who is passionate about inspiring others to walk out their career dreams and believe in possibilities. She resides in rural North Carolina with her husband and three children, where they enjoy the great outdoors and serve at-risk youth together.