A passion for the word and a desire to delve further into the teachings of Jesus Christ can lead you to a lucrative and rewarding career path. A degree from an online bible college can offer a graduate the chance to put their faith to the test while helping others. However, many students find the cost of college to be overwhelming and an obstacle to achieving their dreams of serving the lord and others.

Before embarking on a path to a degree in religious studies, there are a few things to consider, including what you plan to do with the degree and where you may hope to work, such as in the field, a college or school or abroad.

Tuition-Free Accredited Online Bible Colleges

There are numerous tuition-free accredited online bible colleges that offer free programs for those who are searching for a spiritual experience, to delve further into religious studies to pursue career goals or increase their knowledge to gain experience in the field of ministry.

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Some colleges combine paid courses with their free online courses for those who may want to teach or pursue a career that requires certifications or other accreditation.

Salary Expectations for Religion-Related Careers

A degree in theology can lead to a plethora of careers in the field of ministry as well as other areas. A theology student can earn an excellent salary in a wide variety of places and settings. Typically, those who study religion and complete a degree at a tuition free online bible college and seminary will pursue a job in teaching or ministry, which can be wide ranging in pay.

Depending on the location, country, foundation or corporation backing the position, a graduate can find a worthy and rewarding position in the low five figures to a more lucrative and rewarding job in the low to mid six figures.

A religious school teacher can pull in anywhere from $20,000 at a high-risk, low income public school in the United States or upward of $75,000 at a private institution. The annual median salary range is from $47,000 to $51,000. That number is doubled for college faculty who can teach Philosophy of Religion, Christian Education, Religious History or another related religious subject.

Jobs for Religious Study Students

From highly specialized positions at major higher learning institutions to lucrative jobs in mainstream industries, the prospects for a theology graduate are endless. Whether you wish to work close to home in a big, plush office or in the fields of far-off places, there are a bevy of positions available to those who hold a theology degree. Many jobs in the field of theology offer competitive salaries that also allow you to put your faith to work each and every day.

Some job positions that are equal part missionary, minister and anthropologist require you to immerse in the culture to gain trust. This will require you to learn the native language and possibly live under harsh conditions to complete the job and be effective in your work from the local chapter of a non-profit to far-flung outposts of those looking for guidance within your faith.

Careers after tuition free online Christian colleges include:

  • Social worker at a state or local agency or private non-profit organization
  • Volunteer recruiter for hospitals, charities, non-profit organizations
  • Executive director of a religious-affiliated school
  • Writer or reporter for media outlets from television to print as well as internet bloggers
  • Fund-raising specialist for non-profit agencies on the local, state and federal level. This can be a highly lucrative position for graduates.
  • For graduates who are adept at other languages, bible translators are sought after and can pull in around $50,000 to start with a job with relief agencies.

Accredited Online Schools

No matter what program you choose, make sure that it is accredited. Tuition-free accredited online bible colleges have been proven to have a uniform and sound program for graduates to gain the best experience. Don’t waste your time on a program that can fall apart or offer diminished results due to poor quality in texts or staff.

Employers will also judge your experience based on the school where you completed your higher education and the program that it offers. Taking the step to study the words, teachings and meanings of the Christian religion shows your commitment. Choosing an accredited school is important to get the most out of your vow to learn and spread the word of God.

There are three common national accreditation agencies. These include:

  • Distance Education & Training Council (DETC)
  • Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)

Regional accreditation boards include:

  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • North Central Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Benefits of Online Courses

Some may still wonder if an online college program that results in a degree is as valuable as a traditional four-year diploma that is earned on a campus and in the classroom. Online service learning in the field of ministry has become a common feature in the curricula of a slew of universities and colleges across the United States and around the world.

  • An online course can be beneficial to high school students, graduates and professional people for many reasons
  • Reduced or zero costs
  • Flexible hours and freedom to take classes at an accelerated or slower pace depending on the student’s personal obligations, work schedule or other issues
  • Increased instruction and access to an online community that shares the same goals
  • An online course can expand a student’s networking opportunities

AMES International School of Ministry

There are completely free courses available at this accredited online college that also offers affordable credits for students to transfer if needed. Students who enroll in this bible college online program can take the 22 courses for free. All of the free programs can be downloaded, and you get a PDF Certificate of Completion, although no official college credits or transcript will be given.

Typically, the free program is used by students who are currently living overseas or below the poverty line. The minimum payment for the courses is $20 to receive credit. This makes the entire course $0 and therefore one of the more affordable online bible programs available to students seeking to work in the ministry field.

Students may also begin the course and switch to the accredited program later. The courses that they completed can become accredited when you pay. This is an excellent option for students who are considering a career in a field related to religion and can be eligible for a position after completing a good portion of the program and then pay for the accreditation as they wrap up the course work.

Northwestern Theological Seminary

What makes Northwestern Theological Seminary unique is that it doesn’t require any standard tuition. Instead, they make a Love Offer. If accepted, the student will agree to pay a Love Offer within the range that is established in the Application for Enrollment.

It is mainly a graduate school, although it does accept bachelor's degree candidates for specific parts of its program. It is an affordable and streamlined program aimed at those who have a calling for the ministry.

This Christian ministry offers new ways of thinking to challenge their knowledge and faith in religion. Students take this involved Christian program due to a strong desire to serve others, have a closer experience with God, grow spiritually and explore deeper meanings of religion and how to assist others along their path among other meaningful pursuits.

Christian Leaders Institute

Those who feel moved to be a larger part of the Christian movement can enroll at this college without a high school degree. Credits gained at this Christian college can be transferred to Christian Leaders College and students who earn a bachelor's of divinity can transfer credits to many accredited institutions.

The classes are made free to students of this program through a generosity-driven model that the university has created. Foundations, individuals and fellow churches offer funds so that students can complete the program with no obligations to pay. A legitimate ordination process in which a student’s ordination is included in a global directory is made possible through the Christian Leaders Alliance partnership with the institute

Candidates need to complete a two-hour Getting Started class online. There are more than 200 credit hours available for online instruction for those who are pursuing continuing education or Christian growth. The Christian Leaders Institute also offers training and credentials for volunteer ministry positions or paid positions.

Trinity College of Biblical Studies

The class work for this free Bible College is well organized and detailed. All course work to complete the program is available for free online. The requirements for each class are laid out neatly in the syllabus or the first page of the class instruction.

To receive credit, the student must officially register for Trinity College classes and forward their completed course work to Mentor. Trinity College of Biblical Studies offers bachelor’s degrees in pastoral care, church history, divinity, theology, biblical studies and more. Students can work at their own pace in small online classes led by experienced instructors.

Students enrolled in the program are encouraged to attend archaeological field trips to holy sites. Graduates receive a Bachelor of Biblical Studies and receive ordination. They are prepared to work in church agencies, teaching ministries and other leadership roles.

Christ Jesus University

The non-profit, evangelical non-denominational Bible College and Seminary provides classical and traditional education with an emphasis on revealing the individual student’s God-given spiritual gifts. The school has an extensive mentor program to allow the students to explore their unique relationship with God and commitment to spiritual service.

Students can take programs that specialize in the following:

  • Divinity
  • Christian Counseling
  • Theology
  • Life Coaching
  • Religious Philosophy

The College of the Arts trains future spiritual leaders with training seminars, public speaking workshops and martial arts.

Grand Canyon University Online

Students from all faiths are invited to attend this interdenominational university that has been a leader in religious education for more than 65 years.

There are a few free online courses that you can take to prepare for a position that requires a deeper knowledge of the Christian faith. The online bible college programs are designed to offer students a Christ-centered focus at a lower cost. The fully accredited online and graduate program allows students to work and take care of family and finances.

The online degree is available in the following programs:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Counseling
  • Nursing
  • Health care

About the Author

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.