Bible degrees offered through correspondence schools allow students to balance their schooling with jobs, families and other commitments. Training can be structured or self-paced and allows students the flexibility to work according to their own schedule. With a distance learning Bible degree, students can seek jobs in Christian counseling, church leadership and evangelism. The median annual wage of members of the clergy in May 2009 was $46,960, reports the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Correspondence schools that offer Bible degrees feature both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Students can earn a two-year associate's degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree online in biblical studies. An associate's degree is an option for students who are just beginning their college training in Bible studies; a bachelor’s degree is suitable for students who want to be qualified for pastoral ministry. Two-year master’s and three-year doctoral degree programs prepare students for leadership and administrative roles in a church or school; a doctoral degree program prepares students for research opportunities at universities.
Classes at a correspondence school that offers Bible degrees include topics such as the church and its doctrines, Bible study methods, the Old and New testaments, and spiritual life and community. Other classes cover biblical interpretation, Hebrew, Greek, pastoral ministry skills and contemporary theology. Students also can learn about the history of Christianity and study ethics and moral teachings. In addition, master’s degree students might have to complete a research thesis, while doctoral degree students might have to complete a research dissertation in order to graduate.
To complete training at a correspondence school that offers Bible degrees, students must check with their institution to make sure they meet the school’s technology requirements. For example, students generally must have access to a computer with high-speed Internet service because live lectures typically are run via streaming video. If students have to listen to a recorded lecture, they must be able to use an MP3 audio format. In addition, correspondence students might use CD-ROMs to access course materials as well as email and discussion boards to communicate with instructors and fellow students. Students should be able to access their course material 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Accreditation and Doctrines
Correspondence schools that offer Bible degrees, such as Patriot University, may be accredited by organizations such as the Accrediting Commission International. Christian Accreditation International and the Association of Christian Educators and Administrators also accredit schools including Christian Leadership University (see Resources). Accreditation of distance learning Bible degree colleges recognizes high standards of both biblical and academic training.
When looking for a Bible degree correspondence school, students also should inquire about the particular belief system of their school of interest, because institutions affiliated with different denominations feature various doctrines.
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