There are some who wish to make a living doing something that transcends the typical idea of a career. Something that makes a difference in the lives of people in their community. Something that allows them to express their religious convictions and live a life immersed in their faith. If you feel that you have a special gift to give because of your faith, and would like to make a career helping others through your religious practice, then you are likely seeking to study theology.
A theology degree is very versatile. There are programs designed for a particular faith, and other programs that provide comparative religion or general religion classes. A theology graduate might take up the pulpit, become a preacher or a clergyman. Some use theology degrees to become counselors, helping others grow and overcome hardship using their religious faith to augment traditional counseling skills. Others use the degree to work with inter-faith groups, promoting dialogue and cooperation between followers of different faiths. Still others use the degree to become professors or teachers in the field.
Many are called to serve in ministry of one sort or another early in life and begin their degree in theology right out of high school. However it is also common to see students who have been in the workforce in some other capacity deciding to study theology as a way to move to a different career. For those who may have families or other obligations that make it impossible to attend school full time, several on line degree options are available. Fortunately, many traditional theology schools have also begun offering on line degree programs, so you can get your degree at a well-established school with a proven track record of quality education. These schools are generally well-known and have a great reputation.
If you follow a particular denomination and are considering becoming a pastor or other religious leader within that denomination, you will likely need a Master's Degree in Theology. It is helpful to approach the leaders in that denomination first before choosing a school or a particular program. Often they will be able to provide guidance for you on the denomination's expectations for new pastors. They will be able to recommend specific degree programs and paths. Also, many denominations have an internal process for becoming a religious leader or pastor that might include more steps than just getting your degree. It is important to speak to someone before you begin making choices on schools or degree programs, so you understand completely the organizations process for accepting a new pastor.
A degree in theology is extensive and will require a lot of study and hard work. Still, for those who hear the call to serve, it is a labor of love and well worth the time. A religious career can be an extremely rewarding and influential career that can allow you the opportunity to enrich the lives of many people, while serving your Higher Power.