Top Online Religious Studies
Earning a degree in religious studies could potentially open the door to any numbers of careers, from ministry to teaching, counseling to writing. The ultimately goal of training in religious studies is to allow students to explore the fundamental structures of faith, world religion and culture. Online religious studies may focus on a singular faith (e.g. Judaism) or span across all religions.
As the publication date of this article, there are no comprehensive rankings of online religious studies programs available. However, in 2012 U.S. News & World Report ranked the top philosophy programs by university. Philosophy programs often entail or have a religious study focus. The following five universities were named as the best universities for philosophy programs in 2012:
1. University of Oxford
2. University of Cambridge
3. Harvard University
4. University of California, Berkeley
5. Princeton University
Sites like Council for Christian Colleges & Universities also maintain lists of accredited schools that offer religious studies programs.
Learn more about online religious courses and training
Pastoral counseling online
Online courses in pastoral counseling typically focus on the studies of humanities and behavioral sciences. Classes are not necessarily focused on Bible-based faiths, as pastoral counselors may be ministers, priests or rabbis. Online pastoral counseling schools can train you to assist families, individuals, couples and groups in various spiritual therapies to promote emotional and spiritual harmony. Professional organizations include the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.
You can study the nature of God and religious truth through online theology courses. If your goal is to become a minister, pastor, chaplain, missionary or religious educator, online courses in theology may be the right choice for a flexible learning path to obtain a theology degree from your home or office.
World religion studies online
The religious beliefs of all the world's inhabitants are based upon their relationship with a higher power. You can learn about the various spiritual and philosophical beliefs of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and other faiths to develop an understanding of various religious cultures and traditions across the globe.
Learn more about religious studies careers
Individuals who complete degree programs in religious studies often move into the clergy profession, which includes rabbis, preachers, pastors, vicars, imams, ministers. Those with a degree or training in religious studies may also seek employment in community-based and non-profit organizations as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), clergy earned a national annual wage of $44,140 median in 2011, with the highest 10 percent earning up to $78,42 nationally in 2011 and the lowest 10 percent earning up to $23,570 nationally in 2011 (BLS.gov, 2012).