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How do I Find the Right Bible College?

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr, studioD

A Bible college might offer you a better education than a secular college or university if you desire a career in ministry or a quality Bible education. Choosing the right Bible college depends on your denomination and career plans. A denomination, such as the Roman Catholic Church, could require ministerial candidates to attend a college affiliated with its denomination while others have an open policy for undergraduate education.

Finding an Accredited College

Ensure that the Bible college is accredited, because many are not, and your undergraduate degree will not be accepted by some graduate schools. Ensure that its standards are comparable to other colleges you could attend. Contact the registrar's office at the college and ask if the college is accredited; if it is, find out who accredits the institution. You want to hear that the college is accredited by organizations such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools or Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, Accreditation Commission. If the college does not hold national accreditation, ask what schools accept its diplomas for graduate courses.

Ministerial Career Plans

Ministerial careers include options other than pastoring a church, so ask what your denomination requires of those who serve in Christian education, youth or music ministry and chaplaincy or as ordained ministers. Verify whether your denomination accepts degrees from Bible colleges outside your denomination. Make a list of the coursework your denomination prefers for those in your chosen career path and verify that you will meet those requirements when you graduate. For example, if you want to be an ordained minister, you need training in church finances, counseling and church administration in addition to Bible study, sermon writing and church history.


Private colleges often cost more than secular colleges and might have limited funding for scholarships and tuition discounts. Some Bible colleges require students to live on campus, which increases the educational costs. If you are already married or planning to marry soon, some Bible colleges have limited options for families. If you’re an average, young college student, living and working off campus might not be a major concern. Contact prospective colleges to discuss your needs and their requirements. Explore the options of attending classes online or a combination of online and on-campus courses to accumulate the credits you need to meet your career goals.

Quality Education and Class Size

Many Bible colleges are small compared to state colleges and universities. Smaller classes can mean more contact with the instructors and more help if you have difficulties with a class. It can also mean more limited class options and difficulty getting all the classes you need if you must work while you attend college or have family responsibilities. Check out the class catalog to verify that you have various options for completing degree requirements on time. Also verify that the instructors at the Bible college have the career experience and quality education you need for the cost of your education. For example, if you want to pastor a church, it’s helpful to have several instructors who have pastoral experience in addition to academic credentials.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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