Online Seminary Certificate Programs vs. Degrees: What to Know

Date Published

March 2, 2023

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Published by Calvin Seminary

If you’re looking to continue your learning through theological education, you may consider the options of a graduate seminary degree or a certificate program. Knowing the differences between these two options is crucial to making an informed decision.

Certificate vs. Degree

In general, certificates provide an expedited path to credentials in a chosen field. Academic degrees may take more time as their required coursework often reflects greater depth and breadth in an area of study.

Online Seminary Certificate Programs

What Is a Seminary Certificate?

A seminary certificate is a streamlined program that provides credentials for ministry. It is usually focused on a specific area of ministry and, depending on the certificate, may be eligible for completion in as little as one year.

Who Are Certificate Programs For?

Certificate programs are an excellent option for ministry leaders who have a degree but are seeking credentials in a specific area of their ministry. They can also help ministry volunteers gain further knowledge and training in their area of service.

What Can You Study in an Online Seminary Certificate Program?

The Certificate of Christian Leadership at Calvin Seminary is a leadership credential that allows you to choose a personalized concentration that suits your goals and calling:

  • Advanced Urban Ministry
  • Bible Instruction
  • Organizational Management and Administration
  • Discipleship and Faith Formation
  • Missional Ministry
  • Pastoral Care
  • Pastoral Ministry
  • Worship

What Can You Do with an Online Seminary Certificate?

Certificates are credentials that can potentially increase your chances of employment in ministry, demonstrating core competencies in your area of focus. Choose a concentration that is closest to the role you desire to best prepare you for your future ministry tasks.

Online Seminary Degrees

What Is an Online Seminary Degree?

An online seminary degree is a term applied to a seminary degree earned from a distance. At Calvin Seminary, our degree programs offer rich coursework from expert professors, no matter the delivery method.

Who Are Online Seminary Degree Programs For?

Online seminary degree programs are ideal for those looking to begin or further their ministry without being tied to the location of their seminary of choice.

Types of Online Seminary Degree Programs

Calvin Theological Seminary offers several distance learning degree programs (online and/or hybrid offerings):

What Can You Do with an Online Seminary Degree?

Earning your online seminary degree is only the beginning. Consider the wide range of career opportunities available to you within traditional church ministry and in any field that requires thoughtful, ethical, and interpersonal work.

Options for Continuing Your Biblical Education Online

1. Take a Self-Guided Class

Calvin’s life long learning classes are affordable, self-guided courses which allow you to dig deeper into a theological subject. These classes can be taken at your own pace and are accessible for one year. They are not credited courses and do not count toward a degree program.

2. Audit a Class

Audit an online or hybrid course through Calvin Seminary at a lower cost than credited learning. You will not receive credit, nor will you have required assignments.

3. Get an Online Seminary Certificate

If you don’t wish to pursue a full seminary degree program, consider earning expedited credentials through Calvin’s trusted certificate program.

4. Complete a Seminary Degree Online

Consider Calvin’s fully online degrees (Master of Arts in Bible and Theology, Master of Arts in Christian Leadership, and Certificate in Christian Leadership) and hybrid offerings.

5. Explore Free Resources

Calvin Theological Seminary offers a wide variety of complimentary resources for you, including stories from The Forum, blogs, articles, and podcasts, and materials from our renowned centers and institutes.

Pursue an Online Seminary Certificate or Degree at Calvin

If you are ready to begin either a certificate or degree program with Calvin Seminary, take the next step by requesting information below:


Visit Calvin Theological Seminary’s Campus

We can’t wait to host you on campus! Schedule your visit today, or, if you need more time to find a date that works for you, please request information so we can continue the conversation about supporting your calling!