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For many people in the ministry, a distance learning Bible college may be the most practical option for continuing ministry education. Choosing the best distance learning Bible college requires that you consider the school's reputation and accreditation, the requirements of your employer and denomination, as well as your financial and time constraints. After considering all of these factors, you can select the Bible college that best meets your needs.
The advantages of a distance learning Bible college to someone who is already engaged in active ministry are considerable. Leaving a church or ministry to attend Bible college or seminary is often not an option because of your present responsibilities. At the same time, it is important to be on your guard against distance learning schools that exist primarily as diploma mills, earning money for those who run them but not providing quality education to students.
Always be sure to verify the accreditation status of any Bible college. If it is not accredited by a recognized accrediting body in the country where you live, be wary. If you graduate from such a Bible college, your degree may actually work against you in trying to find employment, and you may not be able to transfer your educational credits to another school. In addition, some graduate programs in seminaries may not recognize your unaccredited Bible college degree, requiring you to repeat your education before you can pursue other academic goals.
Another significant consideration is whether the Bible college of your choice is acceptable to your employer, church, or denomination. For example, some denominations and churches hold to very specific doctrinal positions and may not recognize or approve of education received from an institution that does not conform to their positions. In addition, you should consider a distance learning Bible college that offers coursework and programming in the areas of ministry in which you practice. For example, if you plan on foreign missions work, select a school that offers specialization or educational opportunities in that area.
Each distance learning Bible college will set its own tuition and program schedule. Some schools may be more affordable than others, so if budgeting is a major concern for you, pay a lot of attention to costs. Some Bible colleges may also offer schedules that better meet your needs. For example, if you require flexibility in your educational schedule, it may be better to enroll in the school that does not require your attendance at online seminars or chat meetings. Asynchronous education will likely be the best option for you, so be sure to find out whether the online Bible college you are considering provides this option to its students.