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Ordained Minister Requirements

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People interested in becoming ordained ministers can choose from both traditional and nontraditional paths on the road to their chosen profession. The steps that they choose to follow in order to become ordained will likely depend on their religious background and reasons for choosing ordination as well as time constraints and financial concerns.

Traditional Ordination

Becoming an ordained minister in the traditional manner first requires a bachelor’s degree in a related field and then successful completion of a seminary program. In order to be accepted to a seminary program, you must first undergo an admissions interview and be sponsored by your chosen denomination. Depending on the school’s program of study and your own personal preferences, completion of the seminary program takes approximately four to eight years.

Other Seminary Requirements

During the course of your program of study, you will likely have to undergo personality screenings and assessments and may have to complete training in counseling and clinical pastoral education, in order to prepare you for your duties as a minister. Many programs also require candidates to complete internships in order to gain hands-on pastoral experience.

Non-Traditional Ordination

For individuals who are interested in becoming ordained ministers solely for the purpose of performing marriages, there are many programs available online that require little or no academic preparation. Some require you to make a statement of belief or faith in a God or deity before issuing a certificate of ordination, while others simply require you to fill out a short form and in some cases, pay a fee for the certificate of ordination. In some states, you may also be required to register your ordained status in order to be legally recognized.