How Long Does It Take To Become An Ordained Minister?

It may take longer to become a pastor in one church than another because the standards for ordination differ by denomination and by the specific congregation. 

An MDiv curriculum typically lasts three years, and the candidacy process in some churches may take two or three years to complete.

Here is what you should know if you have the question, “How long does it take to become an ordained minister?

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What is an Ordained Minister School Like?

An ordained minister is a person whom a church or other religious organization has permitted; usually, one that belongs to the Christian faith, to perform various spiritual functions like weddings, funerals, and baptisms as well as, more broadly, to offer spiritual guidance to the neighborhood. 

Depending on their reasons for seeking ordination as well as time and financial constraints, prospective pastors may advance toward ordination along a standard path or a nontraditional path.

To become an ordained minister, you must complete several educational prerequisites. Those who have been ordained typically major in theology, business, or psychology. 

A bachelor’s degree is held by 47% and a master’s degree by 25% of ordained ministers, respectively. To more thoroughly research the subject of ordained minister education, we discovered these by reviewing 281 ordained minister resumes. 

Central State University and Western Michigan University are where students most frequently study to become ordained ministers. 

Several online courses that can aid in the education of ministers for individuals who would prefer to spend the day in their jammies are also available.

Is Attending an Ordination School Worth it?

In Exodus 28–29 and Leviticus 8–9, the ritual for the ordination of Aaron and his sons as priests is explained in great detail (cf. Sirach 45:15–17). 

These were consecrated from among the covenant people, the holy nation, and the kingdom of priests to instruct the people in the law and perform sacrifices (Ex. 19:6).

Aside from God calling you into the ministry, learning about the word of God is necessary to prosper in your ministry. Going to school is worth every bit to advance knowledge in theology and other aspects. 

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What Schooling Do You Need to Become an Ordained Minister?

Obtaining a degree is sometimes one of the criteria to be ordained as a clergyman. A master’s degree in divinity or ministry is typically required for ordination, while an undergraduate degree may be acceptable. 

You’ll need to fulfill the requirements for ordination credentials granted by a congregation or a denomination. Additionally, you must possess sound judgment and effective speaking and listening abilities.

Step1: Research Denominational Requirements 

Since there are no universally accepted guidelines for ordination, you must learn about the prerequisites for ordination in your church or denomination. 

The easiest way to get started is to speak with the church’s minister. He or she can go over the ordination process. The minister can help the interested party get started on the candidacy process by outlining the steps and qualifications for ordination. 

Visit the denomination’s official website. The ordination procedure is typically covered on denominational websites. Since some regional governing bodies may have different procedures than others, large denominations may point interested parties to a regional webpage.

Step 2: Start the application process to become an ordained pastor 

The first step in the candidacy process for ordination is frequently a meeting with a church committee. Together, the committee and you will decide whether or not you possess the moral character required for ordained ministry. 

After meeting the denominational officials, you may begin a formal application process to be recognized as a ministerial candidate in some denominations. 

Step 3: Pick a school and complete a degree in ministry 

Most denominations, but not all, demand that clergy completes an educational program before being ordained. 

Although some faiths also recognize bachelor’s degrees or other types of educational certificates obtained at undergraduate institutions or Bible institutes, many obtain their ministry education by enrolling in a Master of Divinity degree program at a theological seminary.

Think about a school that is supported by your denomination. The easiest place to find these courses is typically at an affiliated school. Many denominations demand that ministry candidates complete coursework in the denominational policy. 

Complete clinical pastoral education, field education, or internships (CPE). You might work as a student minister or intern at a church while finishing your degree program, depending on the school’s and the denomination’s policies and your personal career goals. 

People who want to become chaplains or pastoral counselors frequently finish their CPE by working in a hospital’s chaplaincy department.

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Step 4: Attend pastoral interviews and complete ministry evaluations

You might have to undergo many interviews and assessments as part of the application process. You might also be required to undergo a psychiatric test, give the denomination a copy of your credit report, and submit to a background investigation in addition to the others.

Also, you may request a meeting with one or more committees to explore your theology, spiritual journey, doctrine, and future ministry plans. 

Step 5: Receive ordination 

You can arrange an ordination ceremony if you satisfy the requirements for becoming a pastor. According to religion or denominational doctrine, these ceremonies differ greatly. Usually, a senior clergyman, bishop, or denominational representative conducts the ceremony. 

Step 6: Look for an Ordained Minister Position 

If you aren’t already working in the church, you should start looking for employment. In some faiths, a bishop or other official will place you in a church or ministry setting. In contrast, in others, clergy are expected to find employment by approaching congregations or other organizations looking for a minister. 

You must fulfill the requirements established by your church to be ordained as a minister, which may include going through assessments and interviews and obtaining a college degree.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Licensed Ordained Minister?

It may take longer to become a pastor in one church than another because the standards for ordination differ by denomination and by the specific congregation. An MDiv curriculum typically lasts three years, and the candidacy process in some churches may take two or three years to complete.

How Much Does it Cost to Become an Ordained Minister?

Most of the time, the religious institution that offers online ordination sets the price. The majority of religious organizations charge for becoming ordained. This could include a small cost or several thousand dollars and several years of seminary study. 

Online ordination with American Marriage Ministries is free. They offer free ordination. If you want to conduct wedding ceremonies, they think there shouldn’t be any fees associated with becoming ordained.

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Salary and Job Outlook for Ordained Minister after Study

A pastor or minister might work in a variety of settings. The most well-known situation would be a church, where you would serve as the spiritual advisor to a membership. You would oversee the church’s day-to-day operations in this role, preach on Sundays, and provide pastoral care to the congregation. Your church may be a modest-sized church or a massive megachurch. 

Alternately, pastors serve as spiritual counselors for military personnel and their families in the military, on cruise ships for vacationing spiritual seekers, or even on television or the internet. These days, you might be able to locate a congregation by using YouTube videos or some other resource.

You may have a spiritual calling to serve people as a writer or researcher. You could therefore work in academia or even independently as a writer. 

Also, you may produce a small magazine or subscription newsletter as a vehicle for your message. Your work can take the form of inspiring writing, scriptural interpretation, or focused efforts to help people overcome drug addiction or resolve marital conflict.

Ministers can also be seen working in third-world missions abroad, helping the residents there who require tools for sustainable agriculture, clean water, and medical care. 

Other missions might involve assisting the sick or destitute in the United States in finding respite from their conditions and possibly rising above them. In essence, obligations and a purpose can be found anywhere there is a need for a spiritual message.

This job path has a promising future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this profession is expected to grow by an average of 8% through 2026. 

Thus, you can be guaranteed to find a congregation in almost any developing town or city across the country. Additionally, according to the BLS, the occupation’s typical annual compensation in 2017 was $47,100, which is a livable wage in most places. 

Remember that part of your salary may include a rectory, parsonage, or other house held by the church for you and your family.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are all Baptist pastors divinity school graduates? 

No, not necessarily, but this is the most typical route for pastors. 

Do I need to be ordained to officiate at weddings? 

To officiate a wedding, you must be ordained in most Christian religions. To conduct a legally binding ceremony, you must often have received ordination, which is a requirement under the law in many places.

Do I have to be a Christian to join the Order? 

Yes. You should presumably be a Christian if you want to be an ordained pastor in the Christian religion. To be an ordained pastor in another denomination, however, you must belong to that faith.

Is There an Age limit to Become an Ordained Minister?

There is no age restriction for participating in peaceful rituals and duties like as baptism, burial, teaching, and preaching.


To become a teacher, priest, pastor, or rabbi within their respective faiths, one must complete extensive training and education requirements in most traditional religions (Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, etc.).


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