Missouri finds itself following national norms in many instances, such as education and employment, but religiously, Missouri differs from the nation a bit. Statewide, Missouri is largely Protestant. More than 60% of Missourians identify as Protestant, compared to 51% nationwide, though the state’s Catholic population — 18% of the state — is lower than the national average of 24%. The number of religiously unaffiliated Missourians, 16%, is in line with the national average. Many Missourians, 77%, are absolutely certain there is a God, compared to 71% nationally, and religion is “very important” to 59% of Missouri residents, compared to 56% nationwide.
Education in Missouri
Missouri is home to more than 130 colleges and universities, including several Christian colleges. Christian colleges in Missouri run the gamut in size and denomination. The state is home to one of the largest Christian colleges in the country, Disciples of Christ-affiliated Columbia College, which is home to more than 18,000 students.
Students interested in a smaller environment may be interested in one of the small Missouri Christian colleges, such as tiny Saint Louis Christian University in Florissant or Ozark Christian College in Joplin. They could also choose from mid-sized Missouri Baptist University in Saint Louis or smaller Presbyterian College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout.
As a state, Missouri’s higher education system hovers around national norms — sometimes higher than national averages and sometimes lower. The state’s high school seniors average a 21.6 on the ACT, compared to 21.1 nationwide. The state graduates 49.5% of its Hispanic college students, compared to 47.8% nationwide.
But the state’s overall college graduation rate of 54.5% is lower than the national average of 56%, and the state percentage of the population with a bachelor’s degree or higher, 25%, is lower than the national average of 28%. While the state’s college enrollment has increased steadily, its 18.8% growth from 2005 to 2010 lags behind the national average of 20.2%.
Working in Missouri
Missouri colleges bear great responsibility in training the state’s future workforce. The state overall expects to gain more than 105,000 jobs by 2018, an increase of 3.9%. Of the top 10 occupations with the fastest projected growth, four of them are in health care, and the rest are in information technology, finance, and research. The fastest-growing occupations include biomedical engineers, with 62.3% growth; biochemists and biophysicists, at 45%; financial examiners, at 33.5%; athletic trainers, at 33.5%; and network systems and data communications analysts, at 30.2%.
To be prepared for the state’s current and future economy, students in Missouri may be interested in pursuing degrees in biochemistry, engineering, finance, exercise science, or computer science. One benefit Missouri students have is colleges’ allocation of funding to life sciences, which include biology and chemistry. Nationally, colleges allocate 57% of their research funds to life sciences; Missouri’s colleges allocate 73.7% of research spending to life sciences.
Missouri’s Christian colleges offer degrees in all of these fields, but students at Christian colleges have the added advantage of education with a Christian worldview, and education that can provide Christian leadership skills. Students can also earn degrees or minors in Bible, theology, Biblical languages, Christian counseling, or youth ministry. To find the Christian college in Missouri that’s right for you, search our list below.