Alaska is a majority Christian state, with 62% of residents professing belief in Jesus Christ. More than half of Alaskan adults believe strongly that God exists, and nearly as many pray at least once a day, although religious service attendance is somewhat lower than the national average. Featuring a larger-than-average Eastern Orthodox Christian population, Alaska's distinctive religious landscape is rooted in its unique history; first, as a Russian territory, and later as a Gold Rush destination for immigrants of all nationalities.
Alaska is a majority Christian state, with 62% of residents professing belief in Jesus Christ.
Pew Research Center
Thanks to this fusion of religious devotion and diversity, Alaska is home to numerous Bible colleges, Christian universities, and other faith-based institutions. Many of these schools are non-denominational and offer traditional undergraduate liberal arts programs in a Christian setting. Others feature theological or pastoral preparation programs for students interested in ministry or priesthood. Whether your goal is to receive ordination, understand your faith from an academic viewpoint, or simply earn a bachelor's degree in a faith-based environment, there's an Alaska Bible college that meets your needs.
Online Christian Colleges in Alaska
There are numerous advantages to attending an online Alaska Bible college. Combining the academic rigor of a traditional on-campus program with flexible scheduling and affordability, web-based degrees are ideal for working professionals, residents of rural areas, and individuals with family and church obligations. Online courses are generally identical to their on-campus counterparts, and are usually taught by the same faculty members. Many Christian colleges in Alaska offer faith-based academic programs in asynchronous, self-paced formats, which allow students to complete assignments and review course materials at any time. Self-paced coursework also takes less time to finish, and some candidates are able to earn their degrees in two years or less.
In addition to convenience, distance learning programs provide an economical alternative to the on-campus experience. By studying from home, you'll save money on transportation, housing fees, and additional charges for materials and facilities. Best of all, you won't miss out on being part of an authentic Christian community. Most online Christian colleges provide distance learners with a broad range of spiritual resources, including live-streamed worship services, discussion forums, and virtual meetups.
Finding the Right Christian College
While the process of choosing an Alaska Christian college might seem overwhelming at first, knowing what you want and what to expect will make the process much easier. There are several factors to consider as you explore online Christian colleges and universities throughout the state. Small campuses typically feature lower student-to-faculty ratios, which means more individual attention for students. Small schools often foster better opportunities for building relationships with professors and classmates. However, smaller Christian colleges in Alaska tend to be located in more rural areas, making service and volunteer work more difficult. Many have limited resources and fewer degree options for distance learners. However, others specialize in providing comprehensive online programs for nontraditional students.
Small campuses typically feature lower student-to-faculty ratios, which means more individual attention for students.
Your prospective major and degree level also play a large part in the decision-making process. While some Alaska Christian colleges offer liberal arts programs in addition to religious studies, others focus exclusively on ministry or theology. If you intend to pursue an advanced theology degree or enter the ministry or priesthood, a seminary school may be a more appropriate choice instead of a Christian liberal arts college. Different types of schools also have different codes of conduct and lifestyle guidelines. Campuses that prohibit co-ed housing may present certain difficulties for students, while some learners might prefer a same-sex educational setting. Some institutions require students to attend religious services or perform volunteer or mission work.
Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools
Bible schools and seminary schools share many similarities, but they're not quite the same. While both institutions offer religious education in a Christian environment, they take different approaches to instruction and often offer different programs. Whether you choose to attend a seminary or an Alaska Bible college is largely dependent on your academic history and the path you intend to take after graduation.
Bible colleges are Christian institutions that grant degrees at multiple educational levels. In addition to biblical and religious studies majors, they typically feature programs in other fields such as business or the social sciences. In addition, some online Christian colleges offer graduate-level pastoral preparation programs. Seminary schools focus exclusively on providing future pastors, priests, and ministers with advanced religious training. While admission requirements, curricula, and the type of degrees conferred tend to differ between denominations and individual seminaries, most offer instruction at the graduate and postgraduate levels.
Accreditation for Christian Colleges
As you search for the right Alaska Christian college, make sure you consider accreditation. A school's accreditation directly influences your academic and employment prospects, as well as your financial aid eligibility. Accredited institutions undergo a rigorous quality control assessment administered by organizations known as accrediting bodies. Accreditation ensures that schools maintain the highest academic, ethical, and financial standards. Only students at accredited colleges are eligible to receive federal financial aid.
Schools may be regionally or nationally accredited, depending on the organization that assesses them. Typically, for-profit, vocational, and technical schools receive national accreditation, while public nonprofit academic institutions receive regional accreditation. Regionally accredited schools usually meet higher standards than nationally accredited schools. While credits earned at regionally accredited colleges easily transfer to other institutions, credits from nationally accredited schools are more difficult to transfer. In addition, some employers prefer to hire candidates from regionally accredited institutions.
Some organizations also grant specialized accreditation. Many Christian colleges receive accreditation from groups such as the Association for Christian Colleges and Seminaries. The U.S. Department of Education website hosts a database of accredited colleges, universities, and programs.
Career and Salary Expectations
While Alaska is known throughout the country for its high cost of living, its residents also earn more than workers elsewhere. Alaska's mean hourly wage of $27.77 is significantly higher than the national average of $24.34. However, Alaska also leads the nation in unemployment. With 7.2% of Alaskans out of work, the state's unemployment rate is nearly double the national average. A challenging climate, relative isolation, and changes to environmental regulations have all contributed to economic conditions. Traditional occupations such as mining and logging are also on the decline.
Alaska's mean hourly wage of $27.77 is significantly higher than the national average of $24.34.
Some sectors, however, are experiencing significant growth, especially the health and social services field. While many occupations face limited growth or a marked reduction in job openings, the market for religious program directors, social workers, and counselors has increased over the past several years. For those interested in pastoral or social and community service roles, Alaska presents a broad range of opportunities to help others. The table below lists some of the most popular social service occupations in the state and their average salaries.
|Occupation||Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||290||$26.10||$54,280|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||40||$32.80||$68,230|
|Mental Health Counselors||650||$31.50||$65,520|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||1,290||$23.62||$49,130|
|Healthcare Social Workers||370||$30.14||$62,690|
|Social and Human Service Assistants||1,350||$17.23||$35,840|
|Directors, Religious Activities and Education||40||$29.22||$60,770|
|Religious Workers, all other||N/A||$15.53||$32,290|
Scholarships and Financial Aid
Students attending Christian colleges in Alaska have a multitude of scholarships to choose from, including awards specifically for Alaska residents. Many Christian denominations, individual churches, and religious organizations also offer scholarships and fellowships for students studying religion or attending online Christian colleges. Below are only a few of the awards available.
Mary E. Bivins Religious Scholarship Program $2,500-$3,500
Malta Scholarship $1,000
Presbyterian Mission Agency Student Opportunity Scholarship $3,000
American Baptist Home Mission Societies Scholarships Varies
FTE Theological Fellowship for Doctoral Students of African Descent Varies
Scholarships for Alaska Residents
Alaska Education Grant $500-$4,000
JJ Klein Scholarship $10,000
Alaska Performance Scholarship Varies
BP Alaska Principal's Scholarship Program $4,000
Neal O. Thorpe Memorial Scholarship $7,500
Find a Church in Your Community
Students that relocate to Alaska Bible colleges may not be able to attend service in their usual church. Fortunately, there are many resources for students seeking a new place of worship. Sites like ChurchFinder and USA Churches offer state-based directories that let you refine your search by city, denomination, worship style, and church size.
Christian social networking and professional sites offer valuable opportunities to connect with other students attending Bible colleges in Alaska. Members can search for jobs, access professional and religious resources, and connect with potential employers.
- Christian Business Network This global online community of Christian professionals offers a wide variety of resources, including regional and industry-specific networking opportunities and resume services.
- American Christian Writers Writers of all kinds can benefit from joining this organization. The group offers manuscript critiquing services, correspondence courses, mentoring retreats, and digital and print publications.
- Association of Practical Theology This association promotes discourse in all areas of theological and religious study, and also maintains an extensive archive of scholarly theological publications and a members-exclusive job board.
Find Christian Ministries
While there are many Christian colleges in Alaska, some students may choose to attend a public school instead. Fortunately, many secular universities offer religious studies programs. Most public schools also host campus ministry organizations or Christian groups. The following organizations can be found on campuses nationwide.
- Campus Crusade for Christ With 2,300 campus ministries worldwide, Cru is one of the largest organizations of its kind. Outreach programs include athletic and marriage ministries, mission trips, and professional mentoring.
- Chi Alpha This campus ministry organization is affiliated with the Assemblies of God. However, Chi Alpha invites all Christian students to take part in its meetings, services, and events.
- International Fellowship of Evangelical Students Committed to developing Christian student leaders and enacting positive global changes, this association operates community development ministries in 15 countries.
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes FCA provides the spiritual resources necessary to engage, equip, and empower Christian college athletes and coaches. FCA represents more than 17,783 members worldwide.
- Catholic Campus Ministry Association By providing a national network for Catholic campus ministers and student leaders, this association strengthens and promotes Catholic community-building at colleges and universities.
- Lutheran Student Movement U.S.A. This student-led organization hosts on-campus and national gatherings, service-learning trips, and alternative spring break opportunities. Members include Lutheran college students, prospective ministers, and alumni.
- Reformed University Fellowship Through this organization, ordained ministers lead Bible study sessions, outreach groups, conferences, and other on-campus fellowship activities. The group operates on 140 U.S. campuses.
- UKirk This organization presents a wide range of service and employment opportunities for Presbyterian college students. UKirk sponsors several scholarships and grants, as well as fundraising resources.
- Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life Uniting Baptist students and youth ministers across North America, this group hosts collegiate church planting initiatives and networking events. It also produces its own podcast and Bible study plans.
Public Universities in Alaska with Christian Ministries
- University of Alaska, Anchorage Affiliated with BCMLife, Mosaic Campus Ministry offers weekly events, small group Bible studies, and informal gatherings. Its outreach program offers transportation services to needy students and remote villages.
- University of Alaska, Fairbanks The Campus Catholic Ministry Association provides UAF students with a place to connect, seek counsel, or simply relax at the Catholic Student Center.
- Alaska Pacific University Campus Crusade for Christ maintains a strong presence at Alaska Pacific University. The group hosts faith-based events such as game nights, movie nights, and women's Bible study groups.