Christian Colleges in Florida

Florida occupies a unique position in the U.S., both geographically and culturally. The only continental state with a tropical climate, Florida boasts both a diverse population and an emphasis on conservative, Christian values. The Pew Research Center reports that 78% of adults in Florida describe religion as either "very important" or "somewhat important," and 35% attend religious services at least once a week. Christians constitute about 70% of the state's religious population, and more than a dozen Christian colleges in Florida offer degrees of all types to accommodate them.

78% of adults in Florida describe religion as either "very important" or "somewhat important," and 35% attend religious services at least once a week Pew Research Center

Religious demographics in Florida generally align with the rest of the country, and the state harbors many institutions that reflect both the Protestant and Catholic traditions. Florida Christian colleges offer an assortment of educational options, from bible colleges and seminaries focused primarily on religious studies to major universities that offer academic degrees in all disciplines. In general, these schools offer Christian students a supportive campus environment, with academic programs that integrate faith with traditional scholarship. As home to several online Christian colleges, Florida offers the same sense of support and community through distance education.

Florida embraces online education for the convenience, affordability, and efficiency it offers students. Students attending Christian online colleges receive the same education and support services that on-campus students receive. Adding to the flexibility, many schools conduct online courses asynchronously to enable students to complete coursework on their own schedules, without set login times or class meetings. Asynchronous courses prove ideal for online learners with work, family, or church obligations. Online learning also eliminates commuting expenses.

For many students, the supportive religious community of a Christian school serves as a large part of its appeal, and increasingly, online Christian colleges in Florida offer unique services to help online learners better connect to campus communities. Online students often join college groups and forums that enable Christian students with similar interests to connect with one another. Many schools also offer online counseling, spiritual support, and live-stream worship services and other campus events.

Several factors come into play when choosing a college, including size, location, campus culture, resources, and academic program offerings. Online research and communication with admissions counselors can help you narrow down the school that works best for you.

Many schools offer a variety of degrees in both secular and non-secular subjects; others primarily offer Bible or ministry-focused programs

Whether you enroll in online or campus courses, a school's size makes a difference. While larger colleges offer a wider variety of academic programs and resources, the sizes of each class reduces the amount of individual attention each student receives. A smaller school, on the other hand, often provides students with a more personalized experience while omitting some of the resources. What you plan to study may influence the school you choose, too. Many schools offer a variety of degrees in both secular and non-secular subjects; others primarily offer Bible or ministry-focused programs. For those enrolling online, investigate what sort of resources and support services schools offer their distance education students.

Additionally, many Christian colleges in Florida expect students to live by certain standards. Different schools' policies may prohibit the use of alcohol, forbid co-ed housing, or require students to attend chapel or other services. Prospective students should consider which college’s culture works best for them.

Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools

For those pursuing a Bible-focused degree, such as ministry or theology, seminaries or one of the Bible colleges in Florida focus primarily on religious education. In general, Bible colleges concentrate on undergraduate education, offering associate and bachelor's degrees in religious studies. These schools provide affordable religious education. Not all Bible college hold accreditation, however, which is why you should ensure you know a school's status before attending.

Seminaries focus on graduate-level education, offering advanced degrees in subjects such as divinity, ministry, theology, biblical languages, and religious history. These institutions typically align with a certain Christian denomination, such as Methodist or Baptist. Seminary education often combines the practical with the theoretical, with many graduates becoming ministers. Most seminaries also enjoy accreditation status, meaning students receive a quality education.

Accreditation for Christian Colleges

Accreditation serves as another important factor to consider when researching Christian colleges in Florida. Many Christian schools do not hold accreditation, which can create problems with federally funded financial aid and school credit transfers. Students should verify a school’s accreditation status prior to attending any of the Christian colleges online.

Multiple types of accreditation exist for different types of schools. In general, regional accreditation counts as the most reputable accreditation type. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges serves as the regional accrediting body for Florida.

National accreditation is typically reserved for technical and vocational schools, though some Christian colleges may also hold national accreditation. Other, specialized accreditation organizations focus specifically on Christian colleges, including the Association for Biblical Higher Education, the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, and the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. The U.S. Department of Education maintains a database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs to help determine a school’s reputability.

If Florida were a country, its economy would rank 17th in the world. The third-largest population in the U.S., a high GDP, and a robust job market make the state an ideal location to pursue a career. Florida's unemployment rate sits at 3.9%, which rests slightly lower than the national average. Additionally, its rapidly expanding population will likely fuel economic growth.

The mean hourly wage for all occupations in Florida is $21.53, and the mean annual wage is $44,790.

Because Florida boasts one of the country's strongest economies, a slight slowdown still puts it ahead of most other U.S. states in terms of job opportunities. Several key industries fuel Florida's bustling economy, including tourism, international trade, aerospace and aviation, and financial services.

The mean hourly wage for all occupations in Florida is $21.53, and the mean annual wage is $44,790. While these numbers sit slightly lower than the national average, the figures fail to account for the differences in wages between industries. Many graduates of Florida Christian colleges pursue community and social service careers; the chart below gives a better sense of the expected wages for careers in these fields.

Community and Social Service Occupations in Florida
Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors 4,440 $22.12 $46,010
Marriage and Family Therapists 3,030 $23.15 $48,140
Mental Health Counselors 3,990 $21.39 $44,490
Rehabilitation Counselors 2,820 $18.01 $37,470
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 9,780 $19.81 $41,210
Healthcare Social Workers 6,390 $24.82 $51,640
Social and Human Service Assistants 11,730 $15.42 $32,070
Clergy 2,160 $23.16 $48,180
Directors, Religious Activities and Education 1,190 $19.94 $41,470
Religious Workers, all other 630 $14.35 $29,850
Source: BLS, May 2016

Scholarships serve as one of the most effective methods of paying for education, and many Christian colleges in Florida cater their scholarships offerings to Christian students. Florida residents can also pursue scholarship opportunities intended for college students in the state.

Christian Scholarships

National Presbyterian College Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: The Presbyterian Church USA created this scholarship to promote the development of leadership and vocation discernment in new college students. Applicants boast membership status within the Presbyterian Church, hold a minimum high school GPA of 2.5, and must plan to enter a Presbyterian college or university as a freshman. View Scholarship

Paleologos Graduate Scholarship $5,000

Who Can Apply: Awarded by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, this scholarship goes to Orthodox Christian students entering graduate programs. Applicants must provide five letters of recommendation, detailed academic records, proof of financial need, and a baptismal or chrismation certificate. View Scholarship

Ruth K Jacobs Scholarship $1,500

Who Can Apply: The Choristers Guild awards this scholarship to students pursuing music ministry. Juniors, seniors, and graduate students in good academic standing may apply. Applicants interested in working with children receive special consideration. View Scholarship

Valerie Russell Scholarship Fund $1,500

Who Can Apply: Offered by the United Church of Christ, this scholarship supports African American laywomen who demonstrate a commitment to social justice and church values. The scholarship caters to undergraduate students or those already engaged in social justice work. View Scholarship

Disciples Home Missions Scholarships Varies

Who Can Apply: The Disciples of Christ offers several scholarships to graduate students preparing for ministry positions. Applicants must be members of the Disciples of Christ, must enroll full time in a master of divinity program, and must demonstrate evidence of academic merit and financial need. View Scholarship

Scholarships for Florida Residents

Arts for Life Scholarships $1,000

Offered through the Tallahassee-based Foundation for Excellence in Education, the Arts for Life Scholarships awards Florida students who demonstrate skill in dance, drama, visual art, writing, or music. Florida high school graduates who intend to enroll in an in-state college may apply. View Scholarship

American Legion Department of Florida Scholarships $2,500-$500

Who Can Apply: The American Legion awards these scholarships to the children of veterans or Legion members. High school seniors with parents residing in Florida may apply. View Scholarship

George Snow Scholarship Fund Varies

Who Can Apply: High school students who reside in Florida's Palm Beach or Northern Broward Counties may apply. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and demonstrate community and school participation. View Scholarship

Central Florida Fair Scholarships $2,500

Who Can Apply: The Central Florida Fair offers three college scholarships to incoming freshman enrolled in a Florida college. Applicants reside in Orange, Osceola, Lake, Brevard, Seminole, or Volusia Counties. They must also submit two short essays and have previously participated in the Florida Central Fair. View Scholarship

Ford Salute to Education Scholarships $1,500

Who Can Apply: Ford awards this scholarship to Florida students in the categories of Athletics, Foreign Language/ Language Arts, Leadership, Mathematical Sciences/Computer Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Performing Arts/Visual Arts. Open to students enrolled in any public high school in Miami-Dade or Broward County, the award caters to those in financial need who demonstrate community involvement, academic achievement, and leadership skills. View Scholarship

Find a Church in Your Community

For those moving to a new city to attend college, websites such as Church Finder and USAChurches can help you find churches that meet your denominational, cultural, and spiritual needs. Incoming students can navigate these websites easily to find a new church home.

Get Connected

Christian networking websites allow students and professionals to connect with one another to share information, job opportunities, and other useful resources.

  • Christian Business Network A wide-ranging global network of Christian professionals, the Christian Business Network offers educational resources, member services, and networking opportunities that enable members from various industries to connect.
  • Christian Educators Association International Founded in 1953, CEAI counts teachers, administrators, and other education professionals among its members. It aims to encourage, equip, and empower Christian educators.
  • Christian Legal Society Serving lawyers, law students, and other legal professionals, this group emphasizes the protection of religious freedom and the legal defense of the underserved.

Find Christian Ministries

Christians pursuing higher education often enter secular colleges without sacrificing their community life. Many of the state's public colleges host campus ministries and other student groups that enable Christians to come together and build community.

Interdenominational
  • Campus Crusade for Christ Engaging Christian students through campus ministries, social events, and missionary services, CRU performs outreach at U.S. colleges and in cities around the world.
  • Chi Alpha Based on college campuses around the country, Chi Alpha offers resources and events that promote Christian leadership, fellowship, and spiritual empowerment.
  • International Fellowship of Evangelical Students Operating around the world, IFES emphasizes community service, evangelism, and leadership. The organization also publishes several journals related to faith and theology.
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes Combining athletics and Christian worship, FCA brings together players, coaches, and other athletic participants to encourage personal growth, training, and ministry.
Catholic
  • Catholic Campus Ministry Association CCMA supports campus ministers through advocacy, networking, and education. The organization also offers leadership resources for ministers and hosts Called, a convention for Catholic campus ministers.
Lutheran
  • Lutheran Student Movement U.S.A. LSM offers service learning opportunities, professional development, and an annual national gathering that brings together leaders from around the country.
Presbyterian
  • Reformed University Fellowship Founded in 1971, RUF provides campus ministry services with a global focus. The organization emphasizes cross-cultural exchange and helps Christian students travel internationally.
  • UKirk UKirk brings together campus ministers for networking opportunities and collaborative learning. Members also benefit from academic resources and financial support in the form of grants.
Baptist
  • Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life Focusing on campus ministry, church ministry, and college campus church planting, BCM seeks to lead Baptist students and help them develop as Christian leaders.

Public Universities in Florida with Christian Ministries

  • University of Florida: Gainesville-based UF serves as home to a Chi Alpha chapter and a Baptist Collegiate Ministry chapter, both of which host regular campus events.
  • Florida Southern College: Based in Lakeland, FSC hosts a chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, along with several other campus ministry groups and weekly services.
  • Florida Institute of Technology: FIT operates a chapter of the Catholic Campus Ministry, which hosts worship services, community activities, service learning trips, and intramural sports activities.
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