With 60% of adult residents professing faith in Jesus Christ, Idaho is home to a thriving Christian culture. According to the Pew Research Center, most Idahoans identify as evangelical or mainline Protestants; however, the state also has a large Mormon population. More than half of all residents say that religion plays a major part in their lives. Given this religious landscape, it's no surprise that the state hosts several Christian institutions -- mostly private, four-year schools affiliated with various Protestant denominations.
most Idahoans identify as evangelical or mainline Protestants; however, the state also has a large Mormon population Pew Research Center
Attending one of the many Christian colleges in Idaho can both strengthen your faith and help you earn a degree. For those interested in religious studies or a pastoral career, or those who wish to pursue a different major in a Christian setting, Bible colleges in Idaho offer programs to meet your personal, religious, and professional goals. Christian colleges and universities present new ways to grow intellectually and spiritually. In this guide, we explore which Christian colleges in Idaho offer both traditional and online degrees, how to choose a program, and ways to help pay for your degree.
Online Christian Colleges in Idaho
There are several advantages for distance learners who attend online Christian colleges. Both first-time students and working professionals seeking to enhance their career options benefit from the convenience and affordability of online degrees. Many Christian colleges in Idaho offer faith-based online programs that combine flexible scheduling with the experience of an authentic Christian community.
Some online Bible colleges in Idaho feature programs that include asynchronous, self-paced coursework. This flexible format allows even the busiest of students to complete assignments, review course materials, and view lectures conveniently. Studying from home proves more affordable, too, by removing the need to pay for transportation, relocation, or campus facility fees. Unlike traditional on-campus students, in- and out-of-state distance learners often pay the same flat per-credit tuition rate. Living off-campus or out-of-state does not exclude you from participating in Christian fellowship, however. Plenty of Christian colleges in Idaho offer spiritual services intended just for online students. Many schools offer live streaming church services, virtual meetings, Bible study sessions, and discussion forums.
Idaho's Best Online Christian Schools
Brigham Young University - Idaho
Located in Rexburg, BYUI is a private Christian university affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Founded in 1888, BYUI enrolls over 28,000 students every year, including 15,000 who learn from a distance, making the school the largest among private Christian colleges in Idaho.
Newly enrolled BYUI students with a regionally accredited associate degree meet most of BYUI's foundation requirements. The university accepts credit from college courses with a grade of C- or higher.
BYUI is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
Northwest Nazarene University
NNU, based in Nampa, serves over 8,000 students, of which more than 6,000 take courses online. This private Christian university is affiliated with The Church of the Nazarene. NNU offers 60 areas of study for undergraduate and graduate students, including programs in education, business administration, nursing, and theology.
One of the few Christian colleges in Idaho, NNU welcomes students from around the world, affording students an international community of learning.
NNU accepts lower- and upper-division transfer credits from almost all regionally accredited colleges and universities, along with lower-division credits from accredited Bible colleges. Students can transfer credits from courses for which they earned a grade of C- or better.
NNU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
What Christian Colleges are in Idaho?
Finding the Right Christian College
Knowing what you want from a school or program helps you make the right decision. Do you prefer a career in ministry or do you simply want a faith-based, liberal arts degree?
Choosing the right Christian college in Idaho might seem daunting. By keeping a few important factors in mind, however, researching online Christian colleges can become much easier. Knowing what you want from a school or program helps you make the right decision. Do you prefer a career in ministry or do you simply want a faith-based, liberal arts degree? Many Christian online colleges feature religious studies or Bible-based degrees. Alternatively, schools typically make advanced or specialized programs available only at seminary schools. In addition, schools may not offer all of their programs online. If you’re looking for a distance learning program, explore the resources each school can offer its online students.
For traditional students, campus size and lifestyle guidelines both play an important part in the decision-making process. Small schools feature lower faculty-student ratios that present greater opportunities for collaboration and individual attention. They may not, however, offer the same variety of degree options, service learning opportunities, and school resources. Conduct expectations are another factor to keep in mind. Some schools prohibit drug or alcohol use on campus. Many religious schools also forbid co-ed housing or require that all students attend religious services at prescribed times.
Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools
Should you attend one of the many online Christian colleges or Bible colleges in Idaho, or enroll in seminary school instead? The answer to this question depends on your academic interests and career ambitions.
Most Bible schools and Christian colleges in Idaho offer religious studies degrees in addition to traditional liberal arts programs. While some also feature graduate programs, including minister preparation training, Bible colleges generally offer multiple majors at various degree levels. In contrast, seminary schools provide theological instruction for prospective pastors, priests, and ministers at the graduate level. Although programs of study vary considerably according to denomination and school, seminaries tend to focus on preparing students for religious leadership roles. Students need an undergraduate degree to enter seminary.
Accreditation for Christian Colleges
As you research Christian online colleges and Bible colleges in Idaho, make sure they are properly accredited. Choosing an accredited school ensures that you will receive a quality education and safeguards your future employment options. The accreditation process serves as a form of quality control performed by universally-recognized accrediting bodies who require that schools meet specific academic and ethical standards.
Choosing an accredited school ensures that you will receive a quality education and safeguards your future employment options.
Schools are either regionally or nationally accredited. Regionally accredited schools are typically nonprofit institutions, while nationally accredited schools are generally for-profit colleges or vocational schools. Credits earned at regionally accredited schools easily transfer to other institutions, while those from nationally accredited colleges do not. In addition, many employers prefer to hire graduates from regionally accredited schools. Some Christian colleges in Idaho may also hold additional, specialized accreditation from religious accrediting bodies like the Association of Christian Schools International.
Career and Salary Expectations
As a whole, Idaho’s economy is growing. The state's 2.9% unemployment rate is not only significantly lower than the national average of 4.1%, but has decreased by .4% over the past year. While many attribute this trend to recent growth in the construction and manufacturing sectors, the state’s economy also remains relatively stable overall. Idaho's low cost of living helps compensate for the state's relatively low hourly and annual mean salaries of $20.31 and $42,240, respectively. Nationally, social and community service directors face an unusually large job growth rate of 18%.
While relatively few prospective clergy members find employment in Idaho, social service assistants and rehabilitation counselors are somewhat in demand. Below, our table lists popular religious employment opportunities and their salaries in Idaho.
|Occupation||Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||380||$21.20||$44,090|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||N/A||$24.95||$51,900|
|Mental Health Counselors||1,080||$24.45||$50,860|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||1,470||$23.17||$48,180|
|Healthcare Social Workers||550||$26.90||$55,940|
|Social and Human Service Assistants||2,630||$15.59||$32,430|
|Directors, Religious Activities and Education||50||$27.66||$57,530|
Scholarships and Financial Aid
Students attending Christian colleges in Idaho can pursue many scholarship opportunities -- some faith-based and others intended specifically for state residents. The scholarships listed below showcase a few of the awards offered to Idaho students, Christian students, or both.
Paleologos Graduate Scholarship $5,000
Baptist Life Scholarship $1,000
Rowley Wolfe Ministerial Education Fund $3,500
Interfaith Spirituality Scholarship Varies
Presbyterian Student Opportunity Scholarship $2,000
Scholarships for Idaho Residents
Idaho Governor’s Cup Scholarship $3,000
Idaho Opportunity Scholarship $3,500
Community Council of Idaho Hispanic Scholarship $1,000
GEAR UP Idaho Scholarship $5,575
Marsden Scholarship Varies
Find a Church in Your Community
Churches offer support, fellowship, and spiritual guidance. For those new to a community or simply hoping to explore new ways of worshipping God, sites like ChurchFinder enable students to locate spiritual centers of every denomination and affiliation.
Christian professional organizations and social networks are a great way to build industry, academic, and spiritual connections with like-minded people. The list below includes some example organizations.
- The Christian Business Network Uniting Christian professionals from around the world, the CBN provides its members with a variety of networking opportunities and promotional services.
- Conference on Faith & History This scholarly organization explores history and historiography from a Christian perspective. Members promote their own scholarship and collaborate on research.
- Association of Professional Chaplains The APC offers resources such as publications, educational webinars, and program development materials to more than 5,000 professional chaplains from a variety of faiths.
Find Christian Ministries
For some students, secular public universities provide an affordable alternative to private Christian colleges. Along with comprehensive religious studies programs, many public schools host campus ministries and Christian clubs:
- Campus Crusade for Christ Commonly knowns as “Cru,” this organization engages with more than 101,000 college students through 2,300 campus ministries around the United States.
- Chi Alpha Sponsored by the Assemblies of God, Chi Alpha hosts on-campus Bible studies and other fellowship events. Many members receive sponsorships to study abroad or participate in mission trips.
- International Fellowship of Evangelical Students The IFES sponsors student-led Christian movements among indigenous peoples in 160 countries.
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes One of the largest groups of its kind, the FCA engages, equips, and empowers student athletes through ministry in over 62 countries. More than 113,470 individuals attend its annual camp.
- Catholic Campus Ministry Association The CCMA seeks to empower Catholic campus ministers by setting the highest standards of care and providing the resources student worship leaders need to meet them.
- Lutheran Student Movement U.S.A. Based in Chicago, this association provides Lutheran college students with unique service learning and alternative spring break opportunities, as well as an annual fellowship gathering.
- Reformed University Fellowship Comprised of seminary-trained campus ministers, the RUF sponsors a variety of activities, including Bible study groups and regional conferences.
- UKirk More than just a campus ministry, UKirk sponsors grants, fundraising initiatives, and service-learning programs. Participants often receive financial aid for their services.
- Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life Known as BCMLife, this association brings together Baptist students throughout the country through conferences, summits, and mission trips. Most chapters operate through on-campus Baptist Student Centers.
Public Universities in Idaho with Christian Ministries
- University of Idaho: Cru maintains a strong presence at the University of Idaho, where it hosts retreats and conferences, weekly meetings, and small group Bible study sessions.
- Idaho State University: Chi Alpha holds weekly meetings and Bible studies on campus, as well as special events throughout the year. Its members enjoy global missions and service trips.
- Lewis-Clark State College: This public college in Lewiston serves as home to a vibrant Cru chapter known for its popular and exciting annual Winter Conference.