Iowa has deep roots in Christianity. Early settlers in the state included Quakers, Amish, and Mennonites, and today 77% of Iowans identify as Christian. Most Christians in Iowa attend mainline and evangelical Protestant churches, but there are many Catholics as well. A study by the Pew Research Center reveals 53% of Iowans view religion as very important, and 36% attend religious services at least once per week.
53% of Iowans view religion as very important, and 36% attend religious services at least once per week Pew Research Center
Two-thirds of Iowa's high school graduates -- slightly more than the national average -- enroll immediately in college. The majority of Bible colleges in Iowa are interdenominational and welcome students of all faiths. Many Christian colleges in Iowa provide undergraduate and graduate programs in both traditional and online formats.
For students interested in combining faith and learning, Christian colleges in Iowa provide high-quality academic programs, membership in national religious student organizations, and opportunities for engagement and fellowship within the local community. Christian colleges in Iowa are able to cater to the academic and social needs of Christian students.
Online Christian Colleges in Iowa
There are many benefits to attending online Christian colleges in Iowa. Students seeking a faith-based program with maximum flexibility should consider Christian online colleges. Many schools offer asynchronous learning formats, allowing students to complete the degree not only from the comfort of their own home, but also on their own schedule. Iowans may find online Christian colleges are especially convenient for working professionals, as well as students with children, family, or church obligations.
Online Bible colleges in Iowa also tend to be more affordable than on-campus programs. Distance learners eliminate the need to commute or pay for on-campus accommodations and fees. Many online schools still offer benefits such as international ministry opportunities and travel-based missionary projects. In fact, online Christian colleges in Iowa typically offer the same, faith-based curriculum as their on-campus counterparts, simply integrating religious coursework into online setting. Most online Christian colleges and universities offer online spiritual support and counseling, live streams of student worship services, and networking community groups for religious students.
Finding the Right Christian College
Students considering Christian colleges in Iowa should account for several factors, including cost, location, denomination, and available programs. Students must determine if their school can serve their unique academic, personal, and spiritual needs. The right Christian college should not only offer a robust academic program in your major of choice, but should also provide a safe, supportive learning environment in which you can thrive.
Students should also consider the school's values system. Most Christian colleges in Iowa require students to live a lifestyle synonymous with the Christian faith.
Students should also consider the school's values system. Most Christian colleges in Iowa require students to live a lifestyle synonymous with the Christian faith. Some schools prohibit the use of drugs and alcohol and do not allow co-ed housing on campus. Others require students to attend a minimum number of chapel services per week or perform service work in the local community.
Certain Christian colleges in Iowa only offer a handful of academic majors. Students should ensure that their school offers a program in their area of interest before applying.
Students attending online Christian colleges may take advantage of several resources that integrate faith into the distance learning experience. Many schools offer support through Christian student groups and campus ministries, as well as online streaming worship services and virtual spiritual counseling services.
Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools
When researching Christian colleges in Iowa, students may be confused about the differences between a seminary school and a Bible college. While some sources mistakenly use the terms interchangeably, these institutions offer different programs to different types of students.
Bible colleges in Iowa offer undergraduate programs in religious studies and/or ministry-oriented majors. Students may choose a two-year or four-year degree in preparation for a bi-vocational or lay ministry career. Some schools offer programs in religious studies, Bible studies, theology, ministry, or divinity. However, they also offer non-religious majors such as biology and nursing. While Bible colleges typically focus on undergraduate programs, they may offer graduate degrees through a separate department or school.
Seminaries, also called divinity schools, are ideal for graduate students seeking advanced training for careers in pastoral or parachurch ministry. Seminaries emphasize coursework in systematic theology, pastoral counseling, Greek, Hebrew, and advanced biblical exegesis. While seminary students typically focus on intensive training for a ministry career, some seminaries also offer advanced degrees in biblical languages, theology, and religious history.
Accreditation for Christian Colleges
As with any college, accreditation is of utmost importance when it comes to researching Christian colleges in Iowa. Schools may hold regional accreditation or national accreditation. Most schools in Iowa hold institutional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission, a division of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Regional accreditation typically requires a more rigorous process and higher standards than national accreditation. Employers prefer candidates from regionally accredited schools.
A school's accreditation policy is especially relevant to potential transfer students. Many nationally accredited institutions will accept credit from regionally or nationally accredited institutions, though most regionally accredited schools will only accept credits from other institutions with the same accreditation.
Schools may receive specialized accreditation in addition to institutional recognition. For example, some online Christian colleges in Iowa are accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission or the Association for Biblical Higher Education.
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education oversee all accreditation in the U.S.
Career and Salary Expectations
Graduates from Iowa Christian colleges are qualified for a variety of community and service-related occupations. The state boasts an unemployment rate of just 2.8% and a strong non-farm economy. Education and health services account for the third-largest employment sector in the state. Some of the state's fastest growing industries include manufacturing, financial activities, and professional and business services.
Workers in all occupations in Iowa earn a mean hourly wage of $21.50 and an annual mean salary of $44,730
Workers in all occupations in Iowa earn a mean hourly wage of $21.50 and an annual mean salary of $44,730. Christian colleges in Iowa can provide training in numerous religious occupations, as well as community-oriented jobs. Many of these careers offer a salary higher than the state average. As shown below, graduates from counseling and social work programs at traditional or Bible colleges in Iowa may earn between $33,000 and $50,000 per year.
Graduates of traditional and online Christian colleges interested in a career in the religious workforce can expect a similar range of employment and salary estimates. While there are only a small number of religious directors and clergy in the state, they typically earn strong salaries.
|Occupation||Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||1,270||$20.49||$42,620|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||340||$26.37||$54,860|
|Mental Health Counselors||1,470||$23.15||$48,140|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||3,140||$20.18||$41,980|
|Healthcare Social Workers||1,420||$21.96||$45,680|
|Social and Human Service Assistants||4,580||$15.90||$33,070|
|Directors, Religious Activities and Education||100||$24.61||$51,200|
|Religious Workers, all other||160||$15.04||$31,280|
Scholarships and Financial Aid
Many religion-based institutions and organizations, including Christian colleges in Iowa, award scholarships to qualifying students aspiring to a career in ministry or religious administration. Christian scholarships typically require applicants to verify their faith through a testimony or essay, in addition to meeting standard academic qualifications. The following scholarships are available to students attending a Bible college in Iowa, as well as Iowa state residents.
Ann Crawford Alexander Memorial Scholarship $1,000
National Presbyterian College Scholarship $2,500
Christian Missionary Scholarship Foundation Varies
Scholarships for Iowa Residents
All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship $4,383
Gov. Terry E. Branstad Iowa State Fair Scholarship Varies
Iowa Tuition Grant Varies
Iowa Technical-Vocational Tuition Grant $900
Find a Church in Your Community
For many students, locating the right place of worship in their community is essential to adjusting to college life. Worship services and faith-based programs can help students find peers with similar interests outside of the classroom. These services can also bridge the gap between faith-based learning and religious social events. Students can locate a nearby church through online directories such as Church Finder and USA Churches.
Christian networking websites can help students connect with other like-minded individuals to find career opportunities, continuing education classes, and local seminars and workshops. Professional organizations such as the ones listed below provide an extensive network of support for Christians in all sectors of the workforce.
- The Christian Business Network One of the world's premier organizations for Christian business professionals, the CBN offers diverse networking opportunities to current and aspiring faith-based business people. Benefits include professional skill-building, social networking, and inter-industrial collaboration.
- American Academy of Religion The AAR serves roughly 9,000 teachers and research scholars specializing in theology and religious studies. The academy hosts 10 regional groups addressing the specific needs of religious education professionals in every area of the U.S.
- CBMC International Connecting Business & the Marketplace to Christ promotes contemporary technology and networking skills for Christian professionals. CBMC International views information technology and globalization as critical knowledge for spiritual business leaders in the marketplace today.
- FCCI The Fellowship of Companies for Christ International equips members with the tools they need to achieve increased success and profitability in business and commerce. FCCI members receive exclusive access to an international conference, local business leader groups, and online assessments and webinars.
Find Christian Ministries
While the faith-based curriculum offered at Christian colleges in Iowa may be ideal for students considering religious studies, not all students can afford to attend a private Christian university. Fortunately, many public non-Christian universities in Iowa recognize the importance of Christian ministries on campus. These ministries help bond students of all Christian denominations together through academic and extracurricular events.
- Campus Crusade for Christ Campus Crusade for Christ, commonly known as Cru, has engaged over 100,000 students through more than 2,300 campus locations around the world. Cru's mission is to help students build a close relationship to Christ, preparing them for lifelong service in evangelism and discipleship.
- Chi Alpha Chi Alpha encourages its members to take a holistic approach to integrating their love of Christ into academia and the professional world. Chi Alpha hosts an annual training conference, as well as exclusive alumni engagements and guest speaker events.
- International Fellowship of Evangelical Students The IFES maintains a large membership of Christian students on every continent worldwide. The fellowship promotes spiritual programs with a global focus. The IFES encourages tithing through pledges and donations, and circulates multiple faith-based publications.
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes The FCA encourages athletes to unite their passions for sports and Christ through training camps and ministry opportunities. The FCA also provides athletes with skills they need to start their own ministries or become ministry leaders on their school's campus.
- Catholic Campus Ministry Association The CCMA is the world's premier Catholic campus ministry. The association helps students build their evangelism and discipleship skills and grow their ministry groups through training and webinars. The CCMA also hosts an annual campus ministry convention.
- Lutheran Student Movement U.S.A. The most prominent Lutheran campus ministry in the country, the LSM-USA offers resources such as a directory of alternative spring break trips and service-learning projects. The group hosts an annual national gathering for college-age Lutheran students, campus pastors, and key figures in campus ministry.
- Reformed University Fellowship As America's official Presbyterian campus ministry, the RUF ensures that all campus ministers are ordained and seminary trained. The ministry promotes holistic integration of spirituality into all aspects of student life.
- UKirk UKirk hosts cohort student groups, grant opportunities, and a collegiate summit. The ministry also provides students with literature review opportunities and lectionary training resources.
- Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life The BCM Life promotes leadership, development, and connection among Baptist college students in North America. The BCM Life caters to multiple areas of ministry. The ministry operates on campuses and in churches, as well as in international locations. It also hosts tree-planting and beach-clean-up initiatives.
Public Universities in Iowa with Christian Ministries
- Iowa State University: Iowa State hosts dozens of campus ministries in all major Christian denominations, including Catholic, Lutheran, Latter Day Saints, and Orthodox Christian. The school also caters to Christian students in specific majors or with common interests, including with veterinary and intervarsity Christian fellowships.
- University of Iowa: The Wesley Center at the University of Iowa hosts multiple ministry programs rooted in the Christian Wesleyan tradition. In connection with the university's School of Religious Studies and Women's Resource and Action Center, The Wesley Center hosts weekly events supported by campus ministries including Cru and the Campus Christian Fellowship.
- University of Northern Iowa: UNI's long list of religion and spirituality organizations includes the Campus Christian Fellowship, St. Stephen the Witness Catholic Student Center, and Chi Alpha. The school also hosts its own chapters of the International Justice Mission and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.