Online Christian Colleges in Nevada

Although it is home to the "Sin City" of Las Vegas, Nevada is no less religious than other states. Close to 60 percent of its residents profess a belief in God, placing it squarely within the national average. Of this population, 66% identify as Christians, with Catholics making up the largest segment (25%). Although 44% of Nevadans claim that religion is important to them, only 30% attend weekly religious services. This rather muted attitude towards religion, plus the state's relatively low population, likely accounts for the fact that there are only a handful of Christian colleges in Nevada.

Close to 60 percent of its residents profess a belief in God, placing it squarely within the national average. Pew Research Center

For example, the Reno-Tahoe campus of Multnomah University is one of the few accredited Christian colleges in Nevada. Another is the MU Biblical Seminary, a non-denominational Christian university accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools. The seminary offers a master of arts, master of divinity, master of theology, and doctor of ministry. Although it is not technically an online Christian college, the seminary does offer an approved Comprehensive Distance Education Program.

Several institutions offering faith-based education have reported a significant and continuous increase in freshman enrollment since 2001. Clearly, more and more college-bound students are looking to earn their degrees in a faith-based environment. This is good news for Christian institutions and for the professional world, as well. After all, a well-formed individual, often a major goal of faith-based education, is a credit to any profession.

In the incomparable city of Las Vegas, Lincoln Christian University offers both onsite and online Christian higher education options. It is a relative newcomer to the Nevada Christian college field, having only admitted students in 2007. Like most online programs, LCU's online curriculum is both flexible and affordable, two of online education's main advantages.

Online courses at LCU follow an asynchronous format, which allows students to complete coursework at times that are most convenient for them. Additionally, LCU online classes are kept small to encourage student-teacher and student-to-student interaction in virtual spaces. Should they ever find themselves in the area, online students are free to access the on-campus resources in the Las Vegas and Lincoln, Illinois, locations. The theological library at the Lincoln campus, for example, has over 8,300 volumes on religious and spiritual themes alone.

Completing a degree online saves both money and time. Students save on gas, parking, on-campus housing costs, and other dues and registration fees that often come with on-campus education. Online learning also eliminates commuting, which leaves students with more time to devote to their own priorities and interests.

Online Christian colleges recognize that providing their off-campus students with a supportive community is crucial to their students' success. Thanks to technology, online students can take advantage of virtual groups that support and encourage both academic and personal connections. Other digital provisions, such as live streaming of worship services and online spiritual and/or academic counseling, help make online learning as effective and meaningful as the on-campus experience. Additionally, Christian online colleges often offer the same courses and programs that are available on campus, providing online students the same quality education and top-rate Christian formation.

Despite a relatively small number of Christian colleges in Nevada, there are a number of out-of-state Christian universities available. There are 600 Christian-affiliated colleges and universities throughout the country, though closer to the Silver State, there are institutions in California, Utah, and Idaho that specifically serve Nevada students. An increasing number of these faith-based institutions offer online or distance learning, including Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, which is one of the largest Christian online colleges in the country. Regardless of one's education goals, location, or faith commitments, there is no shortage of options to earn a faith-based education.

attending a bigger school can mean encountering more students from different faiths, leading to a more vibrant exchange of theological ideas and faith experiences

When determining which Christian college offers the best fit, prospective students should consider the size of the institution. Small campuses often mean closer interaction among students and between teachers and students. However, attending a bigger school can mean encountering more students from different faiths, leading to a more vibrant exchange of theological ideas and faith experiences. Additional considerations include whether regular attendance at religious services is expected, and what faith-related opportunities online students can access without coming to campus.

While choosing a faith-based college or university is not that much different from deciding between non-sectarian institutions, a school's religious or spiritual tradition adds another dimension to consider. A school's denomination can make all the difference in the world to a student intent on getting a quality education that is also informed by faith.

Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools

One of the key distinctions when choosing a faith-based institution is the similarities and differences between a Bible college and a seminary school. Both focus on the Bible, church and pastoral ministry, Christian doctrine, and several other theological precepts. However, Bible colleges typically offer undergraduate programs, and students graduate with either an associate or a bachelor's degree. It is entirely possible to major in a non-biblical field from a Bible college, such as criminal justice or nursing.

On the other hand, a seminary school offers graduate programs that result in either a master's or a doctoral degree. Students must already have an associate or bachelor's degree before they are accepted to a seminary school. Some seminaries assign credits for relevant life or professional experiences in lieu of a two- or four-year degree. Additionally, seminary schools focus more on leadership formation and leadership roles in ministry. Pastors, missionaries, and faith community leaders are often the types of students who apply and are accepted to seminary schools.

Accreditation for Christian Colleges

For any prospective student, ensuring a school's accreditation should be a crucial first step. Accreditation is a peer-review process that recognizes an institution achieved a certain level of excellence. Sometimes an institution will seek a university-wide accreditation. At other times, a college or a program within a university can apply for accreditation.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) itself does not accredit schools, but does recognize various accrediting organizations within a vast range of academic fields. Among faith-affiliated schools, the ED recognizes two accrediting bodies: the Traditional Association of Christian Colleges and Schools and the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. There are also several other independent accrediting organizations that are recognized by Christian colleges in Nevada, as well as by a majority of other Christian schools throughout the country.

Nonprofit, state-owned schools often seek regional accreditation. These are degree-focused public colleges and universities offering traditional four-year degrees. For-profit schools -- usually vocational or technical programs -- typically seek out national accreditation. Faith-affiliated institutions and other industry-specific schools (e.g., dental or pharmaceutical schools) may seek specialized accreditation.

Some schools and scholarship programs will only consider students who have completed their degrees from accredited institutions. Additionally, most accredited universities will only accept transfer students from other accredited schools. Keep this in mind when making the final decision on a program, college, or university.

Like the rest of the country, Nevada's economy plunged into recession 10 years ago, triggered by a housing bubble that suddenly burst wide open. The recession cost the state 186,000 jobs and brought the unemployment rate to an astronomical 14.1%. Since then, however, the state has shown strong signs of sustainable recovery. Unemployment is down by more than 9% and numbers for significant economic markers are up, including tourism, taxable sales, manufacturing, and logistics.

the mean hourly wage in Nevada stands at $20.91. This is lower (by as much as 12%) than the national average of $23.86 per hour

According to 2016 data, the mean hourly wage in Nevada stands at $20.91. This is lower (by as much as 12%) than the national average of $23.86 per hour. However, this is only true in 11 of the 22 major occupational groups, including business operations, management, and in various computer fields. Seven groups of workers enjoyed much higher wages in Nevada than in the rest of the country, including healthcare practitioners and social service professionals. Additionally, the construction industry is one of the leaders in employment in Nevada, making some of the fastest growing jobs in the state connected to the building industry. This includes industrial engineers, production operators, electricians, and cement masons.

Nevada pays higher than the national norm for community and social work jobs. For example, the average social worker salary in the state typically starts at $45,810 and can go as high as $85,370. The average annual salary in other parts of the country, however, is only between $55,459 and $68,227.

Community and Social Service Occupations in Nevada
Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors 460 $22.98 $47,800
Marriage and Family Therapists 360 $26.80 $55,740
Mental Health Counselors 680 $22.96 $47,750
Rehabilitation Counselors 300 $21.13 $43,960
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 3,230 $23.51 $48,900
Healthcare Social Workers 610 $34.14 $71,020
Social and Human Service Assistants 1,360 $18.34 $38,140
Clergy 130 $25.69 $53,440
Source: BLS, May 2017

As Nevada Christian colleges, both Multnomah University and Lincoln Christian University offer several scholarship programs to their students. Many faith-based scholarships, including the ones available from these two Christian colleges in Nevada, are school-specific. However, there are several national scholarship opportunities for students seeking a faith-based college education. In addition, Nevada provides its own students with a number of generous scholarships, even if they choose to pursue a non-faith-based college education.

Christian Scholarships

Cannon Endowment Scholarship $2,500

Who Can Apply: Seminarians affiliated with the United Methodist Church, Presbyterian USA Church, Christian Church Disciples of Christ, or the United Church of Christ are eligible to apply. Applicants must have plans to pursue careers as military chaplains. View Scholarship

Faith and Education Scholarship Fund $25,000

Who Can Apply: The Church of Christ considers applicants who are accepted to a four-year college or university and who are members of the church. Applicants must submit an application essay and three letters of recommendation. View Scholarship

Herbert W. and Corinne Chilstrom Scholarship $600 to $1,000

Who Can Apply: Lutheran women entering their final year at an ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) seminary are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be second-career students preparing for ordination. View Scholarship

National Presbyterian College Scholarship Program $1,000 to $1,500

Who Can Apply: This program is open to freshmen planning to attend a Presbyterian college or university as a full-time student and who demonstrate financial need. Applicants must write a brief essay answering two questions posed by the scholarship sponsors. View Scholarship

United Church of Christ Undergraduate Scholarship $500 to $1,500

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is open to members of the United Church of Christ enrolled in an accredited college or university in the U.S., and entering their sophomore, junior, or senior years. Applicants must submit a 500-word personal statement. View Scholarship

Scholarships for Nevada Residents

Assistance League of Las Vegas Scholarship $2,500

Who Can Apply: This program accepts applications from southern Nevada high school seniors planning to attend a four-year accredited college or university in Nevada. View Scholarship

Frank M. & Gertrude R. Doyle Foundation Scholarship $500 to $30,000

Who Can Apply: This is a need-based scholarship for Nevada students graduating from the Washoe County School District or the Huntington Union High School District. Applicants must be admitted to a two- or four-year institution anywhere in the United States. View Scholarship

Horatio Alger Nevada Scholarships $10,000

Who Can Apply: The Horatio Alger Association welcomes applications from high school seniors residing in Nevada who have overcome adversity to pursue a college degree at a nonprofit college. Applicants must have a demonstrable community service record and gross family income of $55,000 or lower. View Scholarship

Otto Huth Scholarship $40,000

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is open to Nevada residents who have aged out of the foster care system. Applicants must register as a full-time student at an accredited Nevada college and apply before their 20th birthday. View Scholarship

Rebel Challenge Transfer Scholarship $5,000 to $11,000

Who Can Apply: A University of Nevada-Las Vegas merit-based program, the Rebel Challenge scholarship is earmarked for transfer students with at least a 3.0 GPA. Applicants must carry less than 90 transferable credit hours. View Scholarship

Find a Church in Your Community

Starting life as a college student often means moving to a new neighborhood, where it may be a challenge to find convenient worship opportunities. Of course, attending a Christian school or a Nevada Christian college can mitigate this challenge. There are several websites that can also help facilitate this search. Students looking to nourish their minds while nurturing their souls have plenty of options.

Get Connected

Attending a Christian college in Nevada puts students in contact with like-minded individuals. While it's easy to maintain these ties in college or university, it becomes more of a challenge after graduation. Fortunately, there are Christian business websites that foster and strengthen these types of faith connections after graduation and throughout one's career.

  • Christian Business Network CBN is a group of Christ-centered professionals who share networking opportunities and various resources that help members pursue their careers while maximizing their calling as Christians.
  • Kingdom Business Network A global marketplace network, KBN is a platform for Christian entrepreneurs to distribute their products and services to an international market. It provides a digital meeting place for those seeking investors and potential investors.
  • International Christian Chamber of Commerce With a presence in over 102 countries worldwide, ICCC offers a wide range of services to its members. This includes hosting international conferences, providing training to extend and promote Christian principles in the business world, and Christian arbitration.

Find Christian Ministries

Attending a Nevada Christian college may not be possible for every student -- their major may not be offered by the institution, or it may not be the most financially sound decision. Nevertheless, there are several faith-based ministries at public universities they can explore to help foster and support their faith.

Interdenominational
  • Campus Crusade for Christ For almost seven decades, Cru has been helping students grow in their faith in Jesus, and share this faith with their families and communities.
  • Chi Alpha This Christ-centered campus organization seeks to reconcile students to Jesus by creating communities of fellowship, prayer, and worship. It seeks to transform the university, the marketplace, and the world.
  • International Fellowship of Evangelical Students Connecting over half a million students in more than 160 countries, IFES is a movement of students sharing and living the gospel of Jesus Christ in the local, national, and international arenas.
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes Established in 1954, FCA uses sports to bring the transforming power of Jesus Christ to every coach and athlete on the junior high, high school, college, and professional levels.
Catholic
  • Catholic Campus Ministry Association The CCMA promotes the mission of the Church among its student members in higher education through the formation and empowerment of campus ministers.
Lutheran
  • Lutheran Student Movement U.S.A. LSM-USA is a student-led organization composed of Lutheran college students. It houses its staff and resources at the Chicago office of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Presbyterian
  • Reformed University Fellowship Since the mid-1970s, RUF has been committed to serving the college student population by having ordained Presbyterian ministers in college campuses around the country and all over the world.
  • UKirk An independent organization funded by Presbyterian Church USA, UKirk (University Church) supports the mission of PC-USA by providing educational outreach and support for professional campus ministers.
Baptist
  • Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life BCM Life is composed of a network of Baptist college ministries that connects students to God through Jesus Christ, as well as to the life and mission of the Baptist Church.

Public Universities in Nevada with Christian Ministries

  • University of Nevada-Reno: The Campus Crusade for Christ chapter at the University of Nevada-Reno holds weekly meetings. The group refers to itself as Nevada Cru.
  • Nevada State College: Catholic Campus Ministry maintains an active presence at Nevada State College through the church of St. Thomas More. They nurture continuing education and formation in the Catholic faith, although all students are welcome.
  • University of Nevada-Las Vegas: With a student population of almost 30,000, UNLV boasts several faith-affiliated organizations including the Adventist Student Association, International Christian Fellowship, and St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Newman Community.
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