Christian Colleges in North Carolina

Christian students exploring options for faith-based higher education will discover a welcoming religious landscape in North Carolina. This is especially true for those who identify as Protestant. The Pew Research Center reports that the religious composition of adults in North Carolina is predominantly Protestant, with Protestant denominations far exceeding national averages. Nearly 80% of the adult population identifies as Christian, with the largest denominations listed as Evangelical Protestant (35%) and Mainline Protestant (19%). The center also reports that 62% of North Carolina residents consider religion to be "very important" and 39% attend religious services at least once per week.

Nearly 80% of the adult population identifies as Christian, with the largest denominations listed as Evangelical Protestant (35%) and Mainline Protestant (19%). Pew Research Center

The denominations affiliated with higher education institutions in North Carolina include Society of Friends (Quakers), Methodist, Roman Catholic, Moravian, and Evangelical Lutheran. The state also hosts several prominent theological seminaries, attracting students from all over the world. Additionally, many public universities offer religious studies programs, including options for distance learners. Students interested in local church activities can supplement their studies by enrolling in classes offered by church-based Bible institutes. On-campus, hybrid, and online programs can all be found in North Carolina.

With smaller enrollment rosters than public universities, many Christian colleges in North Carolina offer opportunities for more personalized support from faculty and staff.

Integrating academics with Christian teachings, online Christian colleges offer several benefits without sacrificing educational rigor. While each school features its own mission, online students complete the same faith-based coursework as on-campus students and receive comparable access to student resources. With smaller enrollment rosters than public universities, many Christian colleges in North Carolina offer opportunities for more personalized support from faculty and staff. Additionally, flexibility and convenience consistently score high on the list of reasons distance learners opt for online study. Asynchronous classes enable distance learners to structure their studies around existing professional, church, and/or family obligations. Affordability also attracts online students; this format avoids costs related to commuting and on-campus accommodations, enabling online students to reduce their expenses.

Most Christian online colleges offer spiritual support for distance learners. These offerings may include live interactive streams of group prayer and worship services, online discussion forums, active campus ministries, and faith-based counseling. These features provide participants with a strong sense of community, belonging, and religious fellowship. For dedicated and self-motivated students, online study can provide an efficient and accessible way to earn a quality education grounded in Christian principles.

As you research Christian colleges in North Carolina, you will need to evaluate several factors to find the program that best matches your needs. Start by trying to find the answer to a few critical questions: how active is the campus ministry? What resources does the school provide for online students to support spiritual development? It may also be helpful to look at factors that make each school stand out. Does a school offer interesting student organizations or groups? Does a program feature a diversified liberal arts education, including concentrations and classes matching your interests and goals? If your aim is to become an ordained minister, you may decide to remove North Carolina Bible colleges from your list -- some of these schools do not offer a graduate-level education.

A few more things worth considering during your search:

  • Campus surroundings, size, and culture: What does a school offer to Christians interested in extracurricular activities, such as music, competitive sports, and arts? And how many churches can be found near campus? Rural campuses may be limited in terms of nearby amenities, but smaller schools can provide an increased sense of community, lower student-to-faculty ratios, personalized attention from teachers, and the support of your Christian peers.
  • Campus lifestyle and values: Is there a requirement to attend chapel or other religious services at specific times? Is service work required? And what are a school's policies on the use of drugs and alcohol?
  • Employment and graduate education: Does a school consistently achieve a favorable job placement rate? And do graduates commonly continue on to theological seminaries?
Careful consideration of these variables will improve your chance of finding the right Christian college in North Carolina for you.

Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools

Higher education options for students interested in attending one of the many Christian colleges in North Carolina include Bible schools, theological seminaries, and taking religious courses within a divinity department at a larger, secular college. Theological seminaries offer graduate-level education in advanced theology, preparing graduates to assume Christian leadership and ministry roles, such as ordained clergy and pastoral counselors. North Carolina is home to several respected theological seminaries. These institutions provide specialized training for the ministry, and many focus heavily on theory. Seminary students at appropriately accredited schools can apply for federal funding.

Bible schools, in contrast, offer Bible-based, post-secondary curricula that focuses more on practical experience. Students attending a North Carolina Bible college typically hold affiliations with Fundamentalist, Evangelical, or Pentecostal denominations. Some Bible schools also offer associate degrees and specialized certificates or diplomas.

Accreditation for Christian Colleges

As you refine your plans to attend a Christian college in North Carolina, be sure to check the accreditation status of the schools on your checklist. Accreditation is a process of review that ensures higher education programs and institutions meet rigorous standards of quality. Only students attending properly accredited schools receive access to federal financial aid. Accreditation also improves the likelihood that earned credits can transfer between schools.

The relevant agency for Christian online colleges in North Carolina is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Three classifications apply to accrediting agencies: regional, national, and specialized. Regional accrediting agencies evaluate institutions of higher education within a given region; this designation is also considered to be the most prestigious. The relevant agency for Christian online colleges in North Carolina is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. National accrediting agencies typically review special-purpose institutions, such as vocational or religious schools, while specialized or programmatic accrediting agencies evaluate specific departments or programs within larger institutions.

The U.S. Department of Education maintains a database featuring accreditation status information. North Carolina Bible college students can also check the list of member colleges at the Association for Biblical Higher Education's website to verify a Christian school's accreditation status. In addition to evaluating academic rigor, the association appraises ministry formation programs and Bible studies coursework for traditional and online Christian colleges.

According to reports available through the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the state consistently achieves high scores for its competitive business climate and economic development initiatives. In recent years, North Carolina's economic growth has been particularly impressive. With a moderate climate, a low cost of living, and an expanding population -- projected to reach 12 million by 2030 -- North Carolina is expected to undergo ample economic expansion. Rapidly growing industries in the state include biotechnology, aerospace and defense, energy, information technology, and finance. The state government sector is North Carolina's largest employer, and the state also boasts a booming IT industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an unemployment rate of 4.5%, a mean hourly wage of $22.15, and an annual mean wage of $46,080 in the state.

Many graduates of online Christian colleges pursue work centered on social services, community, and religion. The table below features recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on the average employment rates and wages for several related occupations in these fields. With a strong employment outlook in the state, graduates of Christian colleges in North Carolina can look forward to plentiful career opportunities.

Community and Social Service Occupations in North Carolina
Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors 1,820 $21.39 $44,480
Marriage and Family Therapists 370 $24.45 $50,860
Mental Health Counselors 4,000 $23.21 $48,280
Rehabilitation Counselors 2,640 $18.28 $38,020
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 10,140 $22.21 $46,200
Healthcare Social Workers 3,540 $24.91 $51,810
Social and Human Service Assistants 7,470 $14.19 $29,510
Clergy 960 $23.19 $48,230
Directors, Religious Activities and Education 130 $41.76 $86,860
Religious Workers, all other 260 $14.03 $29,170
Source: BLS, May 2017

Scholarship opportunities for students who choose to enroll in a Christian college in North Carolina come from many sources. Prospective learners can pursue scholarships based on their state of residency, religious or institutional affiliation, and career goals. The list below contains just a few of the scholarships available to Christians and residents of North Carolina.

Christian Scholarships

Champions for Christ Foundation Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: The Champions for Christ foundation awards scholarships to support students planning to go into full-time service roles as Christian ministers. View Scholarship

Harvey Fellowship $12,000

Who Can Apply: The Mustard Seed Foundation awards fellowships to Christian students in underrepresented fields who study at one of five universities. Applications should be competitive, and students must demonstrate a unique and culturally influential vocational vision. View Scholarship

Emma Kapp Ogburn Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: The Winston-Salem foundation awards scholarships to Methodist students in Forsyth County, North Carolina who plan to serve in the fields of Christian ministry or Christian education. View Scholarship

Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree Pro Patria and Pro Deo Scholarships $1,500

Who Can Apply: The Knights of Columbus Supreme Council awards scholarships to students entering their freshman year at a U.S. Catholic college or university. Applicants must be Knights of Columbus or Columbian Squires members or the child of a member. View Scholarship

Young Christian Leaders Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: The Daniel P. Buttafuoco & Associates Law Firm provides financial support to young Christians who demonstrate leadership skills and academic merit. View Scholarship

Scholarships for North Carolina Residents

Douglas Gray Kimel Scholarship $700

Who Can Apply: The Winston-Salem Foundation awards scholarships to students who demonstrate academic merit and financial need and plan to pursue an undergraduate degree in music. Preference is given to students planning to enter a church vocation. Students must take at least 50% of their coursework in a traditional classroom setting. View Scholarship

Jagannathan Scholarships Varies

Who Can Apply: The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority provides scholarships for first-year college students who demonstrate financial need, academic achievement, and leadership skills. Students must attend a University of North Carolina institution. View Scholarship

Crumley Roberts Next Step Scholarships Varies

Who Can Apply: The Crumley Roberts Foundation awards scholarships to North Carolina community college students who plan to transfer to an accredited, four-year institution in the coming fall. View Scholarship

Retail Consumer Alliance Foundation Scholarships $2,500

Who Can Apply: The North Carolina Retail Merchants Association provides scholarships to North Carolina residents employed by an NCRMA retail or grocery member store, or who have a spouse or parent employed at a member store. View Scholarship

GSK Opportunity Scholarship Up to $20,000

Who Can Apply: The Triangle Community Foundation awards scholarships to Durham, Orange, and Wake County residents who have overcome significant adversity and plan to attend a public university or community college in North Carolina. View Scholarship

Find a Church in Your Community

To find churches located in a target area, students enrolled in Christian colleges in North Carolina can search the Church Finder and USA Churches websites. The state has more than 500 church listings, and you can adjust the filters according to your desired denomination, worship style, congregation size, keyword, or city.

Get Connected

Students attending Christian colleges in North Carolina can find support, employment information, and fellowship through networking websites.

  • The Christian Business Network Established in 2002, the CBN offers professional networking opportunities, valuable resources, and promotional services to facilitate collaboration among Christian business people across the nation.
  • Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of NC A fellowship of individuals and churches based in Winston-Salem, the CBF fosters cooperation and leadership development among Baptists with shared interests, experiences, and beliefs.
  • The Christian Hospitality Network The CHN, a nonprofit alliance of innkeepers and other providers of hospitality services, hosts the most comprehensive searchable online directory of Christian-owned lodging accommodations for travelers.

Find Christian Ministries

Students whose financial resources do not permit attendance at Christian online colleges may want to consider enrolling in a public, secular institution and seeking out on-campus Christian ministries. Many schools offer student organizations, Christian fellowship groups, and informal meetups to help individuals find a religious community.

Interdenominational
  • Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) Offering mentoring programs, campus ministries, Bible studies, volunteer opportunities, and spiritual guidance, Cru provides a host of resources to connect communities with the gospel.
  • Chi Alpha Chi Alpha is an interdenominational, nationwide network of campus ministries sponsored by the Assemblies of God. Each campus receives support and resources, forming connections with larger groups.
  • International Fellowship of Evangelical Students The IFES supports student-led ministry and global evangelism through programs and services, such as leadership training initiatives, governance development, and scripture engagement.
  • Fellowship of Christian Athlete Founded in 1954, the FCA provides resources for Christian athletes and coaches to link sports and faith, including devotionals, personal growth materials, and training guides.
Catholic
  • Catholic Campus Ministry Association The CCMA promotes Catholic campus ministry as a profession and provides helpful resources to campus ministers, including leadership training, advocacy, and establishing standards of care for ministers.
Lutheran
  • Lutheran Student Movement USA Based out of the Chicago Evangelical Lutheran Church, and with many regional centers across the nation, LSM-USA is a student-led networking and youth leadership organization connecting Lutheran college students.
Presbyterian
  • Reformed University Fellowship The RUF operates official campus ministries and fellowship groups through the Presbyterian Church in America. The group is committed to placing seminary-trained, ordained ministers on college campuses.
  • UKirk UKirk provides support and resources for young adults involved with Presbyterian campus ministries, including regional gatherings and a searchable database of service and mission opportunities.
Baptist
  • Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life The BCML is a nationwide network offering resources for Baptist campus and church ministries, including a collegiate ministry directory, job opportunities, and leadership training materials.

Public Universities in North Carolina with Christian Ministries

  • North Carolina State University: NCSU offers extensive campus services for Christians, including Grace Christian Life, Presbyterian and Catholic campus ministries, Chi Alpha, Cru, a gospel choir, and a Christian graduate student fellowship.
  • East Carolina University: ECU offerings include a religious studies program; Presbyterian and Lutheran campus ministries; an interdenominational campus Christian fellowship; a cooperative Baptist student fellowship; and chapters of Cru, FCA, and RUF.
  • University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill: UNC groups include chapters of Chi Alpha, FCA, RUF, CBSF, and Cru; a campus Christian fellowship; a graduate student fellowship; an Episcopal campus ministry; and several non-denominational groups.
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