Oregon's religious landscape offers many opportunities for faith-based higher education at widely respected institutions. According to the Pew Research Center, 61% of adults in Oregon identify as Christian, with the largest demographic being 29% Evangelical Protestant. Other Christian denominations in the survey include mainline Protestant at 13% and Catholic at 12%. Of those surveyed, 45% consider religion "very important," 45% engage in daily prayer, and 29% attend religious services weekly.
61% of adults in Oregon identify as Christian, with the largest demographic being 29% Evangelical Protestant. Pew Research Center
Students at one of Oregon's Christian colleges can study cross-cultural ministry, youth ministry, Greek, Hebrew, Catholic studies, and church leadership. Accelerated programs in ordained ministry allow students to complete a bachelor's and a master's degree within five years. Among the denominational options available for students interested in attending a theological seminary, Oregon includes Catholic, Evangelical, and Quaker programs. Oregon also offers a women's center for ministry, retreats and pilgrimages, and general religious studies programs. Students interested in attending Christian universities in Oregon may choose from a diverse assortment of options for faith-based education.
Christian universities in Oregon offer a variety of support services for online students, such as religious discussion groups, online counseling and spiritual guidance, and interactive live streams of group prayer and worship services.
Online Christian colleges in Oregon offer a flexible and convenient alternative to traditional on-campus programs. Online and on-campus students complete the same coursework, integrating Christian principles with a broad liberal arts education. Distance learners access course readings, exam portals, pre-recorded lectures, and other materials through a school's learning management system. Online Christian colleges are an excellent option for students who need to balance study time with existing family, church, and work obligations.
Christian universities in Oregon offer a variety of support services for online students, such as religious discussion groups, online counseling and spiritual guidance, and interactive live streams of group prayer and worship services. Online programs develop a strong sense of belonging and fellowship among students, and some find they can access support services online easier than in traditional classroom settings. Consider your own inclinations, and weigh the relevant services accordingly. Matching your educational needs and goals with the right college provides the best foundation for your future success.
Finding the right school for you can involve substantial time and effort. A college degree requires significant investment, and you should consider a variety of factors as you explore Christian colleges in Oregon. You may have already heard enough about a targeted school to know the basics about its academic reputation, religious affiliation, and program offerings. Additional factors to consider include:
- Culture, lifestyle, and values: Does the school offer student organizations and/or extracurricular activities that interest you? What policies does the school set for drug and alcohol use? Is co-ed housing permitted on campus?
- Program offerings: Does the school provide a diverse liberal arts education, including concentrations and classes that suit your interests and career goals? Does the school curriculum merge faith-based teachings with traditional subject matter?
- Campus ministry: How active and well-respected is the school's ministry? Is regular attendance required for religious services? Are there churches nearby?
- Surroundings and community outreach: Do students typically engage in community events or volunteer service? Is the area generally considered safe?
- Employment and graduate school: How does the school prepare for job placement after graduation? Do they offer graduate theological seminaries?
Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools
Options for Christian colleges in Oregon include theological seminaries, Bible colleges, and religious studies programs through public non-Christian universities.
Theological seminaries provide rigorous graduate studies for professional leadership positions and ordination into the clergy. Seminary students may apply for federal financial aid. While seminaries prepare students for ministry, the curriculum also continues with studies in academic theory and advanced theology.
Bible schools emphasize Bible studies and concentrate on training for ministry roles that do not require ordination. Most Bible schools provide undergraduate biblical education, and some offer specialty diplomas or certificates. Bible colleges in Oregon typically operate under the authority of fundamentalist, Evangelical, or Pentecostal denominations. Attending a bible school disqualifies you from eligibility for federal financial aid.
Accreditation for Christian Colleges
To ensure that the schools under your purview offer a rigorous education, it's important to verify their accreditation status. Accreditation means that a school carries an official endorsement from regulatory bodies that guarantee it meets established standards of quality. Employers and professional licensing agencies assure the quality of your education through university accreditation. Only students enrolled in accredited institutions qualify for federal financial aid, and previous credits typically qualify for transfer only if you completed coursework at accredited schools.
For Oregon, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities provides regional accreditation.
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) monitors higher education accreditation and compiles a database of accredited schools. Under the ED, six designated agencies award regional accreditation according to geographic location. For Oregon, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities provides regional accreditation.
National accreditation applies to specific types of institutions such as vocational or religious schools, while certain programs may have specialized accreditation. Students enrolled in Christian and Bible colleges in Oregon should also check the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) website for specialized accreditation information.
According to Oregon's Office of Economic Analysis, current employment, income, and economic growth trends portend a positive economic outlook. Rapidly growing industries in Oregon include education, construction, technology, healthcare, and social services.
Oregon has recently transitioned from a resource-based economy to a service and manufacturing economy. Among the state's largest employers are Intel and Oregon Health & Sciences University. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Oregon has a 4.1% unemployment rate, a mean hourly wage of $25.52, and an annual mean wage of $51,010 for all occupations statewide.
Graduates of online Christian colleges often pursue religious community and social service occupations. With a tight labor market boosting wage growth, and employment growth meeting population gains, Oregon offers continued opportunity to graduates of Christian higher education institutions and Bible colleges in Oregon. The following table presents recent data from the BLS regarding state average wages and employment rates for several professional occupations in these fields.
|Occupation||Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||1,740||$22.22||$46,230|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||400||$22.03||$45,830|
|Mental Health Counselors||2,720||$26.76||$55,670|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||3,230||$23.26||$48,380|
|Healthcare Social Workers||1,480||$31.85||$66,240|
|Social and Human Service Assistants||6,130||$17.12||$35,610|
|Directors, Religious Activities and Education||1,550||$17.76||$36,940|
|Postsecondary Religion Teachers||720||$12.71||$26,440|
Students attending Christian universities in Oregon can take advantage of a variety of scholarship funding sources. Scholarships based on your career plans, major, financial need, state of residency, and religious affiliation are available. The list below features a selection of scholarships available to Christian students and residents of Oregon. The Oregon State Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC) maintains a catalog with details for all state scholarships; Oregon students may submit one application for $18 million in scholarships.
George Fox Biblical Studies Scholarship Competition $1,000-4,000
Presbyterian Student Opportunity Scholarship $2,000
American Baptist Financial Aid Program $3,000
United Methodist GBHEM General Scholarships $2,000
National Presbyterian College Scholarship $1,500
Scholarships for Oregon Residents
American Council of Engineering Companies of Oregon Varies
Benjamin Franklin/Edith Green Scholarship Varies
Insurance Professionals of Portland Legacy Scholarship Varies
William E. Keene Memorial Scholarship Varies
Home Builders Foundation - ACE/Gary E. Milgard High School Scholarship Not specified
Find a Church in Your Community
You can search the Church Finder and USA Churches directories for detailed listings of over 100 churches and Christian centers in Oregon. Browse by worship style, denomination, church size, or city. Some churches also maintain links to specific Bible colleges in Oregon.
Connecting with other Christians through networking websites provides several benefits, including access to employment opportunities, support, and fellowship. You can start your search by browsing the websites below.
- The Christian Business Network (CBN) The CBN promotes collaborative efforts among its members and offers professional networking groups and promotional services to Christian business professionals.
- Portland Christian Center (PCC) The PCC maintains a networking hub of partnerships with many community churches and organizations. Students can connect with a variety of Christian fellowship and interest groups.
- Mission Finder A nonprofit organization founded in 1998, Mission Finder provides an extensive online directory of Christian organizations offering volunteer service opportunities, local missions, and mission trips.
Find Christian Ministries
If your financial situation rules out attendance at private Christian colleges in Oregon, note that you can also find Christian ministries and fellowship groups at many public (non-Christian) universities in the state. The following list spotlights campus ministry organizations in several Christian denominations found on public college campuses.
- Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) With its mission centered on connecting and engaging communities with the gospel, Cru provides spiritual guidance, mentoring programs, campus ministries, and service opportunities for members.
- Chi Alpha With over 300 chapters nationwide, Chi Alpha provides support, resources, and networking opportunities through an interdenominational network of campus ministries sponsored by the Assemblies of God.
- International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) With services and support for student-led ministry and evangelism, the IFES administers initiatives such as governance development, leadership training, and helps establish new campus missions.
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Connecting sports with Christian faith, the FCA serves athletes and coaches interested in spiritual and personal growth. Established in 1954, the FCA offers training study materials, devotionals, and networking for members.
- Catholic Campus Ministry Association (CCMA) Promoting professional Catholic campus ministry, the CCMA offers advocacy, resources, and networking opportunities for ministers. Member benefits include special training opportunities and discounted graduate study at affiliated schools.
- Lutheran Student Movement USA (LSM) Connecting Lutheran youth leaders across the U.S., the LSM maintains several regional centers and provides networking opportunities, workshops, gatherings, and service learning for members.
- Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) Operated by the Presbyterian Church in America, the RUF offers a placement service to match seminary-educated, ordained ministers with college campuses and to establish churches in college areas.
- UKirk Young adults involved in Presbyterian campus ministries receive support, networking opportunities, and empowerment through UKirk, including access to a searchable directory of mission and service opportunities.
- Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life (BCML) A Baptist network of college and church ministries operating across the nation, the BCML maintains a searchable directory of ministries, employment opportunities, and leadership training information.
Public Universities in Oregon with Christian Ministries
- Eastern Oregon University (EOU): In addition to a campus Cru chapter, EOU features the Koinonia House ecumenical welcoming center, a joint effort of Presbyterian, Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Disciples, Lutheran, and Methodist groups.
- Oregon State University (OSU): Offerings for Christian students enrolled at OSU include a campus Cru chapter, a graduate Christian forum, a Real Life Christian group, and even a Christian veterinary fellowship.
- University of Oregon (UO): UO offers many groups for Christians, including chapters of Cru and Chi Alpha, an Episcopal campus ministry, an InterVarsity Christian fellowship, University Christian Fellowship, and a graduate Christian fellowship.