Washington State is home to a diverse community of Christian churches and a rich network of distinguished colleges and universities. In recent years the state has introduced several education initiatives to increase college enrollment; according to U.S. News, Washington currently ranks third on the list of best states in the country for higher education. Washington is also home to large Evangelical Protestant and Catholic communities. The Pew Research Center reports that 61% of adults in this state identify as Christian, and 44% of adults say that religion is very important in their lives. Around 30% of adults in Washington attend church at least once a week, while 46% of adults pray daily.
61% of adults in Washington identify as Christian, and 44% of adults say that religion is very important in their lives. Pew Research Center
Connected to this religious landscape are the state's many Christian colleges, which are renowned for providing strong liberal arts and traditional academic programs alongside a Christian education. Christian colleges in Washington include Seattle Pacific University, Whitworth University, and Northwest University. These institutions are well known for their engineering, health science, business administration, and economics programs. Attending a Washington Bible college can be an excellent way to integrate higher education and faith, teaching you to apply your faith in practical ways that support your career goals.
Online Christian colleges provide flexible and affordable education. Most online programs allow students to work from their home with no obligations to attend classes or other on-campus meetings. Additionally, many online programs feature asynchronous learning, which allows students with career, family, or church obligations to complete the coursework on their own schedules. The convenience of online programs can also help students save money on commuting and room and board. Especially for universities in expensive cities like Seattle, online programs provide students with the option to live in areas with lower housing costs.
In addition to their flexibility and affordability, online Christian colleges integrate faith-based learning into online settings. Online Christian programs generally provide the same curriculum that on-campus programs provide. Additionally, many Christian universities in Washington offer online resources to help distance learners feel spiritually and socially connected and supported. These resources often include online spiritual counseling, live streams of student worship services, and groups that help students connect with their peers.
When researching Christian colleges in Washington, be sure to consider your career, family, and church responsibilities. It's also important to consider campus size, campus values, the surrounding community, the school's online resources, and the program offerings. Smaller campuses tend to allow for a closer-knit, more unique Christian community. Furthermore, a low student-to-faculty ratio often suggests that the institution offers more attentive faculty. However, larger campuses sometimes offer a greater selection of classes and more resources such as athletic teams, fraternity and sorority opportunities, and large libraries.
It's important to take into account which resources the school offers students for integrating faith into the online learning experience.
When considering campus values, it's important to research the school's lifestyle expectations and housing policies; be sure to ask whether or not the school prohibits the use of drugs and alcohol, if the school allows co-ed housing, and if the school requires students to attend chapel and participate in community service. When considering the school's surrounding community, research whether or not the area is safe and if there are opportunities for service work, volunteering, and internships.
Additionally, it's important to take into account which resources the school offers students for integrating faith into the online learning experience. Be sure to research the type of education that the school offers, keeping in mind whether the school offers a liberal arts or a traditional academic education, and whether this education is Bible or ministry-focused.
Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools
There are a few different kinds of Christian higher education institutions. Bible colleges offer associate and bachelor's programs and usually require students to have a high school diploma. These programs focus on biblical studies to enhance general education studies; students at Bible colleges can earn degrees in common fields such as business and education within a Christian framework. Required courses for these colleges often include old and new testament studies, Greek and Hebrew, and standard classes such as English and math.
Seminaries offer master's and doctoral degrees. These degrees usually focus on preparing students for ministry leadership roles as pastors, counselors, missionaries, and church planters. Seminary programs require students to have a bachelor's degree and offer coursework in theology and biblical studies, Greek and Hebrew, and practical skills for ministry.
Accreditation for Christian Colleges
When searching for a Washington Bible college, it's important to make sure that the program is accredited. Accreditation refers to the process in which both the school and a regional, national, or specialized accrediting agency evaluate the school or program to ensure that it meets certain academic standards. Many graduate schools only accept degrees from accredited programs; similarly, many undergraduate programs only accept transfer credits from accredited schools. Additionally, federal student loans are typically only granted to students who attend accredited schools.
The main regional accrediting agency for Christian colleges in Washington is the Northwest Association of Colleges and Schools.
Regional accreditation is more popular and is awarded to degree-oriented, nonprofit institutions. National accreditation is often granted to for-profit or religious institutions and trade schools. Specialized accrediting agencies grant accreditation to higher education programs in specific fields to ensure that they meet the standards for these fields.
The main regional accrediting agency for Christian colleges in Washington is the Northwest Association of Colleges and Schools. Bible colleges in Washington may also be accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education. See the U.S. Department of Education's database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs for more information.
Students attending Christian colleges in Washington will find plenty of career opportunities. U.S. News recently ranked Washington as the number one state in the country for economic growth, and the third best state in the country for general economic stability and potential. The employment rate in Washington is currently 4.8%. For the Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett metropolitan areas, the unemployment rate is 3.9%, and the rate is 6.5% in the Spokane area. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean hourly wage for all occupations in Washington is $27.63, while the mean annual wage is $57,480.
The fastest-growing industries in Washington State are medicine and global health, information communication and technology, business and marketing, and aerospace.
The fastest-growing industries in Washington State are medicine and global health, information communication and technology, business and marketing, and aerospace. Rapidly growing jobs in these industries include marketing specialists and analysts, software developers, computer hardware engineers, chiropractors, physical therapists, and web developers.
Below you can find more information for careers in community and social service-related occupations in this state. Out of all the jobs listed below, mental health counselors, rehabilitation counselors, social workers, and social and human service assistants have the highest numbers of employment. Clergy members, marriage and family therapists, and healthcare social workers earn the highest annual wages in Washington State.
|Occupation||Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||2,810||$18.77||$39,030|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||350||$26.86||$55,870|
|Mental Health Counselors||4,050||$22.21||$46,200|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||6,160||$23.66||$49,220|
|Healthcare Social Workers||3,000||$30.06||$62,520|
|Social and Human Service Assistants||6,100||$17.92||$37,270|
|Directors, Religious Activities and Education||150||$28.22||$58,690|
|Religous Workers, all other||400||$15.67||$32,600|
The question of how to pay for college is a common concern among students. However, there are many scholarships available for students attending Christian colleges, as well as for students attending public and Christian colleges in Washington State. Below is a list of these scholarships with more information about eligibility and the award amounts.
National Presbyterian Scholarship Up to $2,500
John W. Devitt Scholarship $1,500
United Methodist Dollars for Scholars $1,000
Women's Missionary Union Foundation Scholarships Varies
Scholarships for Washington Residents
Foundation for College Christian Leaders Varies
Korean American Scholarship Foundation Varies
Daughters of the Pioneers of Washington Scholarship $1,500
Cancer for College Pacific Northwest Scholarship Varies
The Scottish Rite Scholarship $3,000
Find a Church in Your Community
Whether you attend a Washington Bible college or a public college in this state, it's important to find a church that can help you feel supported during your studies. Both Church Finder and USA Churches can help you locate nearby churches that fit with your beliefs and values.
Christian networking websites are useful tools for connecting with other students at Christian universities in Washington and elsewhere. These sites feature resources for finding jobs, mentorship programs, and other opportunities.
- The Christian Business Network CBN connects Christian professionals across many different industries. Members can create profiles to market their services and can chat and collaborate with other professionals.
- Christians in Science CIS is an international organization that focuses on supporting scientists, teachers, students, and other individuals who would like to integrate their Christian faith with studies and careers in science.
- Ministry Employment Ministry Employment is a Christian job search that allows students and professionals to find ministry-related occupations across the country.
Find Christian Ministries
Whether for financial, personal, or other reasons, some students are not able to attend Christian universities. Fortunately, many public universities in Washington and throughout the country offer Christian ministries for students. Below is a list of campus ministry organizations.
- Campus Crusade for Christ Serving college students with diverse Christian backgrounds, Cru offers spiritual guidance, hosts meetings, and organizes service opportunities and other activities.
- Chi Alpha This organization maintains ministries on college campuses all over the world. Though its ministries are unique to each campus, Chi Alpha typically hosts prayer groups, worship and fellowship meetings, and mission and discipleship opportunities.
- International Fellowship of Evangelical Students Established on college campuses in over 160 countries, IFES supports student leaders and student-led groups. The organization hosts regional events, as well as its annual World Student Day.
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes FCA is a large global organization that supports student athletes and coaches who are interested in balancing athletics with their spiritual lives. FCA facilitates weekly worship and prayer meetings, annual conferences, bible studies, and other student support groups.
- Catholic Campus Ministry Association The CCMA serves Catholic ministers and other Catholic leaders who work on college campuses. The network hosts an annual convention and provides several other resources and tools such as small group discussion guides.
- Lutheran Student Movement USA LSM-USA is a student-led organization that is connected to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. LSM hosts a national gathering for Lutheran students and specializes in organizing alternative spring break programs.
- Reformed University Fellowship With ministries on 140 campuses across the country and in several locations abroad, RUF supports an extensive community of college students. The organization's Church Initiative seeks to establish churches in university towns.
- UKirk An extension of the Presbyterian Church USA, UKirk provides resources for leaders who work in college ministry. UKirk resources include grants, conferences and other gatherings; an annual pilgrimage; and job search support.
- Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life This Baptist organization works with college students to organize worship groups, small group meetings, student leadership development, and mission and other service opportunities.
Public Universities in Washington with Christian Ministries
- University of Washington One of the largest universities in the country, UW offers numerous Christian support services. Students can participate in Reformed University Fellowship, Campus Crusades for Christ, and several other organizations.
- Eastern Washington University EWU is home to Chi Alpha and Campus Crusades for Christ. It's also home to other ministries such as Alpha Omega Campus Ministry and the Catholic Newman Center.
Western Washington University Students at Western Washington can participate in Reformed University Fellowship. The university is also home to several other local Christian organizations.