The traditional path for a Protestant minister is what is known as the "four plus three" route. That refers to a four-year bachelor's degree followed by three years to obtain a Master of Divinity diploma. New Hope United Church of Christ pastor Gary Brinn says that while he was able to take that route, rising tuition is putting it out of reach for many who may otherwise be called to the profession.
Churches, just like private businesses, are busy creating new ways to fulfill requirements for their career. In some cases that means the return of the seminary which acts as a trade school of sorts, the religious equivalent of an apprenticeship.