Category Archives: Non-profit Tax Exempt Religious Organization

A Religious Degree for Spiritual Leaders – Seminary Degrees via Online Distance Learning

religious online degree PhD in Pastoral CounselingYou’re a person already working to improve the lives of others. Make the next step by earning a degree, such as Ph.D. in Pastoral Counseling, Ph.D. in Religion, Ph.D. in Metaphysics, Doctor of Divinity or Theology degree (see list of degree titles below). If you are not already ordained clergy, you also become an ordained minister at no extra cost with any degree from our interfaith seminary.

The Seminary is unique in the world because it confers religious degrees designed for all faiths, interfaith and multi-faith. This program empowers you as a spiritual teacher, leader, ordained minister, rabbi, priest, or other clergy by using the skills you already have. You receive the doctorate degree credentials you need to enhance your standing in your community and assure their confidence in you. Get started today on a new career making use of your spiritual ability.

A religious degree will enable you to enter the spiritual / religious workforce OR advance your current career as a spiritual teacher, leader or clergy. The Seminary offers degrees for all faiths in all spiritual fields, such as:

Theology Degrees

Bachelor of Theology, B.Th.
Master of Theology, M.Th.
Doctor of Theology, Th.D.


Bachelor of Divinity, B.Div.
Master of Divinity, M.Div.
Doctor of Divinity, D.Div. (Most respected and highest ranking degree in the U.K. and most of Europe)


Ph.D. in Metaphysics  (you become a religious doctor but also a metaphysician)

PhD in Religious Studies PhD in Spiritual Psychology Counseling Degree onlineDoctor of Pastoral Counseling, D.P.C.

Ph.D. in Pastoral Counseling
Ph.D. in Spiritual Counseling
Ph.D. in Christian Counseling
Ph.D. in Spiritual Psychology

Religious and Spiritual Education Degrees

Ph.D. in Religious Education
Ph.D. in Spiritual Education
Ph.D. in Christian Education

Other Seminary degrees:

Ph.D. in Religious Studies, PhD. in Religion
Bachelors and Masters Degrees of other disciplines


You may choose your own religious degree title. Just this afternoon we received a request from an artist for a PhD in Aesthetic Theology.  In over 25 years of granting religious degrees of all kinds, this degree title is new to us – but it is certainly approved. He is also approved to submit some of his art for his thesis.

IF YOU NEED MULTIPLE DEGREES, there are packages. THE SECOND IS HALF-PRICE and Alumni Discount will help you if you want a complete series of degrees, Bachelor, Masters followed by Doctorate Degree. Religious degrees are unique in that you do not have to get a Bachelors or Masters first before receiving a Doctor of Divinity degree, for example or religious degree of Ph.D.


Esoteric Interfaith Theological Seminary is exempt from accreditation and Authorized by Florida Commission of Independent Education Sec. 1005.06(1)(f) of Religious Institutions to award religious degrees

EIC, Inc. and Theological Seminary | 7257 NW 4th Blvd., Suite 78 | Gainesville, FL  32607

Start Your Own Church, Ministry, Spiritual Healing / Counseling Practice

Found a Church or Spiritual Healing Counseling Center Become ordainedWe help you become an ordained minister, so that you can found your own Church or ministry, start a Spiritual Healing Counseling Center, Incorporate as a church and become tax-exempt, thus being able to accept donations for your spiritual services.

For two decades now the Seminary has helped clergy get ordained and start their own churches and spiritual counseling / healing practices. Online here since 1999 we help you with all the paperwork to become ordained legally in three easy steps. You can then start the spiritual teaching and counseling, accept donations, and do the clergy work you have always felt called to do.

When ordained by us you become a wedding officiant at the same time, and can perform a wedding or weddings. You will have the legal ability to officiate marriages in all 50 states.

Some of our graduates have set up their own online and telephone spiritual counseling service (for example on Keen dot com) to compliment their live in-person house church, wedding chapel or ministry. A few have established spiritual healing centers where people come for all manner of spiritual services.

There is a great need in our uncertain times for alternative clergy, spiritual practitioners, ministers, rabbis, and anyone who can provide the public with the spiritual services mainstream churches, temples and synagogues deny them because they are not a member.

The Seminary also offers religious doctorate degrees such as the PhD in Religion, Metaphysics, the Doctor of Divinity, and Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) to those who want to enhance their minister credentials with a degree and the status of spiritual doctor. Free ordination with every degree if you are already not an ordained minister or other clergy.

Filing your taxes as a minister or other clergy member, don’t forget your tax breaks!

get ordained onlineWell, it’s tax time and as usual, I am slogging thru the sea of rules for ordained ministers and clergy. Since I direct a Seminary that ordains several ministers per month, I am also asked tax questions by our alumni this time of year. I came across some very big tax breaks for ministers I had forgotten about! With this economy, we clergy need every tax break we can get.

For example, all these years I’ve been filing my taxes as a member of the clergy, first as an ordained minister / pastor, priest and then bishop, and all these years as an advisor to hundreds of ministers and rabbis we have ordained over the years (we’ve been ordaining ministers since 1987), I have been missing out on some of the many tax benefits.

Most ministers know you can (with a bunch of paperwork) exempt yourself from paying federal income taxes and social security. You then have to figure out your own retirement, but there are tons of cool retirement benefits for pastors and ministers, so it’s not that bad. I personally pay into the social security system every year called self employment tax. Ministers can report income as self-employment income if their church issues them a 1099 (which is easier than you think, church founders and directors – as church director, I have to sign my own 1099, ironically). The church can also pay you with a W2 – also not hard to draw up if you have founded a church and are now worried sick, just get organized in January to make the deadlines. Some ministers even get one W2 showing salary paid and a 1099 for all the fees they earned from performing a baptism, officiating a wedding, funeral, etc. My church doesn’t really make enough to pay me a salary, but I do get some fees as a wedding officiant, for doing an in person ordination ceremony, etc. So the church pays me every year with a 1099 MISC.

What a lot of ministers are missing out on and which I used to not really care about, is the housing allowance. If you have founded a church as a non-profit and it is bringing in donations and finally able to pay you the minister, (or rabbi, chaplain, priest) a salary or with a 1099 for a bunch of fees, you can subtract a huge amount of that income from your taxable income – that is you don’t have to pay taxes on it. The housing allowance means you can basically “deduct” not only your mortgage or rent payment, but also utilities, repairs and even furniture purchases. IRS Publication 517 which you can find online easily, explains a lot of the details. One of our ordained ministers recently ordained founded their own church and is now issuing themselves a salary. The board of directors (you only have to have 3 people, one of which is yourself to found a church) then made a resolution at their very first meeting to pay her a salary and also a housing allowance of $2000 a month, which is the going rate in her area for a furnished house plus utilities.

To be able to use the housing allowance, they said it is best to be an ordained minister, not just a licensed or a commissioned minister. In an audit if you are a “duly ordained minister” you have the best chance for the housing allowance to be upheld by the IRS. Licensed or commissioned ministers do not normally qualify for it. At first I thought that doesn’t make sense, but then again we have always “duly” ordained our candidates never really having a need to make a licensed or commissioned minister.

Those who found and run a wedding chapel also can benefit from the ordained minister tax breaks, and the wealth of info in the online IRS publications pertaining to clergy and members of religious orders.

Render unto Caesar that which is “his” would now be “Render unto Uncle Sam!”

Email me if you have any questions about becoming ordained.


Bishop Katia