Common questions

Common questions

Is an internship required?

Yes, internships are available both nationally and internationally. [MORE]

Can I be a teacher and a DCE?

Yes! In fact, our DCE program is designed to allow you to get an education degree which fits nicely as one of the four majors that work with DCE certification. The length of time for the degree process may vary based on the education degree that is pursued.

The DCE program itself is a five year program, and with some education degrees the student is required to take an extra semester or year based on the number of credits coupled with student teaching and the DCE internship. About 15-20% of our DCE students are also getting their teaching certificate

Since Seward’s DCE program is the largest, will I get the same care as if we went to a school with a smaller program?

Yes, we have three full time faculty dedicated to the care and concern of our DCE students not to mention all the faculty that share in program responsibilities across the university.

If I’m not Lutheran can I get DCE certification?

DCE certification is specific to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, so we would not be able to certify you as a DCE in the LCMS if you’re not a member of the LCMS.

However, we do have students who want to be prepared as a DCE and receive the excellent education our church body offers. All courses are open to students wanting to pursue religious education preparation and our DCE faculty will work with you to establish the best course of study for you as you seek to be prepared for ministry at the highest level.

What careers are available to DCE students?

Our graduates serve communities from metropolitan areas to rural towns all across the country, and even overseas. There are several congregations seeking candidates for each available DCE candidate. Alumni serve in congregations, camps, district and synod ministries; nearly 40% of all DCEs in the LCMS are Concordia University, Nebraska alumni.

Year-by-year as a DCE student

What does the first year for a DCE student entail?

During a student's first year at Concordia, it is important to begin to support and lay foundations for DCE ministry. History and literature of both the Old and New Testaments and introduction to psychology are several of the general education courses that will help to lay this foundation. Also during the first year, new DCE students begin to take part in DCE fellowship and spiritual growth opportunities.

Second year?

This year sees the continuation of groundwork for entrance into the DCE Program. Students take courses such as Biblical Interpretation and Human Relations and continue to work on general education requirements. An admission interview for the DCE Program is also scheduled during the end of the sophomore or beginning of the junior year.

Third year?

During the third (as well as the fourth) year, DCE students take the core sequence of courses for certification. This core comes from the fields of theology, education and psychology. These courses hone students' skills at articulating and teaching the faith, sharing it with others and relating well with other people and groups. Also, students begin work on their "specialization" within the DCE program. Currently, DCEs can graduate with a child, youth, adult, family life, outreach or parish music emphasis. Additional course work in these areas prepares students for a ministry emphasis upon graduation.

Fourth year?

During the fourth year, DCE students continue to take the core sequence of courses for certification (theology, education, psychology), as well as courses in their "specialization" within the DCE program. The fourth year typically includes a practicum experience in a local congregation. Students have an opportunity to apply their learning in a local congregation and also discuss it in class with their peers. Students are paired and work about five hours a week for 10 months in congregations that are within 30-40 minutes of the campus. At the end of the year, students are matched with their internships sites and meet their supervisors for the first time.

Fifth year?

The fifth year of DCE preparation is the culmination of the DCE learning experience. Students are assigned to a congregation for a 12-month internship. Like the practicum, it is intended to provide an opportunity to apply learning in the congregational (or camp) setting. This time however, it is on a daily basis and can occur anywhere in the country (and possibly the world). An on-site supervisor (typically the pastor, DCE or camp director) works with the intern to provide a good transition into full-time ministry. A supervisor from Concordia also maintains contact with the intern and does two on-site visits during the 12-month period.

Is your congregation looking for a DCE intern?

Learn more

Contact the Concordia, Nebraska DCE office

    800-535-5494, ext. 7437, or

    Concordia University - DCE Program
    800 N. Columbia
    Seward, NE 68434