Program Options

As a DCE student at Concordia Chicago, you have options to tailor your educational experience to your specific interests and goals. You can either pursue single certification as a Director of Christian Education, or you may take the dual option and become certified both as a DCE and a state-certified elementary teacher. You will also have the option of completing a DCE specialization, such as youth ministry, family ministry, music, or outreach/evangelism.

The DCE core classes serve as the heart of our educational program by bringing ministry-specific discussions and skills to your academic career. Many of the core classes feature fieldtrips to local parishes, DCE guest speakers, and practical assignments that challenge you to develop not only as a student but as a professional DCE-in-training. To further prepare single certification students for Christian education ministry, a theology minor provides a deep understanding of Holy Scripture and Lutheran doctrine.

For details on the DCE Program’s certificate requirements, please consult our current catalog.

Field Experience

Part of the requirements of the DCE Program includes field experience. In the second year of the program, you will be assigned to a local parish and congregational supervisor, who will serve as a mentor to you as you take your classroom learning to a practical level. Students in fieldwork assist their congregation in the many roles of Christian education, such as teaching Sunday School or leading children’s messages, as well as providing support in youth ministry, participating in worship music, helping plan events, and much more.


In the fifth year of the Program, DCE students leave Concordia’s campus on a year-long paid internship, a crucial step towards becoming certified as a Director of Christian Education. This is the student’s opportunity to learn first-hand what it means to be a full-time professional church worker in today’s congregations.

Past interns have been placed in countless churches all over the country. Prior to the assignment, the student meets with the Program Directors to discuss his/her ministry interests and abilities to determine his/her best placement opportunity.

If you are a congregation interested in applying for a DCE intern, please click here.

Intern Spotlight

Cristine Schafer
St. Paul Lutheran Church,
Aurora, Illinois

"God has blessed me to find fuel to begin a new ministry that helps fan the flame in my current ministries. For me, young womens' ministry is something I find myself spending extra time creating and planning...I am learning that ministries need to feed one another rather than compete. Kinds of ministry may seem like a wash if you don't take a moment to step back to connect them to one another.

Connecting ministries connect people.
Asking God to use me in everyday life to be His servant is a central message gained from Concordia. This does not mean skimping out on my studies or replacing biology with 'ultimate frisbee education hour.' Instead, it meant that I took as much from each class, studying with my full concentration, turning papers in 'on time,' and hoping that one day, all this textbook knowledge would have some sort of purpose.

Learning to dedicate myself to classes when I could have found something more fun or interesting has been the backbone to preparing for internship. So, when I am checking out at the end of the day, I know that I am prepared in Word and Deed. I know something about God and his church, and I am ready to be an active part to serve, restore, and prepare others to be active vessels carrying out long lists of God's active love."