Program Options

DCE students at CUC have the option of tailoring their educational experiences to meet their specific interests and goals. You can either pursue single certification as a Director of Christian Education, or you may take the dual option to become certified as a DCE and to earn your elementary teacher license.

In either option, 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 experiential assignments that challenge you to develop not only as a student, but also as a professional DCE-in-training. To further prepare you for Christian education ministry, all DCE students have a minor in theology that will deepen your understanding of Holy Scripture and Lutheran doctrine.

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

Field Experience

A valuable part of the DCE Program requirements includes field experience. In the second year of the program, you will be assigned to a local parish and congregational supervisor. This experienced congregational DCE or pastor will serve as a mentor to you as you take your classroom learning to a practical level. Students in fieldwork assist their congregations in the many roles of Christian education, such as teaching Sunday school, presenting children’s messages in worship and Lutheran day school chapel services, providing leadership and support in youth ministry, participating in worship music, helping plan events, and much more.


Following successful completion of on-campus coursework and fieldwork, typically the fifth year of the Program, DCE students leave the CUC campus to serve a year-long paid internship. This is a crucial step towards becoming certified as a Director of Christian Education. The internship provides the student with opportunities 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.I

f you are a congregation interested in applying for a DCE intern, please visit us on the Information for Congregations page.