Training Only Student

Have a job but need training?

The Graduate Residency in Youth Ministry is unique to the Center for Youth Ministry Training. The residency program creates a whole-person learning environment by nurturing residents academically in the classroom, vocationally in the local church and through personal coaching, as well as emotionally and socially through peer interaction in a cohort of fellow graduate residents.

Graduate residents in the program gain experience in a 3-year supervised practicum as a youth director in a local church while earning a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry with a youth ministry emphasis through our seminary partners.

A Training Only resident is a Youth Director or Youth Minister who is already serving full-time or part-time within four hours drive of the Memphis, TN or Austin, TX area. These residents do not need to be placed at a church.  The youth director or their church pays a residency fee to participate fully in the CYMT program.


  • Practical on-the-job training
  • Master of Arts in Youth Ministry degree
  • Support – from a community of youth ministers
  • Coaching – from a veteran youth minister

Training Only Graduate Residency Costs

Training Only Graduate Resident’s churches and themselves apply to the CYMT program.  If accepted, the financial cost is $35,000 paid $1000 a month over the 35 months of the program.  The cost includes all tuition, books, coaching, and retreat costs (travel, room, and board).  These fees cover the youth director’s entire tuition and more than $45,000 worth of training and professional coaching over the life of the program.

Seminary Education + Practical Experience

The Graduate Residency at CYMT is designed to blend theological training with practical experience in the local church—a unique approach that develops youth ministers who are not only practical theologians but also theologically informed practitioners in youth ministry. On-the-job training combined with theological education will allow you to fully live into your call.

“Some youth ministry programs emphasize the learning of theory, others focus on practical skills, and still others emphasize internships or working in a church.  What is unique about CYMT is our commitment to equip our graduate residents through balance and integration of all these foundations for youth ministry expertise.” – Andrew Zirschky, CYMT Academic Director

Retreat-based Education

CYMT and our partner seminaries have developed a retreat-based model that provides the best education and training available by allowing students to take classes through intensive retreats while working in local congregations.  Learn More.

Service Agreement

The Center for Youth Ministry Training offers a program that combines all the elements necessary to develop you into a theologically informed and practically effective youth minister. Partnering with CYMT is a significant investment for your church in you and in their youth ministry. One way for you to approach your pastor, church council, or session with the idea of committing $35,000 over the next three years to your education and training is to create a service agreement with your church.

With a service agreement, the church would pay all or most of the CYMT program fees for you, which include all costs associated with the MAYM degree, books, coaching, and expenses. In return, the youth minister agrees to serve for an agreed period of time (for example, the three years of the program plus two additional years at your church). At the end of each year of service, the church forgives a portion of the debt. The Service Agreement protects and ensures that your church gets the maximum return for their investment.

The church’s benefit of a service agreement is the security in knowing that their ministry will benefit from your education and training beyond the length of the program. You benefit from formal education and training, not incurring debt, and a measure of job security.

We have created a sample agreement as a starting place for crafting a service agreement that you can use when approaching your church.

Veteran Youth Minister Program

CYMT has a Veteran Youth Minister Program with special pricing available for youth ministers who have been in professional youth ministry at least five years. Veterans can participate in the program for a reduced residency fee of $9,000, but will not receive coaching for themselves or their church.

Why be a CYMT resident instead of simply going to seminary?

Youth Ministry: It is what we do! We believe we have the best youth ministry education model in the country. Most seminaries do not offer a youth ministry class.

Burnout Rate: The burnout rate for youth ministry is 3.9 years. CYMT’s training and coaching teach graduate residents how to sustain and thrive as a youth minister.

Education matters: Only around 17% of paid youth workers have theological training, CYMT graduate residents are prepared both theologically and practically to develop strong youth ministries in your church.

Accountability: CYMT coaches hold both our residents and our partner churches accountable to developing the best youth ministry we can together. Open lines of communication allow for development and growth in the ministry.

Support: All CYMT coaches have over 12 years experience in a local church. Your coach and CYMT’s full time staff is there to ensure that youth ministry happens and to help when other “stuff” happens.

Community: A community of peer support and relationships are essential to youth director sustainability.