To become an ordained minister, simply register online with an organization such as the Universal Life Church or Open Ministry. While this legally authorizes an individual to officiate weddings in most states, it does not provide the same level of religious training and preparation that formal schooling such as seminary provides. Therefore, it is more difficult for someone ordained online to open her own church.
If the person desires to become a pastor or open her own church, she should consider attending seminary instead of becoming ordained online. This allows her to have a more official standing in the eyes of her church and her community.
If the individual seeking certification desires to be ordained in order to officiate wedding ceremonies, she should check whether her county allows officiating, as some counties only consider someone a minister if she has her own congregation. Similarly, federal institutions that offer special privileges to ministers are unlikely to offer them to someone ordained online.
It is advisable to contact the prospective online ministries by phone to verify whether they charge fees for ordination, whether they provide hard copies of the certificate, and whether they have a specific religious affiliation or are not religious at all. After ascertaining everything she needs to know, the final step is to register online, pay any relevant fees, and then receive credentials via mail.