That’s true, agreed, credentials will be required for a theology career.
However, the other side of the coin is that, imho, one can’t be a real theologian if one turns it in to a business, ie. a career. If one joins either academia or the clergy one’s inquiry will be limited by the group consensus of those organizations. If one strays too far from that group consensus then one’s reputation and thus career will be put in jeopardy, a strong incentive to limit one’s inquiry within safe boundaries.
I would agree that this limitation will not be a problem for some, perhaps many, but it is a real issue for anyone dedicated to following their inquiry where ever it may lead. Here’s a concrete example. There was a time in Catholic history when invading the holy land with armies was an important part of the group consensus. If a theologian of that time had argued too strongly against that consensus, he would likely soon find himself without a job, or in those times, perhaps without a head.
The situation is obviously far less dramatic in our times, but the basic equation remains in place, stay within the group consensus or be rejected by the group. If one is an amateur theologian then being rejected by the group is mostly an inconvenience. If one is is a professional theologian then being rejected by the group can mean you lose your home, your savings, have to yank your kids out of college etc.
So a young person considering a theology career is in a challenging position. They basically have to decide how correct the prevailing theological group consensus is, before they have studied theology to any significant degree. There are of course good arguments on all sides of the question, which doesn’t make the decision any easier.
Before a young person assumes that authority figures in academia and the clergy know what they are doing, a young person might consider such facts as…
The churches in Catholicism’s European homeland are emptying out, people are wandering away in substantial numbers.
The Church is experiencing a significant shortage of priests.
Catholic vs. Catholic ideological conflict tends to dominate the Catholic web.
Scandals of various types have undermined public respect for Catholic institutions.
This is not to say that Catholicism is dying or that the academic and clerical group consensus have nothing of value to offer. But such unpleasant facts should cause a young person to question whether they can make a truly useful contribution from within the walls of academia or the clergy. Maybe they can, or maybe not, I’m arguing only that it’s worth considering from the beginning.