Perhaps you feel the draw to theology. You want to be a theologian but you don’t have a PhD and don’t anticipate getting one. Is your desire beyond your grasp?
I can anticipate some people saying that every Christian is a theologian or should be. There may be some truth in that but I’m not talking about the average Christian who has some understanding of the Trinity or the atonement.
A theologian is someone who is intentional in their study and reflection upon theology. They study the Bible carefully and read the best of the theological works out there. They also distill other’s thoughts to develop their own understanding of Christian theology. Ideally they are publishing either articles or books in the area of Christian theology.
It is clear how a PhD in theology from a good school would be very helpful. I would say that if you are serious about theology that you should attempt to pursue doctoral studies in this area.
But this doesn’t mean that anyone without a PhD is not a theologian or the moment one gains their PhD that they become one.
To be a theologian, do the work of a theologian. Do the studying and do the thinking and do the writing.
You can write books and articles without having a PhD. You can read other books without a PhD.
Whether you plan to or do not plan to get a PhD, if you love theology, start being a theologian now. Go as far as you can with formal theological education but do not let that be the limit to your calling.