What Can I Do with a Divinity Degree?

If you are interested in working with people within a Christian or other faith-based context, obtaining a divinity or theology degree can be a path toward this type of work. Degree programs are available at both the baccalaureate and graduate levels. Keep reading to learn more about what you can do with a divinity degree. Schools offering Chaplaincy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

A Brief Overview of Divinity Degrees

In a divinity or theology bachelor's degree program geared towards the Christian faith, you can expect to take courses that focus on the history of the church and the Bible. A Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree program provides more in-depth study of this area and is designed for people wishing to become ordained as priests, ministers or types of spiritual leaders. Some master's degree programs are available that focus on other faiths as well, such as Buddhism.

You'll study ethics and conduct research to complete a capstone or thesis project for your master's degree program. A doctorate degree program in theology or ministry such as the Doctor of Divinity (D.Div.) can provide you the opportunity to learn about divinity and theology at the highest level, combining practice, theory, research and education.

Important Facts About This Field

Clergy Members College Professors Mental Health Counselors
Median Salary (2014) $43,950 $70,790 $40,850
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 6% growth 13% growth 20% growth
Similar Occupations Counselor, Teacher Psychologist, Education Administrator Social Worker, Substance Abuse Counselor
Key Skills Leadership and planning skills Interpersonal and critical-thinking skills Compassion and listening skills

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Become Ordained

Many people obtain the M.Div. or D.Div. degree and become ordained as a member of the clergy in a church or other religious organization. Members of the clergy have different titles, including pastor, priest or minister.

In a church setting, you would work with staff members and patrons of your church to perform sermons and ceremonies. If you became ordained in another faith, you would perform the duties that that organization called for. You might lead weddings, funerals and other special ceremonies that require religious and/or spiritual guidance. Attendees of your church or religious organization may seek your services for guidance and counseling.

You would also serve on committees or boards regarding programs, activities and finances of your church. If a member of your church experiences a dire situation, such as the death of a loved one, you may be called upon to provide prayer and guidance during that person's time of need. You would work closely within your community, in schools and with people in their homes, to provide guidance and counseling.

Become a Chaplain

Chaplains provide spiritual support outside of a church setting. They may work in hospitals, the military, prisons, schools and other organizations. As a chaplain, you might provide counseling to individuals in crisis or help an organization make ethical decisions. You might provide care to those reaching the ends of their lives or support the staff of an organization in their day-to-day activities.

Work as a Missionary

With a bachelor's degree in theology, you could become a missionary and travel the country or world, helping those less fortunate. You could work in hospitals and hospices to provide guidance to people with illnesses.

Teach at the College Level

With a graduate degree in divinity or theology, you could work as a college professor in the area of religious studies. You'll need a doctorate degree to become a full professor in theology or religion, but with a master's degree you could be an associate professor at a community college.

Become a Mental Health Counselor

Some schools offer programs in which you can combine your M.Div. with another degree. For example, the M.Div/M.S. (Master of Science) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program can prepare you to work as a mental health counselor. If you choose this route, you'll be required to complete a practicum and/or internship in counseling. You will also need to follow the licensing regulations of your state for mental health counselors.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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