What Jobs Does a Religious Studies Major Prepare ME For?

Many students majoring in religious studies prepare themselves for jobs in religious vocations, although other options are also available. Graduates with a bachelor's degree can begin to pursue clergy, teaching and community outreach positions. Degrees in this area are offered through schools of theology, seminaries and divinity schools, and coursework covers philosophy and mythology alongside topics in Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. Schools offering Christian Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Religious Studies Careers

Religious studies programs are offered at many universities. These tend to be interdisciplinary programs that look at religion from a historical, cultural and philosophical viewpoint. Religious studies degree programs also look at a variety of different religious beliefs, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Because of the broad scope of these degree programs, graduates can choose to use their degree in a number of different fields. Graduate degrees are also offered in this field and may be necessary for some career paths. Below are just some of the careers graduates of religious studies degree programs can pursue.

Important Facts About These Occupations

Clergy High School Teacher Social and Human Services Assistants
Median Salary (2014) $43,950 $56,310 $29,790
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 5.6% 6% 11%
Required Education Depends on denomination; a bachelor's degree is a common path Bachelor's degree High school diploma or equivalent
On-the-Job Training Studying under a senior clergyman is common Internship or residency Short-term training is common

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Clergy

Religious studies majors may opt to pursue non-ordained clergy positions upon graduation. Ordained clergy, such as rabbi, priest and chaplain positions, require seminary training in addition to a bachelor's degree. To prepare for jobs in ministry, students majoring in religious studies are offered pastoral duty training with internship opportunities. Students also take classes in church ministries, local church organization and religious administration. Some non-ordained positions include:

  • Preacher
  • Pastor
  • Director
  • Administrator

Teacher

Majoring in religious studies can prepare a student to teach in denominational schools. In addition to a bachelor's degree, all states require completion of an approved teacher-training program and a specific number of subject and education credits that include supervised teaching practice. Private, religious schools sometimes hire individuals without teacher certification for administrative or classroom assistance positions. Teachers provide religious education instruction at the following levels:

  • Preschool
  • Elementary School
  • Middle School
  • High School

Community Outreach Worker

Although a bachelor's degree is not usually required in the field, many employers do require additional education beyond high school. Those who have majored in religious studies may go on to work for religiously affiliated non-profits, among other organizations. Duties for community outreach workers include helping clients obtain financial assistance, arranging rides for individuals who need them, coordinating community activities and assisting clients in crisis situations. Community outreach jobs include:

  • Mental health aide
  • Gerontology aide
  • Life skills counselor
  • Human service worker
  • Community support worker

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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