What is the Employment Outlook for Careers in Theology?

Theology careers usually involve some educational preparation. Degrees in this field may focus on the study of one religion, several, or a comparison of more than one religion. Coursework could include the study of religious texts, world religions, and religious cultural practices. Graduate coursework is more intense and focused on leadership, preaching, and counseling. Statistics concerning these careers fall into three defined areas of focus: post-secondary teachers, clergy, and religious activities directors.

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Post-secondary Teachers

With the highest median salary for all careers in this area, post-secondary teachers (median salary $66,380) of religion or philosophy are compensated well. These teachers may work at colleges, universities, and religious centers. These teachers must maintain and track grades and often publish scholarly articles to stay current in their field.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, New York, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina are states where post-secondary teachers have the best chance at finding work through 2024. The top three metropolitan areas for jobs as post-secondary teachers of theology are big cities: New York/New Jersey, Washington Metro Area, and Los Angeles/ Long Beach/Glendale; however the top three paying metropolitan areas are Durham/Chapel Hill, NC, Fayetteville/Springdale/ Rogers AR, MO, and Providence/Warwick in RI and MA.


With a median salary of $44,250, work as clergy members rewards the advanced degrees achieved for these positions. These would be spiritual leaders for a congregation or group of people. Clergy members may work in a church, hospital, or home health care organization. They lead religious rituals and organize other events for the members of the parish and community. Some provide one-on-one spiritual counseling as it relates to substance abuse, domestic violence, and financial issues.

After completing their advanced training, clergy should look for jobs in New York, California, Oregon, Texas, and Michigan. Top paying states for clergy are District of Columbia (mean wage $63,680), Washington ($62,050), California ($60,070), Massachusetts, and Alaska ($56540). If you would like a job preaching away from the city, look in parts of Oregon, Northern New York, and Montana, but the highest paying nonmetropolitan jobs are in Southern (mean wage $65,540) and Northern ($64,100) Pennsylvania and the North Coast Region of California ($63,440).

Religious Activities Directors

With the lowest median salary at $38,780, religious activities directors plan specific activities for religious organizations, congregations, and communities. These directors work with clergy to create goals and complete planning; may hire some workers; and complete secretarial tasks for the church. The highest need is in New York, California, and Oregon, but the top paying states are North Carolina (mean wage $87,860), Alabama ($83,470), and DC ($73,470).

Statistics indicate job growth through 2024 for careers in this field. Professionals, including post-secondary teachers, clergy, and religious activities directors, in this field usually have some post-secondary education. Job growth is expected in both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas for theology careers in urban and rural ministry settings.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics