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Career Outlook for Individuals with a Degree in Religious Studies

Career News February 21, 2016

Contrary to popular opinion, degrees in religious studies don’t concentrate on a single religion. Instead, they cover the history, development and impact of religion over the years in different societies around the world. To find out what educational background you are expected to have, units covered, job and salary details for professions associated with the degree program, read the article below.

Degree Programs in Religious Studies

A degree program in religious studies dwells on the history and development of religion as a whole. It covers the impact and influence of religion on different societal issues both historical and at the present. In addition, this degree program aims to help learners develop critical thinking skills, which they can use to analyze different religious texts. Also, note that the degree program offers many career paths as you will see below.

Career Options for those with a Religious Studies Degree

Graduating with a degree in religious studies assures you a job as a clergy member, news analyst or college professor. Continue reading to learn about these professions as well as their growth rate and salary details.


Nowadays, it is common to find spiritual leaders such as priests and rabbis seeking to graduate with a degree in religious studies before venturing into these jobs. In fact, most of the leadership positions in religious organizations ask for Master’s or doctorate degrees before offering you the position to be a clergy member.

Clergy members perform religious ceremonies such as weddings, baptism and communions, lead in funeral ceremonies, preach and deliver religious doctrines to faithful members. They also offer guidance and counseling sessions to married couples, guide people on different issues of life as well as counsel people with emotional issues. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that in 2014, a clergy member earned an annual salary of $47,730 while their jobs were expected grow at a rate of ten percent within the next few years.


They teach religious studies in colleges, universities and divinity schools. Besides teaching, religious studies’ professors may work in administrative positions, perform research about different issues related to religion, and prepare curricula to be taught by other professors or study and recommend changes in the literature taught in colleges and universities. To be a college professor in religious studies, you are required to have a PhD in religious studies or a Master’s of Divinity degree. The BLS estimates that professors earn an annual salary of $71,350, on average.


While you don’t need to be a graduate to become a missionary, most people pursue degree programs in religious studies in order to be prepared for their missions. Missionaries travel to foreign countries to spread particular religious beliefs. Missionary work is often a voluntary decision.

News Analyst

They work as journalists who explain different world happenings in a religious angle. Their average annual salary according to the BLS is about $37,200 in 2012. On the other hand, the BLS estimates that jobs for news analysts are likely to decrease by nine percent within the next few years.

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