Pursuing a degree in Religious or Biblical Studies can be immensely and intellectually rewarding, it could also help you lay the foundations for equally satisfying careers.
Although religious studies is sometimes dismissed by many students as a viable investment in their future careers, that may not be the case. In fact, religious studies - like many humanities and liberal arts majors – may offer graduates a wealth of benefits, including the possibility of high earning potential careers and numerous professional opportunities.
While many religious studies graduates pursue opportunities within churches and other spiritual organizations, individuals who possess a degree in religious studies have a wide number of options available to them.
Many organizations value religious studies graduates due to the field's emphasis on critical thinking and analysis - both highly prized skills in many sectors of employment.
So, now that we have dispelled some of the myths about religious studies, what could you do with a qualification in this subject?
Ordained/non-ordained clergy positions
Members of the clergy are primarily responsible for performing specific spiritual functions within religious organizations, in addition to providing spiritual guidance and support to members of a church or other religious order. In addition to faith-based groups, both ordained and non-ordained clergy can work in a variety of other settings, including hospitals, home care health service organizations, and state government positions.
Median annual salary: $47,880i
Job projection: 8-14% through 2022ii
Related program: Colorado Christian University, Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies
Although the BLS does not specifically monitor the salary information of religious counselors and therapists, many religious studies graduates pursue careers in this field. These professionals can help individuals, couples and families cope with a variety of personal and emotional difficulties including mental health difficulties, marital problems and familial conflict.
Median annual salary: $41,500iii
Job projection: 8-14% through 2022iv
Related program: Liberty University Online - MAR Pastoral Counseling
Just as secular organizations require skilled administrators in order to function effectively, so too do religious groups and charities. Administrators handle the daily operations of an organization.
Median annual salary: $80,000v
Job projection: 8-14% through 2022iv
Whether teaching in Sunday school or lecturing at a college or university, religious studies graduates often find work in the education sector. Salaries vary widely within the field of religious education depending on the nature of the role.
Median annual salary: $53,090vi at elementary level, $68,000vii at collegiate level
Job projection: 15-21% through 2022viii
Related program: Saint Leo University, BA in Religion
Many of the world's largest and most prominent nonprofit organizations hire religious studies majors, such as Amnesty International and the United States Agency for International Development. Career prospects and salary vary depending on the size of the organization and the nature of the role, but religious studies majors could potentially earn more per hour at a nonprofit than many comparable occupations in the private sector, while managers at nonprofits can earn salaries similar to professionals in similar roles working for state government.
[i] bls.gov/oes/current/oes212011.htm [ii] onetonline.org/link/summary/21-2011.00#WagesEmployment [iii] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm [iv] onetonline.org/link/summary/21-2021.00#WagesEmployment [v] bls.gov/ooh/management/administrative-services-managers.htm [vi] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm [vii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm [viii] onetonline.org/link/summary/11-9033.00#WagesEmployment