Religious Studies Degrees
A degree in religious studies will prepare individuals to be religious leaders in their community. Many people believe religion helps connect others through compassion, service, commitment and faith, has played an important role in the cultural, historical, and political aspects of our societies.
There are associates, bachelors, and master’s degrees in religious studies. A bachelor’s degree in religious studies will cover characteristics and beliefs of the world’s major religions, and also explore the folklore, legends, and myths of ancient civilizations. Coursework may cover topics such as ethics, religious texts, archeology, history, modern theology, and analyze the major figures of religion. Master’s or PhDs in religious studies are for students interested in becoming professors, and require more education.
There are several religious studies programs for students to focus on, including ministry, pastoral counseling, Christian leadership, divinity, or theological studies. A Religious Studies degree is interdisciplinary and offers extensive liberal arts background, and qualifies students for positions in religious institutions as well as other careers. A Religious Studies degree will prepare individuals to obtain jobs in social services, communications, business, government, or non-profit organizations. You may apply your religious studies degree towards another field, and continue education in teaching, administration, or music.
Job Opportunities for Religious Studies Degrees
Graduates of a religious studies degree program can follow many different career paths as ministers, youth pastors, and directors of music ministry. The average salary for a new minister with one to four years experience ranges from $26,231 - $48,459 annually. Ministers who have been practicing for five to nine years can earn $32,028 - $50,698 annually. The average annual salary as a youth pastor is $32,745, and the average annual salary for a director of music ministry is $32,763.
There are also job opportunities outside of religious establishments, including counseling and social work, education, non-profit and government work, museums and art, and business marketing and management.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 20010-2011 Edition, and PayScale.com