Career Possibilities and Employment Information for Theology Grads

Religion calls many people to service in its name. Those with a degree in theology can act as the greatest advocates of their religion, spreading the word about it wherever they go, or teaching it to congregations or flocks. While the majority of work is done as a service to your faith, your career is still considered a job. Let’s take a look at some of your career options in this field as well as commonly asked questions:

Missionary

Many people with a theology degree feel that their calling will take them to other parts of the world in order to spread the word of their religion. As a missionary, you will be traveling to different countries, mostly poorer or third-world, and help the natives of the nation establish themselves. Many missionaries build schools and housing that teach natives as well as minister to them as well.

As a missionary, however, you may not be home much, instead going from place to place as your organization dictates. However, some missionaries find work at their local church or community center. If you’re interested in becoming a missionary, you might want to consider working as a missionary intern. You’ll train under a more experienced missionary or local leader to gain the skills and experience necessary to go out on your own.

Other types of missionaries include:

  • Support-Ministry Missionary
  • Missionary Pastor
  • Parachurch Missionary
  • Apostolic Missionary

Religious Leader

You may have the calling to lead worship or play a key role in Church leadership. As a pastor or reverend of a church, you lead a congregation in worship and spiritual guidance for the community. You can also be an assistant pastor in a larger church or “Megachurch” as well, being responsible for a small segment of the larger church’s activities. No matter what the position though, you will usually be responsible for creating sermons, speaking with congregation members, planning community activities and celebrations, and more. Many leaders hold a degree in ministry or christian leadership.

Scholar

For some, the pursuit of research and biblical knowledge calls them to the path of the scholar. Often times you will work to earn a master’s degree or doctorate in theology or Bible studies, and teach at a university or college. You’ll also research information about the past, or other biblical teachings.  Scholars write papers and publish them in religious journals, or discuss them at conferences as well.

Educator

With a degree in theology, you can also focus on education. In this type of role, you could work at a school or for a house of worship that hires teachers. You could also work at a college, serving as an educator in the theology department.

If you’re interested in working as a religious educator, you might want to look for a school that offers courses in curriculum and education. Some programs offered a blended program that focuses on preparing students to work in the education field with an emphasis on theology and religious studies.

Where Religious Workers Find Employment

You might be surprised to learn that many industries hire religious workers, not just churches and other congregations. See below for a list of the industries with the highest levels of employment in this occupation, according to the BLS:

  • Religious Organizations
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools
  • Home Health Care Services
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools

These industries need dedicated professionals to run departments, counsel clients and patients, and assist people with matters pertaining to religion and spirituality. The BLS also reports the top paying industries for religious workers, as outlined below:

  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
  • Home Health Care Services
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises
  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly

And lastly, the states with highest level of employment in this occupation are listed below:

  • California
  • Florida
  • New York
  • Michigan
  • Pennsylvania

Keep in mind that jobs for religious workers vary depending on your area of interest. If you want to be a missionary, you might find more work overseas. If you want to work as an educator, you’ll need to research schools and colleges that offer a theology department. While in school, you’ll have opportunities to learn more about your professional options. Your professors, counselors, and colleagues will help you find your path and determine what role best suits your experience and interests. Some degree programs allow you select an area of concentration such as:

If any of the above are of interest to you, find a school that offers such courses, either online or on-site. Online theology degrees are growing in size and popularity so if you need scheduling flexibility, distance learning will allow you to take classes when it’s most convenient for you.

What schools offer theology programs and how do I learn more about them?

Online degree programs in theology vary widely and not every school offers the same courses and program structure. The type of degree you decide to pursue will determine the coursework and length of time it takes to complete the program. Online programs require students to complete the same courses as traditional, on-campus programs.

If you think an online program in theology is right for you, our list of accredited degree programs provides links you can use to learn more about your options:

SchoolPrograms

Liberty University

Accreditation
  • HLC
  • NCA

Grand Canyon University

Accreditation
  • HLC

Ohio Christian University

Accreditation
  • HLC
  • NCA

Colorado Christian University

Accreditation
  • HLC
  • NCA

Click here to see more colleges offering theology degrees