Minister Careers

Career Overview

Ministers are responsible for conducting religious worship and performing specific spiritual functions for given religious groups with a common set of beliefs. Ministers are also sometimes called pastors, confessors, priests, rectors, chaplains, clergymen or clergywomen, and evangelism pastors. Ministers generally pray, read from sacred texts, prepare classes and sermons, deliver and teach sermons, instruct members of their faith on spiritual and secular matters, teach in church schools, visit people who are ill or incarcerated, train teachers and others, and administer religious rites.

Educational Requirements

Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate Degree

Program Recommendations:

Religious Studies

The best positions require a Master’s degree or even a Doctorate degree.


Careers for ministersSome states do require religious teachers to be licensed. Those doing counseling on a formal level in public institutions like schools, hospitals, jails, colleges, and hospitals must have a counseling license.

Top Schools for Ministers:

Duke University
Notre Dame University
Princeton University
Boston College
Liberty University

Career Trends

Average Salary for ministers in 2008: $42,950
Jobs in 2008 for ministers: 670,000
Projected jobs openings for ministers through 2018: 217,700

Related Jobs:

Education Administrators
Counseling Psychologists
Director of Education and Religious Activities

Article Reference:

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One Comment

  1. Posted February 18, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Just one thing, Marcus. Many ministers are not required to have higher education at all. If the Holy Spirit has called them to preach– their chief function in these traditions– then that is all the authority and training they need. That’s not true for all ministers, of course, but there are MANY different sorts of ministers. In fact, your article only really represented a few of the Christian kind–there’s a much wider variety of income, training, and function within the Christian community, as well as many other religious communities that have clergy. What if I want to become an imam, alim, qari, faqih, mufti, or shaykh? A rabbi or cantor? You get the idea…

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