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Religious Studies: What Can I Do With This Degree?

Local Ministries

  • Youth ministries
  • Adult ministries
  • Leisure ministries
  • Counseling/recovery
  • Religious education
  • Daycare, children and adult
  • Missionary outreach
  • Food bank/emergency ministries
  • Family life center management
  • Journalism
  • Public relations
  • Television, radio, and films
  • Publishing
  • Music

Employers

  • Local churches
  • Religious organizations
  • Denominational boards

Information & Strategies

  • Get additional training or double major in specialized areas.
  • Obtain certification for specialized areas.
  • Obtain Master of Divinity degree or counseling degree.
  • Gain experience by volunteering in local church and campus religious organizations.
  • Obtain an internship at denominational headquarters.
  • Build relationships with local church and denominational leaders.
  • Get experience in communications areas and develop a portfolio.
  • Double major in music; take additional courses in religious music. Get performance experience through campus groups.

Social Services

  • Administration
  • Vocational training
  • Retail
  • Public relations
  • Programming
  • Counseling
  • Advocacy
  • Crisis services (pregnancy, housing, etc.)
  • Financial/debt counseling
  • Camp administration
  • Lobbying

Employers

  • Nonprofit organizations including United Way, Red Cross, Goodwill industries, Salvation Army, etc.
  • Churches
  • Religious hospitals and hospices
  • Correctional institutions
  • Shelters
  • Nursing homes
  • Youth organizations and camps including YMCA, YWCA, Young Life, etc.
  • Adoption agencies/foster care
  • Religious political organizations

Information & Strategies

  • Volunteer with local organizations for experience.
  • May need specialized training/certification for some areas.
  • Obtain excellent interpersonal and oral and written communication skills.
  • Seek summer camp experience and leadership roles, such as director or assistant director.
  • Legal experience and law degree may be required.

Health and Welfare Ministries

  • Administration
  • Social services
  • Residential living
  • Religious activities programming
  • Chaplaincy
  • Counseling: mental health or pastoral

Employers

  • Hospitals
  • Mental health treatment facilities
  • Nursing homes
  • Retirement homes
  • Assisted living homes
  • Children/youth homes

Information & Strategies

  • Double major or minor in business, social work, human services, or special interest area.
  • Take courses related to special populations.
  • Volunteer time in related organizations.
  • Obtain advanced degrees and certification for counseling and chaplaincy. May need ordination for pastoral counseling.

Clergy

Employers

  • Local churches
  • Religious organizations
  • Denominational boards and agencies
  • Monasteries

Information & Strategies

  • Become involved in related campus activities.
  • Protestant clergy positions require denominational ordination and usually a master of divinity.
  • Possess high moral and ethical standards.
  • Develop leadership ability and self discipline.
  • Obtain excellent written and verbal communication skills.

Chaplaincy

  • Military
  • Institutional

Employers

  • All branches of military service
  • Hospitals, hospices
  • Homes for children, youth, senior citizens
  • Correctional institutions
  • Police and fire departments

Information & Strategies

  • Obtain ordination and two years' service in local church. After acceptance into branch service, attend chaplaincy school.

Missions

  • Church and community development
  • Education
  • Medical
  • Metropolitan ministries
  • Community centers
  • Evangelism

Employers

  • Denominational boards or agencies
  • Mission boards
  • Local churches
  • Religious institutions
  • Evangelical organizations e.g. Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Information & Strategies

  • Obtain any needed advanced degrees, certification or licensing for area of interest.
  • Seek related volunteer or work experience.
  • Obtain travel and cultural experience with group of interest. Foreign language skills are a plus.
  • Develop fundraising skills and contacts.

Education

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Counseling
  • Administration/staff
  • Chaplaincy
  • Religious life programming
  • Campus ministry

Employers

  • Religiously affiliated schools
  • Preparatory schools
  • Private, public, or religiously affiliated colleges and universities
  • Schools of theology/seminaries
  • Organizations such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Campus Crusade for Christ, Intervarsity

Information & Strategies

  • May require certification/licensure to teach
  • A PhD is usually required for teaching, research, and administration in colleges and universities.
  • Complete Master of Divinity plus additional training for campus ministry.
  • A Master of Divinity and PhD, DMin, or ThD are usually required for teaching, research, and administration in seminaries and schools of theology.
  • May require multiple skills such as providing ministerial services as well as administration, teaching, coaching, etc.
  • Become involved in specific campus ministry organizations. Seek leadership positions and internships or summer employment opportunities.

Business

  • Administration/management
  • Human resources
  • Building management
  • Research

Employers

  • Local churches
  • Religious bookstores
  • Religious publishers
  • Denominational boards/agencies
  • Seminaries/schools of theology
  • Religiously affiliated schools
  • Denominational hospitals, homes, schools, boards, and agencies

Information & Strategies

  • Double major or minor in business.
  • Get related experience.
  • A dual degree in engineering is helpful for building management.
  • Develop research and writing skills.

Communications

  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Publishing
  • Television/Film
  • Radio
  • Advertising
  • Public relations
  • Sales
  • Commercial art

Employers

  • Denominational boards/agencies
  • Interdenominational organizations
  • Local churches
  • Denominational publishing houses of books and magazines
  • Secular publishing houses
  • Secular radio, television, and film industry

Information & Strategies

  • Consider freelance positions. Permanent positions are limited.
  • Take courses in English, social sciences, and journalism. Develop excellent writing skills.
  • Submit articles for publication for religious and nonreligious papers and journals.
  • Learn desktop publishing techniques.
  • Obtain specialized technical training such as a double major or minor in broadcasting.
  • Develop artistic talent.
  • Take courses or double major in graphic design/illustration.
  • Obtain related experience through internships.

Religious Communities

    Employers

    • Denominational groups including Roman Catholic (nuns and monks), Episcopal, Greek Orthodox

    Information & Strategies

    • Apply to religious order for admittance.
    • Requires self-discipline
    • Desire to combine career with life/living arrangements

    General Information

    • People interested in religious vs. secular work possess deep faith, want more than filling own personal needs, and want to make a difference.
    • Bachelor's degree provides broad background for careers in many fields including many religious-affiliated organizations.
    • An undergraduate degree prepares students for professional and graduate study in business, law, medicine, counseling, higher education,
      and other fields.
    • Dual majors are required for some specialized areas.
    • Master of Divinity required for most clergy positions, plus denominational ordination.
    • Obtain general knowledge of practices, procedures, guidelines, and doctrine of one's faith.
    • Possess understanding of human, spiritual, and social needs.
    • PhD, ThD, or DMin required for college/university/seminary teaching, research, and administration.
    • Obtain part-time, summer, internship, or volunteer experience in religious institution or bookstore, or other related activity in working with and helping people.
    • Develop counseling and communication skills due to the nature of the field and working with people.
    • May be more opportunities for specific ministries in urban areas and large religious institutions.
    • Obtain experience and contacts through extensive involvement in campus organizations. Leadership on the local, state, and regional level is crucial.
    • Obtain camp experience to improve organization and counseling skills as well as network within the denominational/organizational structure.
    Download a PDF of this chart for easy printing.

    Next Steps

    Learn about North Park's biblical and theological studies program.

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