From helping to celebrate a joyous family occasion to offering spiritual guidance, those who work in religion and theology perform valuable services for our society. Some individuals use their background in religious studies to better comprehend the world's religions and societies. Others act as spiritual guides for a particular religion or denomination. Individuals interested in these kinds of careers can pursue bachelor's degree programs in religion and theology.
What to expect from bachelor's degree programs in religion and theology
There are a variety of available programs to train you for careers in religion and theology. For example, students majoring in religious studies learn about all religions--predominantly Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam--equally, seeking knowledge without necessarily participating in any particular religion. Basic coursework is comparable to liberal arts studies and includes history, anthropology and sociology.
Individuals enrolling in specific programs, such as bachelor's degree programs in Christian studies, or pursuing careers with religious organizations can expect specialized classes in:
- Ancient languages
- Historical cultures
- History of the world's religions
Online bachelor's degree programs in religion and theology: Possible careers
Some graduates of online bachelor's degree programs in religion and theology will begin their careers as clergymen, while others become religious studies instructors. Because of the nature of liberal arts degree programs, graduates may even go on to careers in a variety of non-religious fields. Below are some potential career opportunities, along with relevant salary figures as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
- Clergy perform a variety of activities related to worship, such as planning weekly services, preaching or leading congregational singing. Clergy also provide training in a particular religion or denomination and offer guidance to members. May 2009 mean salary for clergy: $46,960.
- Religious activities and education directors typically plan and carry out events for adults and children for religious purposes. They also provide members with counseling for a variety of issues as well as religious education. May 2009 mean salary for religious and education directors: $40,770.
- Religious workers include vergers, missionaries and mohels. These individuals contribute to the general welfare of their religion by imparting religious knowledge and maintaining the integrity of their respective religious establishment. May 2009 mean salary for religious workers: $33,160.
Generally, a bachelor's degree is not sufficient to become a post-secondary teacher. Graduates can earn a master's degree or doctorate to become post-secondary philosophy and religion instructors, a popular move for graduates of bachelor's degree programs in Christian studies. The broad liberal arts training in communication, critical thinking and analysis enable students majoring in religious studies to qualify for graduate-level degrees in fields such as law, medicine and business.
To learn more about religion and theology studies, take a look at WorldWideLearn.com's Guide to Majors, which includes more in-depth information on majors in religious studies or theology. These careers require quite a bit of preparation, so look into online bachelor's degree programs in religion and theology to see what you need to prepare yourself.