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Careers in Religion

A major or a minor in Religion may not seem like the most practical thing you could undertake in this life, but appearances are often deceptive.

In a world of constant change, the best way to prepare for the future may be to develop the skills you will need to understand, interpret, and respond to changes. And in a world where the entire globe has become our neighborhood, the best way to prepare for work may be to get to know your neighbors.

The study of religion, as a liberal arts discipline, is ideally suited to these purposes. Religion is one of the most important forces shaping history, culture, and personal experience. To understand religion is to understand--and develop a stance towards--the most pressing concerns in life. Our approach to this study stresses critical reading and writing skills, a broad base of global understanding, and reflection on ethical issues.

Given the importance of moral, social, aesthetic, and other value questions in our lives, religion will expand your educational horizons. It will give you insight into the human condition as well as an international understanding of this and other cultures.


With a degree in religion, one might embark upon a career in education. For those completing undergraduate degrees in religion, opportunities may be available at religious-affiliated elementary and secondary schools, preparatory schools, private, public or religious-affiliated colleges and universities. Affiliation and experience with organizations such as Schools of Theology would be beneficial.

Specific positions may include teaching, serving as an administrator, campus ministry, counseling, religious life programming, research, and other possible opportunities. Many people who study philosophy and religion at a university want to spend their lives continuing the studies they began in college. One way many students do this is by following their passion for either field by earning mater's and doctorate degrees and then going on to teach as professors of religion or philosophy. A teaching career allows lovers of philosophy or religion to immerse themselves in their favorite subject matter for the majority of their professional lives. Preparing curricula and lesson plans afford professors a second education in the material they love to study.

Pastoral Ministry

A position within the pastoral ministry demands leadership ability and self-discipline, excellent written and verbal communication skills, and the possession of high moral and ethical standards. Local churches, religious organizations, and denominational boards and agencies offer employment positions for clergy.

Social Services

Social services in religious settings have positions in administration, advocacy, counseling, programming, public relations, vocational teaching, etc. Careers can be found within churches and religious organizations, administration, vocational training, correctional institutions, nonprofit organizations, nursing homes, shelters, youth organizations and camps, advocacy, crisis services,and more. Employers include Nonprofit organizations, Religious hospitals and hospices, Correctional institutions, Shelters, Nursing homes, Youth organizations and camps, Adoption agencies/Foster care, and Religious organizations.


Potential employment in areas of writing, editing, publishing, television/film, radio, advertising, public relations, etc. Employers may include denominal boards/agencies, interdenominational organizations, local churches, synagogues and mosques; denominational publishing houses, secular publishing houses, secular radio, television, and film industry internships.

Health Welfare Ministries

Position areas include administration, social services, residential living, religious activities programming, mental health or pastoral counseling. Employers within this area may be found in hospitals, mental health treatment facilities, nursing homes, retirement homes, assisted living facilities, children and youth facilities, the military, and more.

Global and Local Outreach and Mission Organizations

Employment with missions may be found in church and community development, metropolitan ministries, community center, etc. Employers include, but are not limited to the following - Denominational boards or agencies, mission boards, local churches, religious institutions, and evangelical organizations e.g. United Methodist General Board of Global Ministry.
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