A degree in theology gives graduates a direct path to becoming a minister, religious school teacher, a missionary, or a variety of jobs you might not expect. Plus, no matter what you end up doing, undergraduate degrees give students a general education that can be helpful in any career path. If you’re considering a degree in Theology, the 10 best online Bachelor’s in Theology degree programs is a great source. Theological curriculum help build versatile skill sets among their students, with strengths in critical thinking, human relations, and communication. These skill sets can prepare you for a variety of different jobs in fields like journalism, social work, and psychology. There are also many religious institutions like churches, private universities, and religious schools that will be more likely to hire someone with a theological background, and have specialized theological positions. Many of these specialized positions, like professor of theology, minister, or missionary leader require a master’s degree in theology. For reference, here is a ranking of the 10 best online Master’s in Theology degree programs. Let’s take a closer look at some theology jobs that a graduate with an online degree in theology is qualified for.
The most common route for students with degrees in theology is to become a minister. Ministers work in all kinds of contexts, not just churches. Some ministers work for hospitals, religious schools, or international relief agencies, allowing them to choose the location and context that they practice in. Ministers often help organize and lead their congregation in activities, such as community service and outreach, or weekly choir and holiday pageants. Being a minister is a dynamic profession that lets people adjust their jobs to their personal strengths, and is by no means limited to leading prayer.
- Average salary for clergy members: $45,740
- Number of jobs 2016: 49,320
There are many opportunities in the field of education that people with theological degrees can take advantage of. Congregations that hold daily and weekly service often have religious instruction for the children of the community, and many churches run their own full time school that teaches children from kindergarten through high school. The most prestigious teaching job for someone with a theology degree would be teaching as a professor of theological studies at a private college or university. Professors of theology are not required to be practicing members of a religious congregation, they just have to engage with theological philosophy and be familiar with religious world history, making it a great choice for secular graduates of theological studies.
- Average salary for postsecondary teachers: $75,430
- Number of jobs 2016: 1,314,400
Becoming a missionary is the most adventurous path for graduates with theology degrees. Missionaries usually travel to third world countries with limited resources where religious congregations can provide much needed resources, organization, and grounding for the local population. Missionaries will face real world problems and will have the chance to use practical skills like carpentry and masonry to help construct buildings in the communities they are trying to develop. Graduates looking to become missionaries should not expect to make large salaries, though they will get travel and room and board paid for, and will find that they have more than enough money to save and survive in third world countries. Missionaries will undergo work that is gratifying in unique ways, and have experiences that no other job can provide.
- Average salary for religious workers: $28,820
- Number of Jobs 2016: 8,250
While majoring in theology does not typically lead to becoming a journalist, studying theology gives students an academic background that is applicable in many ways to the field of journalism. Theology students will be adept in objective listening and writing, while knowing how to read critically and understand different perspectives with cross-cultural understanding. There are also many journalism jobs that religious institutions may need to hire, like media relations and community newsletters. In addition, there are a large amount of religious outlets that report on spiritual events throughout the world. Dissenting religions often shape international political disputes, so graduates with theology degrees would have the background knowledge to become political reporters.
- Average salary for Journalists: $38,870
- Number of jobs, 2016: 50,400
Having a theological background will give graduates strengths in human relations, as they will be aware of individual and cultural differences, while appreciating diversity. Since religions often have to explain their customs and culture to outsiders, graduates with theology degrees will be particularly adept at helping others to organize and express their unique points of view. This can be useful for the psychological aspects of social work, as well as other fields where empathy is an important trait, like being a school guidance counselor. Studying theology will give graduates the communication and listening skills that are required of social workers, and allow them to be effective at their job.
- Average salary for social workers: $46,890
- Number of jobs, 2016: 682,100
Theology degrees sharpen many of the skills that political scientists have to use in their occupation. Political scientists are required to have clear communication skills; it is necessary that they read and write clearly and be comfortable speaking in front of large groups of people. The cross-cultural acumen that theology teaches is particularly suited for diplomacy, as the main goal of a diplomat is to understand the culture and customs of the countries and societies where they are sent to be an ambassador. Many disputes in international politics arise along religious lines, so having a background in theology will give graduates particular strengths in that traditional political science majors will not posses, and make them uniquely qualified to mediate contentious international disputes.
- Average salary for political scientists: $114,290
- Number of jobs, 2016: 7,300