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Clergy Career

Career Description

Members of the clergy conduct religious worship and perform other spiritual functions associated with beliefs and practices of religious faith or denomination. Provide spiritual and moral guidance and assistance to members.

Common Work Tasks

  • Identify and recruit potential volunteer workers
  • Interpret religious education activities to the public through speaking, leading discussions, and writing articles for local and national publications
  • Write sermons for religious services
  • Plan and conduct conferences dealing with the interpretation of religious ideas and convictions
  • Lead group counseling sessions that provide support in such areas as grief, stress, or chemical dependency
  • Participate in denominational activities aimed at goals such as promoting interfaith understanding or providing aid to new or small congregations
  • Conduct religious services
  • Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time
  • Counsel individuals regarding interpersonal,  health, financial, and religious problems

Other Job Titles

Clergy are also known by other titles, including:

  • Minister
  • Pastor
  • Priest
  • Rabbi
  • Chaplain

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
Seminaries,  theological institutions, and universities all have different requirements.  Some take between 2-4 years to complete, have minimum residency requirements,  and require foreign language proficiency. Often times, a person seeking Christian higher education as a minister will likely need to obtain a graduate degree.

Licensure and Certification
  Becoming a clergy member requires certification through a proper authority. Requirements for becoming a minister vary by denomination, with some sects requiring a rigorous post-secondary education process while others demand little to no didactic training at all.

A minimum of two to four years of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations.


The median annual salary for a Clergy member is $40,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $70,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $21,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of clergy are:

  • Religious Organizations - $43,280
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals - $44,790
  • Home Health Care Services - 43,170
  • State Government - $50,320
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools - $33,030

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  2%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 778
  • Employment 2006 : 40,960
  • Employment 2016:  41,738
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