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Become a Children's Minister: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Learn how to become a children's minister. Research education requirements, internships and the experience you will need to start a career in the field of children's ministry.

Should I Become a Children's Minister?

Children's ministers teach religious practices and principles to children. Although these positions are considered subordinate to full ministers, they are of key importance to the religious and spiritual for the development of a community. Children's ministers must be well versed in theology as well as early childhood development. People with experience in working with children, those with education degrees, and those with a masters degree in divinity would be especially skilled in and prepared for work in children's ministry.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Key Skills Education, communication
Salary (2014) $44,680 per year (median for directors of religious activities and education)

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Many positions in children's ministry require at least a bachelor's degree. Though requirements may vary between churches and denominations, many of these positions are not considered full ministers by the church. Generally, the position is much more in line with a director position under the administration of a minister. For that reason, a bachelor's degree with a focus in religion or children's ministry might be a strong choice for students looking to minister to children in church programs. For those majoring in religion, some schools offer minor concentrations in children's ministry.

Step 2: Develop Experience Working with Children

Directors of religious education may be paid positions, but they often have volunteers who work for them as teachers. Gaining experience in a teaching role will fulfill a possible job requirement of experience and might be accomplished concurrently with the bachelor's degree program. Additionally, students may seek an internship, serving in a church for educational credit while developing work skills, job recommendations and church contacts. Both of these approaches will assist students in becoming more marketable as religious educators and leaders of religious educators.

Step 3: Create a Teaching Philosophy

As much as any other teaching role, children's ministry requires preparation and a thorough understanding of educational and development theory. Applying these theories to church doctrines allow religious educators to not only communicate information, but do so in exciting and age-appropriate ways. Continuing education on a personal level may not only be fulfilling, but may allow the religious educator to synthesize a coherent teaching philosophy in harmony with the teachings of the church.

Step 4: Complete a Possible Master of Divinity Program

As with any other religious role, career growth and education sometimes go hand-in-hand. Continuing education beyond the bachelor's degree level may be necessary in order to grow from the role of director of religious education into a full ministerial role, complete with ordination.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment during the 2012-2022 decade for clergy members will grow 10%, and jobs for religious activities and education directors will expand 8%. In 2014, the BLS reported an annual median salary of $47,730 for members of the clergy and $44,680 for those employed as religious activities and education directors.

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