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Careers in Christian Education: Options and Job Requirements

The study of Christian education is generally offered at the graduate level. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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A career in Christian education may require a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree. Those who wish to teach at the elementary, middle school or high school levels need a bachelor's degree, while seminary professors are required to have a doctoral degree. Directors of religious education need a master's degree.

Essential Information

For those seeking a career in Christian education, individuals may consider becoming a seminary professor, Christian school teacher or director of religious studies. The requirements to work in Christian education vary depending on the position; some teaching positions require a bachelor's degree, while other educators will need a graduate degree. Institutions that hire Christian educators may insist that applicants belong to a certain denomination and subscribe to specific Biblical teachings.

Career Seminary Professor Christian School Teacher Director of Religious Education
Education Requirements Graduate degree Bachelor's degree Master's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 12% for all philosophy and religion postsecondary teachers 6% for all elementary, middle and high school teachers all 4% for all directors of religious activities and education
Median Salary (2015)* $66,380 for all postsecondary philosophy and religion teachers $54,890 for all elementary school teachers, except special education; $55,860 for all middle school teachers, except special education; $57,200 for all secondary school teachers, except special education $38,780 for all directors of religious activities and education

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

Many career options are available to graduates of Christian education programs. Graduates can choose from careers such as seminary professor, Christian school teachers and directors of religious education. Below are overviews and detailed descriptions of possible career options for Christian education graduates.

Seminary Professor

Seminaries are higher educational institutions that are devoted to teaching religious professionals. These professional schools are sometimes specific to a single denomination, while other schools may include multiple denominations under a single roof. Seminary professors teach classes at the postsecondary level and may also conduct research. They are responsible for the design and delivery of courses, as well as other administrative duties such as submitting grades and writing letters of recommendation.

Christian School Teachers

Christian school teachers educate students at the K-12 grade level. At the elementary school level, these teachers will incorporate biblical education into the curriculum. At the junior high and high school level, teachers may cover subjects like math, English and science; however, opportunities are also available to teach courses on the Bible.

Director of Religious Education

Directors of religious education generally work for a specific church or program. They are responsible for designing the educational programs in religious institutions and ensuring that courses cover Christian teachings. Additional job duties may include hiring and training teachers and performing admissions duties. A director of religious education often reports to the officials of the church, usually working under the minister or ministerial team.

Education Requirements

Seminary professors, like many other professors, generally hold a graduate degree, preferably at the doctorate level. According to O*Net Online, 49% of directors of religious education had a master's degree (www.onetonline.org). Prospective Christian school teachers will need to have at least a bachelor's degree and major in the subject area they wish to teach.

Salary and Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), postsecondary roles are expected to grow faster than average, a rate of 12%, in the years 2014 to 2024. The growth in the education industry is being absorbed by the growth in adjunct and part-time, non-tenure track positions. Competition for tenured positions is expected to continue to be strong. Professors of religion and philosophy in the United States earned a median salary of $66,380 annually in May 2015 (www.bls.gov).

The BLS reports that the median annual salary of directors of religious activities and education in May 2014 was $38,780. The BLS shows that from 2014 to 2024, director of religious education positions will increase 4%.

The employment outlook and salary stats for elementary, middle and secondary school teachers vary, according to the BLS. From 2014 to 2024, the expected employment increase for elementary, middle and high school teachers was 6%. In May 2015, the BLS also reported that all elementary school teachers earned a median salary of $54,890, while middle school teachers earned a median of $55,860 and secondary school teachers earned a median of $57,200 per year.

Directors of religious education programs create Christian programs for churches and organizations. Teachers instruct school students, while seminary professors teach those who are or plan to be religious professionals. With a bachelor's or master's degree, people interested in a career in Christian education can consider pursuing a career as a Christian teacher or director of religious education programs, or they can complete their doctoral degree and become a seminary professor.

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