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Jobs for Former Pastors

Dec 03, 2017

There are a number of career options that former pastors could transition into if they want to change their career. These options are discussed here in greater detail, including educational requirements and job duties.

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Jobs for Former Pastors

Individuals who have worked as pastors and are considering a career change have a number of options that they may be well-suited for, as many of these jobs require a similar skill set to that of a pastor. Depending on an individual's background, it may be necessary to seek further education and training to be qualified for these jobs. Below, we will look at five different jobs that former pastors may want to consider.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Social Worker $46,890 15%
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor $42,150 20%
Social and Community Service Manager $64,680 16%
Marriage and Family Therapist $49,170 20%
Postsecondary Religion Teacher $68,360 (philosophy and religion postsecondary teachers) 12% (philosophy and religion postsecondary teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Information About Jobs for Former Pastors

Social Worker

Social workers are individuals who work with people who are experiencing problems in their lives and help them overcome these challenges by providing them guidance and resources. For example, some social workers may work primarily with children or single mothers who have challenging home situations, while others may work with people who have been diagnosed with illnesses and help them develop coping strategies. Because pastors often work with church or community members that are experiencing various similar problems, they may already be familiar with how to effectively communicate with people in need. Social workers generally need to have a bachelor's degree in social work, though clinical social workers need a master's degree.

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor

Another option for former pastors is a job as a substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselor, as some pastors may have experience dealing with these types of issues in their former job. As this type of counselor, you will be responsible for working with individuals who are struggling with various types of addictions, like drug abuse or alcoholism, as well as other types of mental disorders, like anxiety and depression. Some clients may be interested in receiving counseling from a religious perspective, in which case pastors would be well-qualified. Unless you already have a background in this type of counseling, it is likely that you will need to complete some sort of training, which could be anything from a certificate program to a master's degree depending on the state and workplace.

Social and Community Service Manager

If you enjoyed the administrative and organizational aspects of being a pastor, you may want to consider a job as a social and community service manager. These individuals often work for different types of community organizations and plan programs that are meant to positively impact the community and are often targeted at a specific group of the population, like single mothers, homeless youths, or veterans. Former pastors may have experience in planning large-scale community engagement activities and working in their local communities, making this job a good possible fit. To become a social and community service manager, you will usually need a bachelor's degree, along with work experience, so pastors would likely already be qualified for these positions.

Marriage and Family Therapist

A career as a marriage and family therapist may also be worth considering for former pastors, as they likely provided marriage and family counseling to some extent while working as a pastor. Marriage and family therapists specifically work with couples and families who are in need of help to improve their communication skills, work on specific issues in their relationships, or to develop ways of dealing with tragedy and grief. This job generally requires good listening skills, patience, and compassion, which pastors may very well have already developed. To become a marriage and family therapist, you will typically need a master's degree in the field along with a license to practice in your state.

Postsecondary Religion Teacher

Some individuals who worked as pastors and have the proper credentials may be interested in transitioning to a teaching role by becoming a postsecondary religion teacher at a college or a religious school, like a seminary. As a postsecondary religion teacher, you would be responsible for conducting courses in specific topics related to religion or being a pastor, assessing student progress, and giving grades. Your experience as a pastor may help you provide students with real life examples and wisdom. To become a postsecondary teacher, you will typically need to have a master's or doctoral degree in a field related to the subject you are teaching.

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