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Theological & Ministerial Studies Major

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Theological & Ministerial Studies

11,173 Master's Degrees Annually
1,452 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#20 in Popularity (Master's)
$53,290 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Theological & Ministerial Studies Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many theological and ministerial studies graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 11,230
Doctor’s Degree 1,464
Graduate Certificate 861

What Theological & Ministerial Studies Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to theology and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Theology Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in theology should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • Philosophy and Theology - Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • History and Archeology - Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

Skills for Theology Majors

theology majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:

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  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for Theology Majors

A major in theology will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

What Can You Do With a Theological & Ministerial Studies Major?

People with a theology degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Clergy 8.2% $48,990
Philosophy and Religion Professors 12.3% $71,890
Religious Workers 7.7% $29,820

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Theological & Ministerial Studies?

11,230 Master's Degrees Annually
30% Percent Women
27% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is one of the most frequently chosen graduate majors. It is the 20th most popular in the country with 11,173 students graduating with a master’s in theology in 2019. This major tends to be male dominated. About 70% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of theology majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Theology Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 495
Black or African American 1,557
Hispanic or Latino 703
White 6,643
International Students 795
Other Races/Ethnicities 1,037

Geographic Diversity

Theology appeals to people across the globe. About 7.1% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • South Korea
  • Canada
  • China
  • India
  • Vietnam

How Much Do Theological & Ministerial Studies Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

The U.S. Department of Education found that students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree in theological and ministerial studies made a median starting salary of $40,750 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $33,125 (25th percentile) and $47,475 (75th percentile).

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It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not related to theology.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $35,860 to $82,420 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to theology. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Theological & Ministerial Studies Major  ( 35860 to 82420 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with theology may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for theology careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 0.5%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 0.1%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 0.1%
Bachelor’s Degree 12.0%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 4.0%
Master’s Degree 40.5%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 0.4%
Doctoral Degree 36.8%
Post-Doctoral Training 6.2%

Online Theological & Ministerial Studies Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 578 schools offered some type of theological and ministerial studies program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 22 10
Certificate (1-2 years) 32 10
Certificate (2-4 Years) 7 3
Associate’s Degree 98 29
Bachelor’s Degree 90 38
Post-Baccalaureate 22 10
Master’s Degree 580 183
Post-Master’s 35 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 91 15
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 61 7
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 38 10

Is a Degree in Theological & Ministerial Studies Worth It?

The median salary for a theology grad is $53,290 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 34% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $267,800 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to theology.

Major Number of Grads
Biblical Studies 4,551
Pastoral Counseling & Specialized Ministries 3,055
Religious Education 1,497
Missionary Studies 1,379
Theology & Religious Vocations (Other) 1,375
Sacred Music 477

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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