Someone who is a staff chaplain at a hospital makes about $40,000 a year. The head of a chaplain earns around $52,000 a year (http://www.mayo.edu/mshs/cpe-career.html). Other than chaplains and professors, the earning potential in the field is limited. Many times historians cannot get jobs because they have to be a member of a certain religious group to be eligible for specific jobs.
Facts at a glance
- For the most part those in the religious studies field teach, minister or counsel.
- Religious studies have picked up steam as a field in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
- The field tailed off in the 1980’s, but then came back later in the decade.
- Religious scholars often aren’t members of the religion they study.
- Religious studies is the study religion as a whole as opposed to specific religions
Summary of what this career entails
There are many jobs in the religious studies field so the specific job will decide what the person will do. The one thing all people in the field have to do is study. Whether or not you belong to a certain religion you must know religion from both a past and present perspective in order to be successful in the field. Professors have to know religious studies in order to teach courses in it. A Counselor does have to know religion in order to help troubled people (usually of the same faith). Obviously if someone who wants to write a book they have to know at least about the religion you are writing about. In general the religious studies field involves a lot of talking. Some of the jobs mentioned above require a lot of talking (ex teacher), as does priesthood and ministry.
Examples and or details of work
A major part of the religious studies field is analyzing behavior. In that vein, on October 9, there was scheduled to be a multimedia presentation entitled “Game Day and God: Football, Faith and politics in the American South.” The presentation concerned the experience of fans at a Southern College Football game in terms of the religious functions seen during a game of football (http://margaretsoltan.phenominet.com/2006/10/heads-up-in-multimedia-presentation.html). Since the attacks on September 11th, religious studies have come more into focus as people try to analyze Islam and it’s teachings to see if there is any correlation between said teachings and the attacks. Studying Christianity and Islam simultaneously can be crucial in the process to create piece between the two groups.
Degrees that lead to this career
Degrees that lead to a career in religious studies include theology, religious vocations, ministerial studies, religious studies, and philosophy. A lot of times employers in the field require a masters degree or a PHD.
Specific Career openings in this field
Specific careers in the religious studies field include: teacher, minister of religion, community worker, counselor, and personnel manager. You could also be an author or even a journalist (religious studies could be your “beat”).