What Is the Average Salary of a Chaplain?
Chaplains work in a variety of fields performing religious services and giving spiritual support to those in need. A chaplain's salary is based on a number of factors, including his or her employer, experience, education and location. Read on to learn more about the career opportunities and salary for chaplains. Schools offering Pastoral Ministry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Job Duties of a Chaplain
As a chaplain, you may work for hospices, universities, prisons or the military. Your primary responsibilities will include leading religious services, and providing spiritual support and guidance to those unable to attend services. Chaplains write religious sermons, conduct weddings and recite funeral ceremonies. Chaplains might also organize educational programs for other religious providers, youth groups, prisoners or those considering conversion to a particular faith. If you're interested in a career as a chaplain, you may earn a graduate-level degree in psychology, theology or pastoral counseling. These programs will help you develop the skills needed to provide emotional support, mental health support and psychological therapy.
According to Payscale.com, chaplains in the middle 80% of earners commanded salaries that ranged from $37,202-$51,176 as of August 2011. Salaries often vary depending on experience, education, location and employer. The salary range for chaplains with 1-4 years of experience was $34,978-$48,237, while the salary range for those with 10-19 years of experience was $39,504-$55,103, according to Payscale.com. The highest paid chaplains worked in California and Texas, also according to Payscale.com.
A report released in December 2009 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that the overall employment of clergy professionals would grow by 7-13% between the years of 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov). The three major employers of chaplains are religious organizations, hospitals and home health care services, which employed 23,470, 5,810 and 3,510 professionals in 2009, respectively.
Educational Requirements and Certification Information
Chaplains often major in theology in an undergraduate program before continuing their education at the graduate level in a seminary program. Ordainment in one or more faiths may be required. For certification, some faiths may require you to have ministry experience. While certification is not always absolutely necessary, it is often considered a highly desirable professional asset that can increase your career opportunities and salary potential.
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