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 Christian Ministry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Chaplain Job Duties and Education
As a chaplain, you may work for hospices, universities, prisons or the military. Your primary responsibilities will include leading religious services, providing spiritual support and offering 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 earn a median salary of $44,192 as of February 2014. The website noted that experience doesn't always mean an increase in salary in this field and that entry level positions often do not pay much more than experienced positions. PayScale.com reported entry-level chaplains earned a median salary of $41,597 with experienced chaplains earning a median salary of $46,278.
However, specialization in certain fields may offer you slightly higher salary opportunities. Chaplains with skills in hospice care, according to PayScale.com, earned a median salary of $46,324, and those with skills in public speaking earned a median salary of $46,119.
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. Programs usually include some type of clinical study. However, it is important to note that there are not licensing laws for chaplains in many states, so your education and certification requirements are often based upon the rules of the organization for which you are going to work.
For certification, you may be required to have ministry experience. Certification is often done through a national organization. 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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