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Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree followed by master’s degree in Theology or Divinity
Average Salary: $42,950 per year
Job Outlook: Good

A pastor is a person who conducts religious worship and promotes spirituality. Pastors provide spiritual and moral guidance to the followers of the faith. They are responsible for spreading the teachings of their faith and encourage others to do the same. Pastors are responsible for sharing information about religious issues by writing articles, giving speeches, and addressing gatherings.
Pastors prepare and deliver sermons based on the bible and are responsible for organizing regular religious services and congregations. Pastors are typically employed with churches and other non-profit organizations who work for the improvement of the community. Pastors are also responsible for providing spiritual and administrative leadership to the church.
Pastors instruct people who are keen on converting to a particular faith. They visit old age homes, prisons, and hospitals to provide spiritual support to the needy. Depending on their areas of expertise, pastors also perform various ceremonies such as baptisms, weddings, and funerals.

Education and Training Requirements

Pastors need to have a bachelor’s degree in Theology, religious studies, liberal arts, or Divinity. Pastors often need to study at the theological seminary after their bachelor’s degree. Senior level pastoral positions require a master’s degree in Divinity. Pastors are typically ordained into their positions through a proper appointment process. The educational requirements for a pastor vary, depending upon the denomination and the geographic location. Common Protestant denominations include: Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, and Presbyterian.
Most of these denominations have their own schools of theology, which hire pastors passing out from their own schools.

Getting the Job

In addition to the educational requirements, pastors need to exhibit strong leadership and communication skills. They should be able to motivate others. Pastors frequently need to address large gatherings and congregations. Therefore they need to have excellent oratory skills. They need to be patient and active listeners. They should be able to empathize with people and provide right guidance. Pastors should be devoted to the church and have a natural instinct to reach out to people. They need to be compassionate and should be willing to provide assistance and care for others. Pastors also need to coach and mentor others to follow and preach the principles of their faith.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The job prospects for a pastor are modest with an expected increase in employment growth by 7% to 13% for 2008-2018. There has been an increasing interest in faith and therefore the requirement for pastors will continue to increase. More positions will be created as senior protestant ministers retire, leave the ministry, or die.
Newly ordained pastors can work in youth counseling, social welfare organizations, family relations, hospitals, and correctional institutions. With experience, they are easily hired by large churches.

Working Conditions and Environment

Pastors often work irregular hours and at times their work week may extend more than 50 hours. The nature of work is sedentary. At times they even need to attend to people, counsel sick, and comfort the dying, at short notices. Pastors are involved in community and educational activities for which they need to work during evenings, early mornings, and weekends. The obligation to work towards the betterment of the society makes the work stressful.

Salary and Benefits

Salaries of pastors vary depending on their experience, denomination, size of the congregation, and geographic location. Pastors working for wealthier congregations get higher salaries as compared to others. As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median wages for a pastor are $42,950. An experienced pastor might even get close to $60,000 per year.

Where to Go for More Information

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church
607 N. Easton Rd., Bldg. E
Willow Grove, PA 19090-2539
(215) 830-0900

United Centers for Spiritual Living
573 Park Point Dr.
Golden, CO, 80401
(720) 496-1370

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