Clergy picture    Clergy image


Clergy lead worship based on religious doctrines and provide spiritual and moral guidance and other assistance. They perform religious ceremonies including weddings, funerals, birth and coming of age rituals. They also collaborate with community leaders on nonreligious issues such as fundraising activities.

Clergy professionals include ministers, priests, pastors, imams and rabbis. Some priests or rabbis are scholars or teachers. Some ministers become missionaries and offer religious and social assistance to people across the world. Chaplains provide spiritual guidance in hospitals, the armed services and schools.


  • Organize and lead religious services
  • Instruct people that seek conversion to a particular faith
  • Read from sacred text to their congregation
  • Provide counseling to groups and individuals regarding their spiritual, personal and emotional needs
  • Visit people in hospitals, homes and other settings to provide comfort and support
  • Administer religious ordnances or rites
  • Train leaders of church, community and youth groups

Job Characteristics

Clergy professionals are usually excellent public speakers and good listeners. They have compassion for people and have a strong desire to help others. Only unmarried men are allowed to serve as priests in most sects of Catholicism. Only men are allowed to serve as Muslim imams. Women can serve as Anglican priests. Married men can be Anglican or Eastern Orthodox priests.

Some members of the clergy sometimes work 10 to 12 hours a day. They typically work during all or portions of the weekend. They typically work part of the week performing administrative tasks and preparing for services. Clergy members also spend a lot of time on call to help those that are troubled, sick or need spiritual guidance.

Employment Outlook

The growth of employment for clergy from 2008 to 2018 is projected to be about as fast as average for all occupations. In 2008 the median annual earnings for clergy was $41,730.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Each religion has requirements and processes for appointing members of the clergy. Most clergy have at least a bachelor's degree. Many clergy professionals have master's degrees in Theology or Religious Studies, however the educational backgrounds of clergy may vary. They also thoroughly study the relevant sacred texts. They need to have comprehensive knowledge of the beliefs and rites of their group.


Major Employers

The top employers are religious organizations, hospitals, home health care services, state government and nursing care facilities.

Schools for Clergy are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Clergy jobs , as of 2016

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 1,760 $61,160
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 940 $52,250
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn 890 $41,150
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington 660 $49,190
Grand Rapids-Wyoming 650 $44,910
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls 650 $50,740
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale 630 $50,780
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land 630 $55,310
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach 510 $56,610
Albany-Schenectady-Troy 490 $51,730

Compare Total Employment & Salaries for Clergy

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to clergy

Source : 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, BLS.gov

Most Popular Industries for

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

Industry Total Employment Percent Annual Median Salary
Non-profit 23,940 57% $38,350
Hospital 6,280 14% $46,080
Medical Office 3,660 8% $43,530
Government 2,710 6% $56,970
Nursing And Residential Care 2,190 5% $39,930
Education 2,030 4% $39,100
Social Service 560 1% $37,260
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Clergy.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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