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
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.
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.
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.