Why Study Theology? “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 Deciding to pursue a postgraduate degree in Theology is a big decision; one that could change your life’s path forever. Successful completion of this degree might mean added responsibilities at your current job, getting a new job within your same profession, or starting over in an entirely new career. And although it’s hard to say with total certainty where this degree might take you, it’s sure to be an enriching and powerful experience. I mean, there aren’t many places outside a school of Theology where you’ll get to meet, talk with, and maybe even socialize with others who share your passion for spirituality and religion. If you’re considering this big step, then you’re probably: A spiritual or religious person Eager to work with a diverse population Someone who enjoys reading, writing, and researching Willing to learn another language like Hebrew, Greek, or even Latin Interested in mediation, intervention, and other counseling services A postgraduate degree in theology might be just what you need to find your prosperous future. Learning About Theology Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. – Proverbs 9:9 Earning a postgraduate degree in Theology can take anywhere from 1 to 3 years, depending on the specific requirements of the college or university you choose to attend. And while each school will have different course offerings, it’s likely that you’ll spend those 1-3 years discussing and researching: Latin, Greek, and/or Hebrew languages The Bible as a historical and religious text Pastoral care/counseling Research methods You’ll probably also get some real-world experience through a practicum or internship. Depending on your interests, you might get to spend this time learning from employees in a community-based organization, in a church, or even in a school. Of course, before you get to do all this, you’ll have to apply and get accepted into a program. If you’re looking for a postgraduate degree, you’ll need to already have a Bachelor’s degree, although not necessarily in Theology. You’ll also need to submit an application, write a personal statement, and possibly submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller’s Analogies Test (MAT). The school(s) you’re applying to will more than likely require an application fee as well. Some people believe that you should never pay for a graduate degree – just wait until you find a job or school willing to pay for it for you – but if you’re like me and you’re just not interested in waiting for someone else to set the schedule for you, then you can expect to pay anywhere between $10,000 and $30,000 per year to be a full-time student. Of course, there’s the option to go to school part-time, which will mean a smaller annual bill but will require a longer time commitment. What Can a Theology Degree Lead To? Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous your future be. – Job 8:7 Students who earn a postgraduate degree in Theology have several options for employment. These include, but are not limited to, being a: Counselor Minister Chaplain Priest Pastor Other religious leader School teacher College professor Writer Speaker/Lecturer Researcher Community Organizer Director of a nonprofit agency or other community-based organization Take another look at each of those opportunities. These positions are among the few that can truly take you anywhere in the world. Anywhere a church, school, or community is in need of spiritual guidance or religious teachings, you might be able to find a job. In fact, this degree might take you to teaching history at a parochial school or to organizing residents on the Southside of Chicago, like Father Michael Pflaeger. (Arguably, outside of President Obama, he’s one of the most influential organizers to come out of the Windy City). One thing to consider: it’s likely that your employment opportunities right out of school won’t be at the top of the heap. You might not step from graduation right into running a 10,000 member church. But, as we all know, humble beginnings can surely lead to prosperous futures. How Much Can Theology Degree Holders Earn? Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow. – Proverbs 13:11 According to Azusa Pacific University, “A theology major’s typical starting salary is $34,500. The typical salary after 10-19 years is $43,977.” But because there are so many career options, there is a big range of possible earnings. Average Minimum Annual Salary Average Maximum Annual Salary Minister $24,000 $76,000 College professor $40,000 $140,000 Priest $15,000 $100,000 Community organizer $28,000 $100,000 Where you live will also affect your annual income. Like with most areas of study, graduates of Theology program s who live in large urban areas will likely earn more than their rural or suburban counterparts. Be wise with your earnings and you’ll find a career in Theology can provide a very comfortable – and honest – living. Imagine Your Future! Since no one knows the future, who can tell someone else what is to come? – Ecclesiastics 8:7 Imagine yourself in Tyniah Potts’ place: graduating with a degree in theology, celebrating your accomplishments with friends and family. What an awesome day that could be!