Careers in Theology
Theology is rewarding to study, but many are justifiably concerned with the career options offered by a degree in theology. Fortunately, theology teaches a number of valuable skills that help to make students of theology competitive in a number of careers, both religious and secular.
International students studying theology have many options upon graduation. Theology involves the study of metaphysical, religious, and philosophical issues, and the skills that these studies help develop qualifies students of theology for a number of possible careers.
While the study of religion is intrinsically valuable, theology also teaches skills that are valuable across a range of professions. Theology courses teach critical thinking, writing, abstract reasoning, and logical analysis skills that are relevant for jobs that value adaptability and creativity.
While these tests are often necessary for pursuing advanced degrees, the performance of theology majors may be taken as an indicator of the skills that theology teaches. These skills are useful whether you want to pursue further study or find a job upon graduation.
The most obvious choice for the student of theology is to pursue a job in theology. A background in theology can open doors for those who want to become:
- Theology or religion professors
- Clergy member
- Teacher at a religious school
In the course of studying theology, students will not only achieve the skills and degree often required for such positions, they will also make valuable connections. Professors of theology are often well-connected to religious institutions and are able to provide the advice and contacts that can open the door to jobs in theology. It is important to note that many of the careers in theology listed above require additional, advanced study in theology.
Of course, the careers open to the student of theology are not limited to religious ones. Theology can also provide excellent opportunities for students who want to pursue secular work. Here are just some of the careers that theology and religious studies students might pursue:
- Social workers
- Non-profit workers
All of these careers require the sort of writing, critical analysis, and/or compassion that theology can teach.
International students or students interested in going abroad may find that jobs in theology are especially useful for finding work internationally. Whether you want to work as a professor, run your own congregation, or work as a missionary, each of the these jobs offers the chance for unique and meaningful international work.
International students who major in theology are also well-prepared for secular international jobs. A background in theology or religious studies can help students who want to pursue a career as:
- Non-governmental organization workers
- Humanitarian workers
- International social workers
Graduate Studies in Theology
Of course, many of these careers require further specialized graduate study. Here too, however, a theology degree is an asset. Because of the critical thinking and logical reasoning skills cultivated by the field, theology majors tend to do better than most majors on the GRE and LSAT. For students planning graduate study in any number of areas, the reading, writing, and reasoning skills that a theology degree teaches are a good general background for further specialized study such as sociology, anthropology, public administration, and international relations.
Whether you plan further graduate studies, a career in religious studies or theology, or entering the conventional job market after college, a degree in theology can be a great asset. These practical benefits are accompanied by the great intrinsic value that comes with studying important and interesting issues.
If you are an international student planning for possible careers in theology or are looking for more secular work, theology is a field of study can brings with it both intrinsic and practical benefits. The study of theology is not just for priests and theologians. Anybody interested in careers that require creative and critical thinking can benefit!