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Religious Studies

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Religious Studies Major

6,071 yearly degrees
#132 in popularity
$82,000 median salary

Religious studies is a major that typically falls into the Philosophy & Religious Studies category.

There are 49 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in religion, 743 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 188 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 59 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Religion Degree?

Religious studies is one of the least chosen majors in the country, ranked #82 in popularity. About 4,400 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the field in 2017. According to recent stats this major attracts about equal numbers of men and women. Roughly 47.8% of the graduates are women, and 52.2% are men.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of religion majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 3.9%
  • Black or African American: 8.5%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 9%
  • White: 64.4%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 1.6%
  • Other Races: 12.7%
Religious Studies Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in religion. About 1.6% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending religion majors to the U.S. are Israel, South Korea and Canada.

What Will You Learn as a Religious Studies Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to religion to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Religion Majors

Religion majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for Religious Studies Majors

Skills for Religion Majors

A major in religion prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

Important Skills for Religious Studies Majors

Abilities for Religion Majors

As you progress with your religion degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:

Important Abilities for religion Majors

What Can You Do With a Religion Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with religion:

Careers Related to Religious Studies
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Philosophy and Religion Professors

12.3%

$71,890

Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Professors

10.4%

$74,440

Religious Studies Major Salary

Religion majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $82,000 to $85,000. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Religion Major  ( 82000 to 85000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )
$0
$200k

The area of the country you choose to work in will also affect your career and salary prospects. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Religious Studies Major Jobs

Some careers associated with religion require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much education do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to religion have obtained the following education levels.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Religious Studies
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma

0%

High School Diploma or Equivalent

0.1%

Post-Secondary Certificate

0%

Some College Courses

0%

Associate's Degree or Equivalent

0%

Bachelor's Degree

0%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

0%

Master's Degree

23.8%

Post-Master's Certificate

2.2%

First Professional Degree

0.7%

Doctoral Degree

66.2%

Post-Doctoral Training

7.5%

Online Religious Studies Programs

There are 743 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in religious studies, with 48 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Getting your degree online is not easy and includes watching and listening to hours of lectures, participating in group charts, submitting papers by the appropriate deadline and taking tests. Some online programs will also feature internships or in-person clinical hours.

Is a Religious Studies Major Worth It?

The median salary for a religion grad is $82,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 112% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $870,400 after 20 years!

religious studies salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: Sowlos via License

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