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Pastoral Specialized Ministries

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Pastoral Specialized Ministries Major

2,932 yearly degrees
#175 in popularity
$47,000 median salary

Pastoral counseling and specialized ministries is a major that typically falls into the Theology & Religious Vocations category.

There are 27 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in pastoral counseling, 242 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 173 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 40 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Pastoral Counseling Degree?

This is a less frequently chosen major. Only 1,400 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in pastoral counseling and specialized ministries in 2017. This major tends to be male dominated. About 59.9% of recent graduates are men.

Racial Distribution

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

  • Asian: 2.3%
  • Black or African American: 6%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 8.5%
  • White: 73.5%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 2%
  • Other Races: 7.7%
Pastoral Specialized Ministries Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in pastoral counseling. About 2% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending pastoral counseling majors to the U.S. are South Korea, Canada and China.

What Will You Learn as a Pastoral Specialized Ministries Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to pastoral counseling 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 Pastoral Counseling Majors

A major in pastoral counseling should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

Important Knowledge Areas for Pastoral Specialized Ministries Majors

Skills for Pastoral Counseling Majors

When studying pastoral counseling, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

Important Skills for Pastoral Specialized Ministries Majors

Abilities for Pastoral Counseling Majors

As a pastoral counseling major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

Important Abilities for pastoral counseling Majors

What Can You Do With a Pastoral Counseling Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with pastoral counseling:

Careers Related to Pastoral Specialized Ministries
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Directors, Religious Activities and Education



Religious Workers






Philosophy and Religion Professors



Pastoral Specialized Ministries Major Salary

Pastoral counseling majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $36,000 to $53,000. 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 Pastoral Counseling Major  ( 36000 to 53000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

Your salary will be largely dependent on the career path you follow and what area of the country (or world) you work. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Pastoral Specialized Ministries Major Jobs

Some careers associated with pastoral counseling may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

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

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Pastoral Specialized Ministries
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online Pastoral Specialized Ministries Programs

There are 242 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in pastoral counseling and specialized ministries, with 40 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.

Online learners benefit from being able to watch lectures remotely and complete coursework on their schedule, but they also take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to dropout.

Is a Pastoral Specialized Ministries Major Worth It?

The median salary for a pastoral counseling grad is $47,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 21% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $161,600 after 20 years!

pastoral counseling and specialized ministries salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: Chief Master Sgt. Raymond Sarracino via License

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