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Pastoral Specialized Ministries Major

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Pastoral Specialized Ministries

1,378 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
1,051 Master's Degrees Annually
#149 in Popularity
$46,980 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Pastoral Specialized Ministries Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many pastoral counseling and specialized ministries graduations there were in 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 1,383
Master’s Degree 1,055
Doctor’s Degree 292
Associate’s Degree 202
Graduate Certificate 126
Basic Certificate 54
Undergraduate Certificate 33

What Pastoral Specialized Ministries Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to pastoral counseling were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Pastoral Counseling Majors

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

  • Philosophy and Theology - Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

Skills for Pastoral Counseling Majors

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

  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Abilities for Pastoral Counseling Majors

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

  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

What Can You Do With a Pastoral Specialized Ministries Major?

People with a pastoral counseling degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Clergy 8.2% $48,990
Directors, Religious Activities and Education 7.1% $40,810
Philosophy and Religion Professors 12.3% $71,890
Religious Workers 7.7% $29,820

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Pastoral Specialized Ministries?

1,383 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
40% Percent Women
20% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 1,378 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in pastoral counseling and specialized ministries in 2018, making it rank #149 in popularity. This major tends to be male dominated. About 60% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Pastoral Counseling Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 32
Black or African American 83
Hispanic or Latino 117
White 1,017
International Students 27
Other Races/Ethnicities 107

Geographic Diversity

Pastoral Counseling appeals to people across the globe. About 2.0% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • South Korea
  • Canada
  • China
  • Vietnam
  • India

How Much Do Pastoral Specialized Ministries Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The U.S. Department of Education found that students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree in pastoral counseling and specialized ministries made a median starting salary of $24,800 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $23,350 (25th percentile) and $26,475 (75th percentile).


We don’t know for sure if all of these people took jobs related to pastoral counseling so take that into consideration.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $35,860 to $53,290 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to pastoral counseling. 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, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Pastoral Specialized Ministries Major  ( 35860 to 53290 )
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )

Some degrees 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 schooling 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 Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 0.3%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 2.1%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 0.2%
Bachelor’s Degree 36.2%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 2.8%
Master’s Degree 30.0%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 0.2%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.1%
Doctoral Degree 24.2%
Post-Doctoral Training 4.0%

Online Pastoral Specialized Ministries Programs

In 2017-2018, 273 schools offered a pastoral counseling program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 22 8
Certificate (1-2 years) 14 5
Certificate (2-4 Years) 7 3
Associate’s Degree 27 11
Bachelor’s Degree 43 8
Post-Baccalaureate 22 8
Master’s Degree 173 47
Post-Master’s 10 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 19 5
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 8 1
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 13 2

Is a Degree in Pastoral Specialized Ministries Worth It?

The median salary for a pastoral counseling grad is $46,980 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 18% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $141,600 after 20 years!


You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to pastoral counseling.

Major Number of Grads
Theological & Ministerial Studies 18,745
Biblical Studies 4,645
Missionary Studies 1,655
Religious Education 1,537
Theology & Religious Vocations (Other) 1,378
Sacred Music 454


More about our data sources and methodologies.

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