Religion plays a major role in the historical, political, and cultural life of our societies. If you are fascinated by belief systems, consider taking courses at a university or online college. Bachelor''s degree coursework can run the gamut from the major religions of the world to the myths, folklore, and legends of ancient civilizations. Classes may also cover related topics such as historical analysis, ethics, modern theology, religious texts, archeology, and the major figures of religion.
With the advent of online learning, getting your bachelor''s degree in religious studies is not only possible, but quite accessible. You can select from online colleges or online religious instruction centers that are specifically geared toward degrees in religious education.
A degree in religious studies not only qualifies you for positions at religious institutions, but also gives you flexibility to choose other careers. The interdisciplinary nature of a religious studies degree offers a broad liberal arts background useful in many disciplines. With a graduate degree, you can pursue specific interests and prepare for a range of career alternatives in social services, non-profit organizations, communications, business, or government. Or you may use your religious studies degree to expand into another field, such as music, teaching, or administration.
Training in Religious Studies
With a little initiative, religious education can extend beyond the four walls of your classroom or Internet connection. One way to get some direct experience is by visiting your local mosque, temple, church, or congregation. You will be able to query members on their prospective religions to find out firsthand why they believe what they believe. If you want to further your understanding of these religions, you might want to consider volunteering for their social functions in order to get to know the members and leaders better. Interviewing members of an older generation may also yield interesting insights and information that can enhance your religious education. Greek, Chinese, and Scandinavian cultures are particularly rich in legends and folktales.
The Job Market
After completing a degree in religious studies, graduates can expect a wide range of salaries depending on their choice of career. If you want to remain in the field of religion, you may want to become a minister or work in support staff. The average starting salary for new ministers is about $35,721 annually. A career in social work features starting salaries of $34,935 per year. Some religious studies majors continue on to a master''s or PhD degree, which qualifies them for employment as college professors. As expected, the job openings for this category are extremely competitive. Average annual income for this job is about $98,000.