Known by a few different terms, including clergy and ministers, pastors provide a variety of services in settings like churches and religious organizations. Their duties include hosting religious services, giving sermons, providing spiritual guidance and performing ceremonial functions, such as weddings, baptisms and funerals. The precise expectations involved will vary considerably among faiths, denominations and congregations. However, in most cases, these essential functions will be required in some form. Other duties for pastors include visitation of the sick and elderly, induction of new congregation members, family counseling and participation in professional organizations and associations.
Pastor Education Requirements
Many pastors earn a bachelor's degree prior to pursuing additional specialized education often provided by seminaries and religious schools catering to the educational needs of a specific denomination. Formal continuing education opportunities are generally available, but it is optional in most cases. Early in their careers, many pastors opt to increase their knowledge and skills through self-study and experience.
Pastor Job Market
According to current market research, pastor jobs are expected to increase by 10 percent in the next decade with a projected 7,260 openings per year in the field. These national trends are likely to vary by region and organization. For example, faiths and denominations with more adherents and larger congregations may have more job openings available.
The typical salary for pastor and minister jobs covers a wide range, between $25,000 and $60,000 nationally. The reported median salary is $43,800 annually, according to recent statistics. Pastors employed by medical and surgical hospitals and by state governments typically earn somewhat more. These pastors are considered chaplains in most cases, and these positions are less numerous than those in religious organizations, which often pay a lower salary.