Youth Pastors work with young people and adults, typically in churches and sometimes in other youth organizations. A youth pastor is often a mentor and a spiritual guide for a church's young attendees, and is also tasked with teaching the Bible to young kids. The ability to teach and communicate with a wide age range is key for a youth pastor, as he or she might find herself working with not only children in the church, but in the broader community as well. Successful youth pastors often move to Associate Pastor or Senior Pastor, or go into another part of the education field to become a Postsecondary Religion and Philosophy Teacher. Job duties for a youth pastor often include:
Providing adolescents with spiritual guidance
Conducting the church's youth ministry
Speaking publicly to groups of youths and adults
Demonstrating expertise regarding the teachings of the Bible
Depending on the church, the community, and the main pastor, job duties and requirements will vary. A youth group's curriculum and activities depend heavily on the youth pastor, so communication and organization are essential skills for someone interested in this job.
Youth Pastor Job Education Requirements
Typically youth pastors have a bachelor's degree in theology, youth ministry, or biblical studies. A joint major in education and theology is also a possible education path. Along with a bachelor's degree, many churches want youth pastors to have practical experience, which means an internship during or directly after college is often a necessity to gain said experience. Candidates can also gain relevant experience by volunteering to be a youth leader, with a community church group or an established youth pastor. Job applicants with master's or doctoral degrees can expect a significantly higher salary than those without.
Youth Pastor Job Market
Over 18,000 people in the US are employed as directors of religious activities and education, which includes youth ministry and youth pastors. Career opportunities in religious activities and education are expected to increase by 17 percent through 2020, though sharing denominational beliefs with potential employers is very important and can impact job searches greatly. Job candidates who become ordained have a greater chance of success.
Youth Pastor Job Salary Information
The median hourly wage for people employed as directors of religious activities and education is $18.35, and the median annual salary is $38,160, with a range from $15,800 to $76,700. Larger churches typically pay higher salaries for youth pastors, and salary can increase significantly with years of experience, from $31,800 with 1-5 years of experience, to $50,900 for over 20 years of experience.