Catholic Careers with a Theology Degree

There are many diverse Catholic careers open to graduates who hold a theology degree. While ministry jobs may be the most commonly held careers by theologians, there are many jobs in the Catholic Church other than that of priest or pastor. You do not have to be ordained to find work with the Catholic Church, but a degree in theology can open the door to many careers in your faith. If you’re interested in working for the Church, you can find Catholic careers in the Church itself, in schools and in community outreach. Read on for information on Catholic jobs that may interest you.

Careers in the Church

Catholic careers in the Church take many forms. The most obvious of career options include priest or deacon. Becoming a deacon or a priest is a long and involved process. They are both ordained positions and, for that reason, require great commitment to God and the community of the Church. Typically, priests and some deacons are required to attend a theological seminary.

Laypersons can also find employment with the Church. Non-ordained members of the Church may help spread the message by working with youth groups, leading bible study or retreats and teaching Sunday school. These catechists, or religious teachers, are vitally important to maintaining a strong congregation.

Vocalists and musicians can also find employment with the Church. These persons lead the congregation in musical worship and often play organ, piano, flute or string instruments. Some Churches have a music director or liturgical planner on staff, as well. The music director or liturgical planner plans musical selections that correspond to each day of the Catholic calendar.

The Church needs administrators to keep things running, just like any business does. Administrative personnel may coordinate community activities and fundraising efforts for those activities. They may handle payroll operations, keep the books and provide other accounting duties for the Church.

The Church may also employ cleaning staff and other behind-the-scenes individuals who play a smaller, yet important, role in ensuring the Church functions to the benefit of all parishioners.

Careers in Catholic schools

Catholic schools may or may not be affiliated with a particular church or parish. However, teachers in Catholic schools are considered catechists. They are expected to uphold the pillars of the Catholic faith in their teachings and interactions with students and other faculty.

The majority of Catholic schools are private schools. This means that teachers in Catholic schools may not be required to hold the same credentials as their public school peers. Most schools prefer that instructors have a master’s degree in their intended content area or a degree in education. While public school teachers must be licensed by the state, such is not always the case with private school, and thus Catholic school teachers.

However, private school teachers do not typically earn as much as public school teachers. The majority opinion is that the friendlier setting, smaller class sizes and often more motivated students make up for the disparity in pay. Private schools are on a voluntary basis only. Unruly students can be asked to leave the school. Parents often pay a great deal for out-of-pocket tuition, which means they are literally more invested in their child’s education.

Some of the most common Catholic school jobs include teacher; teacher assistant; principal; administrator; curriculum planner or service worker, such as janitorial staff and lunchroom attendant.

Careers in community outreach

The Catholic Church does excellent work in community outreach and has many service programs that give back to the community. The largest of these is Catholic Charities USA, but many others exist at the local, state and national level.

These organizations rely heavily on volunteer workers, but that doesn’t mean they are staffed solely by volunteers. Even nonprofit and charity groups have paid workers who perform certain crucial tasks. Paid positions in nonprofit organizations typically exist for organizers, administrators, fundraisers, grant writers and chair persons. It takes a very detail-oriented person who is familiar with the inner workings of nonprofits to excel in these positions. For this reason, the majority of paid employees with Catholic and other charities started as volunteers within the organization.

No matter what your skill set or expertise, God has a plan for you. The best way to find opportunities for careers in the Catholic Church is to get involved and start meeting people who do the kind of work you’d like to be involved in. Talk with your pastor or deacon about what it’s like to work inside the Church and where you could best apply yourself. Good luck and God bless.