What Does Clergy Do?
Clergy members conduct numerous spiritual and religious functions for the community. Various faiths and denominations rely on these individuals to guide them through times of strife and to simply serve as a figurehead. Members will turn to people in the clergy to find moral guidance, so people in this occupation need to have outstanding spiritual fiber. There is projected to be steady growth in this field over the next decade. Estimates report that there will be around 7,260 job openings annually for clergy members. That correlates to a 10% increase in growth every year, meaning there will be plenty of positions in various clergies opening up very soon.
Clergy Skills and Abilities
A background in theology can prove to be extremely useful if you are planning to enter this field. However, you need to be familiar with different types of belief systems, and not just your own. Since you will also be responsible for listening to people’s stories and hearing their problems, you need to be an effective counselor and have a basic comprehension of psychology. As a clergy member, you will most likely have to stand in front of crowds to deliver addresses, meaning you should be comfortable with public speaking. You should also have a strong sense of service orientation, so you are always looking for various ways to assist the community.
In addition to leading people spiritually, you will also be expected to deliver sermons or other talks by reading from the Torah, Koran or Bible. You will be responsible for training new members of your church and preparing people to take part in religious ceremonies. As you listen to people’s stories, you may also need to refer them to the proper hospital or counseling center so that they can better receive the help they need. You may also meet with people in an attempt to convert them to your faith. Some of the other activities you should be prepared to partake in include:
- Plan special events and conferences.
- Create educational programs.
- Assist clients by intervening in crisis situations.
- Visit people in their homes to give them information or support.
- Give speeches or write articles.
- Show up to fundraising activities.
Clergy Tools and Technology
A basic understanding of computers is essential for any job in this modern, digital age, so as a clergy member, you should be somewhat familiar with how to use computers and various types of software. You should also know how to use microphones because you will be delivering quite a few sermons. To stay in touch with various people you come into contact with, you should also know how to use e-mail and utilize calendar software.
Education and Training for Clergy
People of various education levels decide to join the clergy, but most individuals will have at least a Bachelor’s degree. No matter what level of education you are coming in with, you will still be expected to complete on-the-job training. There are also numerous instructional programs you can take part in to gain additional training. You may want to look into going into a youth ministry, urban ministry or patient counseling program before deciding to commit to the clergy.
The salary scale for clergy members can vary quite drastically. Those who are just starting out can expect to make around $10.72 per hour. The median wage tends to be closer to $21.00 an hour, and the top 10% of clergy members in the country make around $36.74 per hour. Naturally, that amount is reserved for the most experienced individuals.
Clergy Jobs by Geography
As you would suspect, the highest concentration of clergy members are employed by religious organizations, but they are also employed by hospitals and home health care service organizations. You are going to find the highest employment level for this job in New York, California and Oregon, but every state has a need for high-quality clergy members.