Career Options for Christian School Graduates
A Christian college alumnus could have graduated with any number of degrees, and could then pursue any number of careers, from the traditionally non-religious like an accountant, nurse, or software developer, to a more faith-based career like a clergy member, philosophy/religion teacher, or as a director of religious education and activities. Tuition costs can be intimidating, but luckily there are scholarships and grants available that can help you pay for your associate, bachelors, masters, doctoral, and possibly even postdoctoral studies so that you can pursue your dream career.
Your degree influences your career, which then plays a role in your salary. With this many options, it’s impossible to say, “If you graduate from a Christian college, you will make X amount annually.” Instead, this guide will highlight salaries of careers with the most projected job growth, salaries of religious-based careers, and salaries of non-religious careers that Christian college students also tend to pursue.
High Job Growth Career Salaries
This list of careers came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) list of occupations with the most job growth from 2014-2024, and they are expected to grow faster than the 7% national average of all occupations. More job growth in an industry can lead to a better chance of landing a job once you graduate.
To narrow it down, we will look at the average annual salaries (as of 2016) from careers on that list that require at least a bachelor’s degree.
- Accountants and Auditors – $68,150
- Computer Systems Analysts – $87,220
- Management Analysts – $81,330
- Registered Nurses – $68,450
- Software Developers – $100,080
This industry is expected to grow 11% by 2024, and many states also require that you become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Any additional certifications and/or a graduate degree could increase your potential income beyond the reported average.
Graduating from a Christian college with a computer science or information science degree can prepare you for this field that is expected to see a 21% growth by 2024.
A bachelor’s degree will get your foot in the door, where the employment is projected to see a 14% increase. You may be able to increase your possible salary potential by also earning a management consultant certification and/or a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).
Most Christian colleges offer nursing degrees ranging from an associate’s to a doctorate. However, it is becoming more of a standard to enter this quickly growing (17% by 2024) field with at least a bachelor’s degree.
Employment is estimated to increase by 19% for software developers by 2024. Graduating from a Christian college with a degree that enhances your computer skills like computer science or software engineering can help to prepare you for this career path.
Salaries of Religious Careers
One of the advantages of attending a Christian college is that you have the opportunity to pursue a degree that can prepare you for a career centered around faith. While there are many different types of positions for you to work in, the BLS has grouped them into the four career groups as shown in the chart below. You’ll find that the career groups’ average yearly salaries and several industries/workplaces that tend to hire people in those career paths in the following chart as well.
|Career||Average Annual Salary||Common Workplaces|
|Philosophy and Religion Professors||$77,420||
|Directors, Religious Activities/Education||$44,840||
|All Other Religious Workers||$34,300||
Other Careers and Salaries
You may have noticed that, with the exception of registered nurses, most of the previously listed high employment rate careers fall within the business/technology category. However, that doesn’t mean that those are the only careers that you should consider. And while you are interested in attending a Christian college, you don’t necessarily have to pursue a degree/career that directly connected to religion. Many students who graduate from Christian colleges have a desire to serve and help others, which may be why they also choose to pursue careers in education and social services.
There are a plethora of careers available in the education industry, with salaries ranging from around $29,000 for preschool teachers to about $75,000 for postsecondary teachers (college professors).
We have listed the salary and career information for philosophy/religion college professors in the previous chart, so we won’t go into much more detail about this career path. However, you should know that if you want to become a professor and teach a subject other than philosophy/religion, you typically need to have a doctorate in that subject as well as research and field experience. Some schools, like city and community colleges, may hire you as a professor with just a master’s degree. In that case, you salary may be less than what is listed here.
Aside from becoming a college professor (postsecondary teacher), here are five of the highest average salaries in the education industry and the suggested degree needed to enter the field according to the BLS as of 2016:
- Instructional Coordinators, Master’s degree: $62,460
- High School Teachers, Bachelor’s degree: $58,030
- Special Education Teachers, Bachelor’s degree: $57,910
- Librarians, Master’s degree: $57,680
- Middle School Teachers, Bachelor’s degree: $56,720
Social Services Salaries
According the BLS, careers in the community and social services, like counselors and social workers, can make roughly between $35,000 – $55,000 annually. The following is a list of five of the highest average salaries in the social services field and the suggested entry-level degree needed according to the BLS as of 2016:
- School and Career Counselors, Master’s degree: $54,560
- Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists, Bachelor’s degree: $50,160
- Social Workers, Bachelor’s degree (non-clinical) or Master’s degree (clinical social worker) $46,890-$60,230
- Health Educators and Community Health Workers, Bachelor’s degree: $44,390
- Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists, Master’s degree: $44,170
For those interested in obtaining a doctoral degree in the social service/mental health industry, psychologists can earn approximately $75,000 – $95,000 each year, while psychiatrists can make upwards of $200,000 in a year.
As a graduate from a Christian college, like with any other college, your salary potential will vary depending on which degree you earn. You could possibly earn even more than the average salaries listed here by continuing your education and getting a masters or doctoral degree. Our guide, Six Easy Steps to Manage the College Application Process, can help you take that first step into your new career path.
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