If you are seeking work in Christian ministry, you may be wondering about jobs available with a Master of Divinity degree. The Master of Divinity (M.Div) is the standard degree for pastors and priests in many Christian denominations. It is a degree that will serve you well as the leader of a Christian congregation, but the education and skills you’ll receive with an M.Div could also prepare you for a number of other kinds of jobs.
The M.Div as Preparation for Church Leadership
Most people seeking to become a pastor or priest in the U.S. are prepared for their work in congregational ministry by attending seminary or divinity school. While there are a variety of degrees that one can pursue in seminary, the main preparatory degree for someone seeking to become an ordained clergyperson is the Master of Divinity or M.Div. Classes in the M.Div program usually include a mixture of subjects such as biblical studies, biblical languages, liturgical studies, theology, and pastoral care. A school accredited with the Association of Theological Schools must offer a minimum of 72 course hours in the M.Div. The combination of these types of classes provides a well-rounded education for someone seeking to lead a Christian congregation. In general, those will be the jobs you may hear about first when you are looking for jobs available with a master of divinity.
Other Possible Jobs with an M.Div
Many graduates of M.Div programs go on to be ordained by their particular denomination, but not all M.Div grads are ordained, and even those who are do not necessarily go on to work as congregational pastors. Some recent graduates may start out as pastoral assistants in a congregation, serving alongside the rector or lead pastor. In larger churches especially, such pastoral assistants may have a special designation. For instance, they may be in charge of ministry to children or elderly parishioners, or they may be in charge of pastoral care. Some who hold the M.Div, ordained or not, may become youth pastors.
Not all Christian leadership positions you can find with an M.Div will be in a congregational setting. Some will be in para-church settings. For example, someone with an M.Div might find a job running a Christian camp or retreat center. An M.Div might also be a good preparation for administrative work in a Christian missionary or relief agency. The combination of an M.Div, with its theological and biblical training, and a business degree could make someone a particularly valuable resource in a para-church leadership position. Combining the M.Div with a counseling degree could prepare you for work as a Christian counselor in a private practice or a church or para-church setting. An M.Div might also open doors to teaching jobs, particularly in Christian K-12 or prep schools, in Bible colleges or Christian universities, or even within a seminary or divinity school.
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Although people tend to think of the Master of Divinity as preparation for becoming a pastor, there are really a variety of jobs that could be open to someone with such a degree. The degree’s combination of academic rigor and practical skills can provide good preparation for professional ministry jobs available with a master of divinity.