Masters in Theology -- What Can I Do w/ It?


Hello all,

I am hoping that I can get some help. I am currently in gradschool, getting a Masters in theology. I am currently attending a Lutheran seminary, but I am taking most of my electives at the local Catholic seminary. I may end up entering the Catholic seminary and get a Masters from them as well, though this is not a certainty yet.

I was planning on going on for a doctorate, but am now seriously re-thinking this plan. I love learning and love academia, but it is very difficult to balance family (with a husband with a career that cannot move around the country) with a career that often involves moving about the country to get a doctorate, as well as positions in teaching. Adjunct positions lack intellectual freedom, are also difficult to come by, and often involve moving about. Many of these positions are only for a year, and even tenure track positions are not guaranteed and require tons of schmoozing and 80 hour work weeks. At this point in my life --I am married and would like to eventually adopt kids (we can’t have kids) and don’t think I can be married to the academic life-- I am looking for a much more stable yet somewhat intellectually fulfilling path.

Asking the faculty at the Lutheran seminary is pretty limited, since I don’t want to work in a Lutheran church. Asking the faculty at the Catholic seminary is limited as well, for they are in the sole business of making priests. I am the only female student on the entire campus!

So, please help me: What are my career options with a Masters in theology? I don’t think I have the personality to work with kids, though I am open to the possibility of teaching kids. But what else is there? I don’t want to leave the world of religious studies/faith/catholic studies/spirituality, so going off into some other field is not where I want to go. Ideas? Suggestions?

I have looked on, but would really like a more solid plan than “seeing what is out there”. Any ideas, websites, books, would be greatly appreciated.



Not sure how you define “kids” – if you mean little kids or teens.

Our Youth Minister has a Master’s in Theology. She works with junior and senior high ages. —KCT


I have a master’s in theology and at the moment I’m using it to teach RCIA. I’m basically a well educated volunteer so that’s no help to you.

I would very much like to work full time in a parish, either as a pastoral associate or director of adult faith formation. Unfortunately, those kinds of positions tend not to pay very well. Since I’m not married I can’t rely on my spouse to make up the difference so I’m waiting until I can take early retirement then change careers.

The kinds of things I think you could do with the degree would be to work in a parish (pastoral associate, religious education, adult faith formation), in a retreat house, campus ministry if there’s a college or university nearby. Your diocese may hire people in some of these same kinds of positions on a diocesan level. Religious publishers may have positions but they may not be local.

Best wishes.


Perhaps you might want to consider journalism and/or free lance writing covering the religion beat. There may also be opportunities in publishing as a sales representative, editor, etc. A sales rep I deal with has a MA in philosophy. Check out publishers with a strong religious list. In many areas a master’s is a required or preferred credential but the field is often unimportant. Consider teaching in private/religious elementary or secondary schools. Don’t limit yourself by only considering what can I do with this degree. I suspect you can think, write well and do research. These are skills sought after by many employers in many areas. I speak so with confidence having seen many many students succeed in diverse careers without working directly in the areas their degrees are in. Does your school have a good placement office? Have you checked what other graduates of your institution do? You might want to network with other alums from your school. Think broadly and really take a good inventory of your skills. I suspect you will do fine.


My husband has a masters in Theology and he’s working as a carpenter because the pay for Theology jobs is horrible.Many of Catholic schools will not take you to teach HS Theology unless

1)You’ve got extensive background in teaching and/or you have a teaching certificate as well.

  1. You have a MA in Theology with Catechists concentration

What is your undergrad in? My husband had looked in Bioethics program before, but yet again the pay on that is dicey if you don’t have a JD or MD.

I’d go to and see if there are any positions that interest you. I’d also suggest looking at taking a few grant writing classes, and see if the development offices at any Catholic college or archdiocese is hiring as well.


My husband has a MA in Philosophy, which is similar to, but not the same as, having a MA in Theology.

What he did: He is a profesisonal adjunct and trainer. He actually makes more than most philosophers. He took a few business courses, esp. one or two in entrepeneurism. He broke what philosophers know and do down into segments. He then looked to see where those segments could be applied in other fields, in other businesses, etc. he then markets himself, either as an instructor or profesor to colleges and universities, or as a trainer to business enterprises.

It helps to live in an area where there are a lot of universities, colleges, and big businesses.


somewhat puzzled by the question, the usual academic or career path is to identify the career or calling and then pursue the educational requirements to enter the career. It is also usual to talk to others who have chosen the same academic program, teachers, counsellors, recent grads, and fellow students, about specific career discernment.

MT is the basic requirement for Director of Religious Education, Youth Minister or similar jobs for Catholic parishes, dioceses and youth organizations. It is also the entry level degree for teaching religion and theology at Catholic high schools and colleges, sometimes is a pre-req for canon law or other higher degrees.

What did you envision when you embarked on this study? what drew you to this field? how do you imagine yourself on the job in say 5 or 10 years? where are you working? who with? what are you doing? who are you influencing? who are your superiors? what is your salary and general style of living? These are the kinds of questions Ignatius and more modern spiritual directors suggest in discerning a vocation or career.

for practical advice ask those at your school in the theolgy dept. as well as the placement dept. do some web research on possible careers such as salary surveys. go on the bishops website for publications regarding careers in service of the church, including standards and requirements.

for spirituality of discerning a career or vocation, try a classic Ignatian retreat based on the Spiritual Exercises.


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