Finding A Career That Fits Your Faith
Finding the right career for you is all about discovering the position and the form of work that best fits both your skills and your fundamental principles, if possible. The best educators are those who care about children and the quality of education. The best nurses are those who believe in providing the best quality of care for their patients, and so on. What if your faith is a fundamental part of who you are? Is there a career that can make good use of that fundamental part of who you are? Believe it or not, there are several.
No matter your age or sex, you are likely to be able to find a role as a minister if you really want to. The ordination of women, for instance, has become a lot more prevalent in recent years. Running a ministry effectively means spreading the word of your religion to your community and carrying out all manner of spiritual rites. However, ministers also play a very strong role in their community, usually, often acting as an advisor, guide, mentor, and community organizer, with the nature of the job often changing to fit the environment around it.
Pastoral social work
People who have a religious background often work very well as social workers. Those who tend to embody the traits of charity, understanding, and patience that their religion teaches can be of great aid to those with who they work. There are many different kinds of social working positions. Many of them involve working with state organizations targeting vulnerable families. However, ministries and other local religious organizations may also hire those with social working credentials. Often it involves working as a minister, pastor, or other kinds of religious leaders, but further training to provide therapy services to the member of the ministry or parish. This can involve direct one-to-one counseling as well as creating training programs to help with specific problems affecting the community like drug addiction.
Even if you’re not working in a backdrop that is consistent with your religious training, that doesn’t mean that your faith can’t be an important part of the social work that you do. For instance, many people with strong faith will become youth workers. This involves working with young people with a range of needs, offering guidance and advice to help them meet personal and social goals, and helping address educational needs. Youth workers tend to work in all sorts of environments, including ministries and other faith-based groups, but also schools and youth centers.
Religious studies and theology is a fundamental part of many education systems and school curriculums, while others tend to offer them more as an elective or an optional major and point of focus. A degree in one of the religious majors can teach all manner of things, including the philosophy behind theology, the process of how doctrine is determined in churches, not to mention religious history. As such, while a religious degree can definitely be of major benefit to those who want to teach religion, it also teaches the kind of critical thinking and research skills that are very valuable in any form of education career. It’s not uncommon for religious studies teachers to also be history teachers in the same school, after all.
Continuing in academia
While many academics work in education, often going on to work in colleges and universities after earning their degrees and having the appropriate training, this is not the only place that you can continue your academic work if that is what you enjoyed most about studying religion. Some of the alternate routes in academia can involve things like working with non-profits and organizations that can offer money for research in specific fields. There are several religious organizations and institutions that are always trying to push the field of religious academia to better understand the history of and the societal impact of their religion. This is a niche field of study, so there is always something of a demand for new hands, as well.
Working in the legal world
It may be a surprise but a lot of people who spend their younger years studying religion can then tend to go on to find careers in the legal world, be it as a paralegal, attorney, legal secretary, or otherwise. There is a strong argument to be made for the basis that a career in law has to be founded on a strong sense of ethics that then applies to your understanding of the law. However, the path of religious studies and theology also typically involves developing very strong research, communication, and critical thinking skills, all of which tend to be useful for those working in the law or advocating for changes to the law.
Working in politics
It might sound like the furthest thing away from your mind, but the truth is that there are plenty of people who work in politics who start off with a strong background in religion. The reasons are much the same for why someone with a religious background may find themselves working in legal positions years down the line. The critical thinking and communication skills that religious training builds can be excellent for standing out as a political figure. The spiritual courage that it takes to advocate for what your faith leads you to believe in can also be very useful in advocating for systemic and policy change. It should be noted that not everyone who gets into politics has to have their policy ideas dictated by the doctrines of their religion, but it often serves as a fundamental ethos from which those political ideas can grow.
Working in health care
Many religious denominations put a lot of priority on offering help to the needy, which can include the sick and the hurt. As such, many who work in health care careers such as nursing can find that a spiritual foundation to their belief system can help them find their purpose at work much more easily. What’s more, studying religious studies leads to developing traits such as patience, attention to detail, and excellent communication skills, all of which can be a perfect fit with a career in health care. Of course, you will need relevant training to work in the fields of health care that you want, such as a nursing degree, but providing care on the front line to those who need it can definitely be a way of feeling like you are fulfilling your moral duty to your fellow man as your faith recommends.
Working in nonprofits
If you are motivated by your faith, then you may feel compelled to working in a position where you know that your efforts are doing some good in the world. Though nonprofits do not make money that isn’t spent on increasing the operations of the nonprofit, that doesn’t mean that working in them is not a paying job. Look at nonprofit job opportunities around you and you are sure to find that there are organizations that take on causes that also fit with your religious convictions, being it helping the poor, the sick, or the otherwise needy. It’s more than possible to find yourself in a career dedicated to doing good in the world.
Religion may not be considered as part of your career as often as it should, especially because it’s not legal to hire based on religion for a majority of positions. However, there are still careers whether it can either play the key role or, at the very least, be an important part of your work.