Beyond Ministry: 25 Rewarding Career Paths with a Masters in Divinity

The Master of Divinity Degree (M.Div.) is the first professional degree for the pastoral profession in North America. For those in the Christian ministry, this degree is the standard prerequisite for ordination to the clergy or other appointment. However, if you cannot find work as a priest or minister, what can you do with that hard-earned degree? The following list provides 25 alternate career paths for those individuals who have earned their M.Div.

Links lead to various articles about each topic, so you can explore each option in depth. Some articles are specific to certain denominations, but they can be applied to other faiths as well.


You entered your degree with a focus on ministry, and the following list provides some ideas on how you can implement your knowledge. Look for these jobs at local religious institutions, denominational boards and institutions that seek chaplains and ministers for their businesses.

  1. Adult Ministry: No matter if it is young adult or seniors, local religious institutions may seek someone who can lead their adult ministries. Double major in counseling could help land this job, as well as volunteer activities and internships.
  2. Church Manager: If you are an organizer, this job might be for you. Be prepared to handle both staff and church members as you coordinate activities and needs. A double major in business might help in this career.
  3. Church Planter: If you are energetic, organized and brave, you might feel the call to develop a new church. This calling is much like mission work with the focus on building a church fellowship.
  4. Disaster Ministries: You may feel called to help people who face dire circumstances because of a natural or man-made disaster. Previous volunteerships would go a long way to learn more about what people need in these situations.
  5. Institutional/Military Chaplain: Institutional chaplains serve in a wide range of specialized settings. In this case, you need to fit the institution’s individual hiring or volunteer standards.
  6. Internet Ministry: Use this link to learn more about how you can reach out to others through a range of Internet options, including social networking and blogs. You’ll need good writing and organizational skills.
  7. Leisure Ministries: Golf courses, cruise ships and state parks may seek your expertise. This is mission work, with an opportunity to create congregations and to expand your church’s work as well.
  8. Metropolitan Ministries: While often considered a volunteer job, many metropolitan ministries seek managers and program directors to help with urban homeless, illiterate and poor.
  9. Minister-Officiant: If you are an entrepreneur, you might think about branching out to serve as a minister for weddings, funerals and other special services.
  10. Missionary Outreach: With a master’s degree, you can seek to manage or direct a missionary service, no matter whether it focuses on evangelism, literacy or social justice and economic development.
  11. Youth Ministry: This task calls for working with teens and students in a wide variety of settings. As with any other ministry, a double major in counseling might help with this choice.

Summer CampReligious or Secular

You may think about the jobs listed below as religious work, but the opportunity to work in the secular side also is open to you. The skills you developed as you earned your degree can open the following career doors…

  1. Administrator: The link chosen is for a business administrator, but you might think about educational administration or choose to work for law or the government. Church administrators also are needed in a wide variety of settings.
  2. Advocacy: No matter your beliefs, you may want to use your knowledge to help advance the needs of certain individuals or groups in a public policy role.
  3. Camp Administrator: This career spans youth to seniors, and can lead to experience in human resources, nutrition and health care, food service, facility and business management.
  4. Community Development: This is a secular or religious role that leads to engaging community members in learning about and understanding community issues in all areas.
  5. Counseling: Your degree, along with a possible double major in counseling, can open your career options to a wider venue in helping others.
  6. Crisis Services: If you feel the call to help others, you might consider a career in crisis intervention or management. This service calls for help in areas such as emotional, mental, physical, and behavioral distress or problems.
  7. Family Life Center Management: This career is all about helping families with change, as in death, marriage, divorce, adoption and more. This career calls for counseling skills and psychological knowledge.
  8. Financial Counseling: If you have a head for finances, you can help others with their financial management, no matter whether you are placed in a religious or secular position.
  9. Program Director: Your master’s degree may have provided you with skills in organization, research and planning. If so, then you may be cut out to work in program management in a wide variety of settings.
  10. Public Relations: In this role, you become an advocate for your employer, or you can develop an independent business with several clients.
  11. Research: If you like the musty smell of archives and the quiet that a library offers, you can offer your educational skills as a researcher.
  12. Teaching: A master’s degree student can teach grades K-12 and in some vocational schools. This experience can lead to counseling and administration or management positions.
  13. Vocational Training: Your M. Div. provides you with the skills to offer others information about what you know. Additionally, in the secular world, you can teach at trade or vocational schools.
  14. Writing: Master degree programs often encourage students to think critically and write extensively on those observations. Students can translate these analytical and communication skills into a journalism or writing career.

Best Masters of Divinity & Other Religion Degrees

The Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree involves the study of Christian theology. This degree is the first professional degree of the pastoral profession in the United States. Holders of this degree are typically prepared for pastorship, priesthood, or professional ministry. Studies include Scripture studies, pastoral theology, Hebrew, liturgical studies, canon law, philosophy, and more. Below is a list of the most popular online colleges offering an M.Div. or related degree.

Click here to learn about more divinity degrees

Looking for an M.Div. degree?

Use the degree finder below, and we'll help you find a Master of Divinity program.