Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Still thinking about a career in theological studies?

With the doomsayers predicting that that next bubble to burst will be education, there has been a lot of navel gazing going on. Surveys are being published about graduation rates, student debt level, etc and etc.

In my opinion all of this is good. It never hurts for anyone to conduct a serious examination of the facts as a way to help bring needed adjustments and corrections.

Along these lines, a recent study was released by salary.com in which they identify 8 college degrees with the worst investment return. As you have probably already guessed, religious/theological studies didn't rate so well.

What's more expensive than going to college? Until recently, the answer was easy: not going to college. Numerous studies over the years have shown that individuals with college degrees significantly out-earn those with high school degrees by $1 million or more over the course of a lifetime.
But as the cost of education increases faster than inflation and the economy remains relatively weak, people are beginning to question how they spend their education dollars. As student loans hit the $1 trillion mark and more and more graduates are faced with years of paying staggering monthly payments, many are starting to ask themselves, "Is it worth it?"
While there's no doubt that a college degree increases earning power and broadens opportunities, today's high cost of education means it makes sense to more carefully consider which degree you earn. When it comes to return on investment (ROI), not all degrees are considered equal. This article exposes eight college degrees with poor ROI.

Religious Studies/Theology
Talk about finding your calling. While devoting your life to the church and dedicating your life to the service of others is laudable, it's not going to leave you with a lot of profit after you earn your degree. Here are three commonly held jobs theological jobs:

RELIGIOUS EDUCATOR Median Salary: $47,95730-Year Earnings: $2,828,502
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 75%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 22%
CHAPLAIN -- HEALTHCARE Median Salary: $51,12730-Year Earnings: $3,015,174
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 80%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 24%
ASSOCIATE PASTOR Median Salary: $61,81130-Year Earnings: $3,645,610
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 96%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 29%

Read the article here.

This is certainly not encouraging, but I think many will also note that we didn't go into this filed for the money. Don't get me wrong. Money is nice if not a necessary evil. I never imagined I was going to get rich in this field. But if you are thinking about a career that requires a degree in religion/theology you should be aware that the returns are not all that great. Perhaps this survey can serve as a good reminder to us all that piling up debt to rush through a degree in this field is not necessarily the best way to go about fulfilling your call.

1 comment:

  1. One of the things that I am completely befuddled by is that the money is out there, it's just not spent on education. Over 4 billion dollars were spent this year on campaign donations. 4 billion! How much money do churches spend on building campaigns each year? I recently read an article that described 8 tuition free schools (e.g., Barea College, which seems to be a top-notch school). Where are the tuition free seminaries or theological schools? Why aren't Christians donating to schools to make sure that their future teachers, preacher, pastors, and chaplains can make it through school effectively without being crushed by debt once they graduate? Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of good causes that deserve donations (e.g., hunger, anti-trafficking efforts, shelters, etc.), but it seems so counter-gospel to advise people in seminaries to take out loans! In line with your words...if you can't pay for it, you might want to reconsider if it's your calling or not.