The M. Div., or Master of Divinity degree, is an academic requirement for individuals interested in the active practice of the pastoral profession. It is considered a professional degree and enables the earner to become ordained to the clergy. Yet, many people are unaware of the fact that a master’s degree in Divinity can also open doors to other exciting professions.
Why study Divinity?
Divinity often appeals to prospective students who share some of the following traits:
a) the desire to work with people, or in groups
b) a talent for initiating activities and programs
c) a call to help or motivate people
d) the mission to make a difference in the world
Although these traits may be similar to those required from other careers, the M. Div puts you at the center of all of these activities. You would be in charge of a group of people who are ready to hear your ideas, and who are willing to embark with you in meaningful tasks and events that could make a difference in people’s lives.
What other jobs can I get with an M. Div aside from being a pastor?
Keep in mind that a master’s degree opens the door to many potential job opportunities. However, the M. Div denotes that you are educated in a multidisciplinary area of study that combines history, culture, language, and theology. This makes you a good candidate for jobs in those areas, especially if you add another field of study to your degree.
Combining your master’s degree with another field
More job opportunities can appear if you combine a Masters of Divinity with areas such as psychology, history, counseling, social work, and teaching. These jobs get a deeper dimension with an M. Div that can set you aside from peers in the same field.
Whether you decide to combine degrees or not, here are some of the careers that you could aspire to once you earn your degree:
You can start your own ministry with the added benefit of your training in Divinity. Ministries are customized depending on who you want your target audience to be: men, females, mothers, recovering alcoholics, even pet lovers. A ministry does not have to be entirely based on religion. They can serve as a social service that people can use to get together and share common views. You would serve as their primary adviser and motivator. You can earn money from grants, donations, or special funding requested on behalf of those you will be helping. Also, you can create more than one type of ministry, which can expand your skills and experience working with different types of populations.
Ordained ministers with a Masters of Divinity can apply for a direct commission through the armed forces. This would allow you to enter the military directly as a commissioned officer, starting as a first lieutenant and then progressing on. Military pay and benefits for commissioned officers are quite competitive, and you would be working hand in hand with those who defend our nation, as well as with their families. Prisons, jails, and certain large organization also use chaplains to officiate ceremonies, as peer mediators, or as additional support for the morale and welfare of the company.
If you add a counseling license to your Divinity degree you can open your services to a broader group of people who may find you more trustworthy and dependable thanks to your background in theology and faith. Adding the spiritual dimension to a counseling program can reach people who deeply need a new perspective in life. This includes chronically ill patients, grief and loss sufferers, people who are undergoing big changes, or people who are depressed and need something more than plain psychoanalysis.
Since a master’s degree lets you teach at a college level, you can use the different areas within your training to find fitting teaching jobs ranging from history, theology, creative writing, and even English as a Second Language (ESL) for students who need exposure to the English language. You could lead writing teams as well as research teams that can maximize your experience working with groups as a leader.
The federal, as well as state governments, have family and community agencies that are created for the purpose of providing advisory services, counseling, and educational services to those who need it. There are also services for victims of abuse, and other opportunities for mentoring. These agency jobs often come with health benefit packages and step-based salaries, which means that your pay increases throughout your time in service. Look up governmental and federal agencies that work directly with families, youth, and career services to learn more about their work opportunities and requirements.
Groups such as the Toastmasters are made of people from a diversity of professional and educational backgrounds. Their jobs are to spread strong and meaningful messages through the art of public speaking. A degree in Divinity lets you combine your knowledge of faith and theology to create speeches that can inspire others. As a member of one of these public speaking groups you can be hired as a guest speaker for corporations and non-profit organizations. It is a great opportunity to let your knowledge show, and to make a difference in someone’s life.
There are hundreds of travel abroad programs designed to enrich the learning experiences of middle school, high school, and college students through exposure to new cultures and countries. A master’s degree in Divinity gives you the opportunity to become educated in plenty of cultural and historical topics. You will learn about multicultural aspects of theology, such as Greek influences, Latin and Jewish documents, World History, and research methodology. This would make you a prime candidate for mentoring in travel abroad programs. Travel abroad opportunities are open year-round. There is funding available for chaperons as well as resources to raise funds for trips and spending money.
A master’s in Divinity gives you plenty of opportunities to research on the many interesting topics that arise as part of your studies. Documenting your learning can result in writing for journals, or starting your own writing venture to become a published author. This will open a lot of doors for you as a professional, since published scholars are always held in high regard in the academic arena. You may find your niche in the writing community and enjoy conducting investigations in your area of interest. In turn, you can write grants for you funding sources or find employment at a college setting as an investigator or assistant to an investigator in your area.