Religious Workers: Salary Overview
Religious workers are usually employed by religious organizations where they perform a variety of tasks that vary depending on their position in the organization.
Some are religious leaders, others are social workers, teachers, nurses, counselors, or lay employees.
Not all people who work in a church are paid- some are volunteers.
On this page, we will provide information about the religious workers who are paid employees.
Depending on the place of employment and their job title their responsibilities may include overseeing sacred activities, nurturing the congregation, and working with community leaders on fundraising events.
Although many of the tasks are common to all confessions some responsibilities differ depending on their religion.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for clergy members was $55,400 as of May 2019 but salaries vary between less than $26,000 and more than $87,000 a year.
BLS reports that the median annual wage for religious workers (all other) was $29,820 per year, as of May 2018 which means that half of the workers in this profession earned less than this amount while half earned more.
Salaries vary depending on a variety of factors, including education, the level of experience, the employer, and the job description.
The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,400 while the top 10 percent made more than $58,320 per year.
Religious Worker Salary by Industry
Most clergy workers are employed by religious organizations and were paid as of May 2019, on average with $53,260 per year.
General medical and surgical hospitals also hired clergy members and paid them, on average, with $55,840 per year.
The mean annual wage was $58,070 for clergy who worked in the field of home health care services and $58,090 for those employed by nursing care facilities.
The average annual wage reported by religious leaders who worked for elementary and secondary schools was $51,600.
The highest-paying industry for clergy workers was the federal executive branch- a field where the reported average wage for this profession was $77,040.
The biggest employer for other religious workers were religious organizations.
The average annual wage for those who worked in this sector was $34,930.
Religious workers employed by elementary and secondary schools made, on average, $30,280 a year while those who worked for colleges, universities, and professional schools earned $34,810.
The average annual wage was $47,620 for religious workers employed in the field of home health care services and $49,910 for those who worked by general medical and surgical hospitals.
The highest average annual wage was reported by religious workers employed by continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities for the elderly.
Salaries for religious workers also vary based on other factors, such as experience and confession.
According to a Lifeway 2018 report cited by reachrightstudios.com, the average annual compensation reported by pastors who had less than 5 years of experience was $53,784.
Pastors who had between 6-10 years of experience reported an average annual wage of $59,550 while those with 11-15 years of experience earned, on average, $62,901 per year.
Those with 16-20 years of experience earned, on average $66,441 a year as of May 2018.
The highest average annual wage was reported by pastors who had between 21-30 years of experience.
They reportedly earned around $70,380 a year.
Pastors who have more than 31 years of experience earned, on average, $66,698 per year.
According to the Lifeway report, pastors can make between $1,300 and more than $459,000 a year.
Salaries for pastors vary widely depending on a variety of other factors, including how many hours they work, the size of their congregation, certifications, additional skills, and many more.
The location of the church is also important in determining a pastor’s salary.
Pastors in rural areas, for example, may earn less than pastors in big cities.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Religious Workers. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.