Youth Minister: Job Description & Career Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a youth minister. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and experience required to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

A youth minister coordinates time with children and teens for the purposes of worship, education, volunteer work and community outreach. Additionally, they may lead and serve within various church programs and activities, such as children's care or Bible study classes. Youth ministers are usually required to earn a bachelor's degree. An internship or volunteer work may be necessary. Public speaking and communication skills are also needed.

Required Education Bachelor's degree usually required
Other Requirements Internship or volunteer work experience may be necessary; communications and public speaking skills are needed
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 8%
Median Salary (2014)** $34,481 annually

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com'

Job Description

In addition to working within their church, youth ministers may travel to other communities or countries for mission trips. These trips are usually for the purposes of teaching the youth of the congregation to help others in need and to spread the message of the church. A youth minister could be employed by his or her church, school or non-profit religious organization, but might also offer services on a volunteer basis.

Career Outlook for Youth Ministry

According to the BLS, positions for directors of religious activities and education, including youth ministers, were expected to experience an increase of 8% from 2012-2022. In September 2014, PayScale.com reported that most youth ministers earned $16,562-$48,305 per year, with a median annual salary of $34,481. Additionally, the majority of those who worked in a youth pastor position had a salary range of $17,943-$49,367. In 2013, the BLS revealed an annual median salary for directors of religious activities and education of $38,160.

Job Requirements for a Career in Youth Ministry

Education Required

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), church ministry leaders and directors, including youth ministers, usually have a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). Though a specific major isn't typically required, several Bible colleges and private schools offer leadership programs with concentrations in youth ministry. Common coursework includes religious studies, child psychology, family studies and communication.

Youth ministry programs often have internship requirements that offer experience under the direction of a pastor or youth minister. Students who enroll in programs without these opportunities can usually volunteer within a church's youth program as a youth group leader, children's choir assistant or daycare provider.

Skills Required

In addition to church doctrine, scriptural teachings and the history and culture of a particular denomination, a successful youth minister should be familiar with youth culture. Keeping current with the trends and issues important to children and teens allows youth ministers to counsel youth in a language that they understand and respect. Leading by example, a youth minister should be devoted and self-disciplined. Youth ministry might also require skills in public speaking and communications.

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  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Indiana Wesleyan University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
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        • Biblical Studies
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        • Religious Music Studies
        • Youth Ministry
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    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
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    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
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      • Religious Studies
        • Theology and Religious Vocations
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
      • Theological, Religious, and Ministerial Studies

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