Though no one can guarantee a job, the market for trained youth and family workers is very strong and will be for a long time to come. Churches have realized that the only thing worse than not having a youth or family pastor is to have one that doesn't know what he or she is doing.
Youth & Family Studies students seek and find employment in a broad variety of youth or family ministry settings:
- Church Youth Ministry
High School Youth Ministry
Middle School Youth Ministry
- Church Young Adult Ministry
- Para-church Youth Ministry (Young Life-YL, Youth for Christ-YFC, Young Lives, Fellowship of Christian Athletes-FCA, Child Evangelism Fellowship-CEF, Teen Mops, etc.)
- Urban Youth Ministry (Center for Student Missions, Rescue Missions, etc.)
- Para-church Young Adult Ministry (Campus Crusade for Christ, Intervarsity, Navigators, Disciple Makers, Athletes in Action, etc.)
- Family Ministry (in the church and in organizations like Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, etc.)
- Youth Missions (overseas youth ministry- YWAM, AIM, many others)
- Youth Work Overseas (in the U.K. there are many varying types of government youth work positions needed; Peace Corps, etc.)
- Military Chaplaincy and various other chaplaincy options
- Agency Counselors or Directors (Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries, etc.)
- Youth Work in the U.S. (YMCA, Big Brothers-Big Sisters, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, etc.)
- At Risk Youth (Group Homes, Juvenile Detention Programs, Wilderness Adventure, etc.)
- Camping & Recreation (Camps and Many Recreation Programs)
- Graduate School (Divinity, Child & Family, Marriage & Family, Counseling)
Job and Salary Realities- Graduate earnings within the Field
Dr. Len Kageler's research provides a sense of what graduating youth and family ministry students can expect to make financially. Of course, cost of living expenses vary widely around the country. In the New York City metro area (CT, NY, NJ) the cost of living is very high, so salaries are higher as well. A survey of Nyack YFS graduates in the Fall of 2009 indicated that most graduates' starting salaries were between $32,000 and $39,000 -about the same as starting teachers. Most Youth Pastors also receive other benefits (i.e. one could add about $14,000 each for the value of church-paid health insurance plans, etc). In that same survey, graduates in the NJ, CT, and NY city metro area, from the class of 2007, reported salaries as follows: 43,000, 45,000, 65,000, 65,000, 65,000, 70,000, and 100,000. Nationally, the average salary (2008) for a youth pastor was $42,200 (plus benefits) with an undergrad degree, and $49,300 with a Master’s degree. It is obvious that churches are seeing youth ministry as a legitimate, long-term career calling and option. [Research from 2011-2012]
The wealthiest people in America (top 1%) were recently surveyed to see what undergraduate college majors most of them chose for study. Seven majors were most frequently identified. Right beside “Economics” and “Finance” was the 5th most common major- “religious” studies. “In studying specific faiths…students gain knowledge about the nature of religion in general and its role in the life of individuals and societies.” We do not want students to study within the College of Bible and Christian Ministry, in Youth & Family Studies, just to get wealthy and we will not guarantee that would, but the type of education provided in our program helps our students to truly mature individually and socially. [Greg Scott Neuman, (2012), 7 Majors that can put you in the top 1% of Earners; U.S. News University Directory, referring to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey of 2010.]
As of 2/18/13, these jobs were posted on Youthspecialties.com
Church Youth Ministry- 2800
Para-church Youth Ministry- 577
Young Adult Ministry- 522
Family Ministry- 707
Christian Education- 385
Children’s Ministry- 1152
Camping and Youth Ministry- 389
Adventure Ministry- 105
As of 2-27-13 these jobs were posted on indeed.com/jobs and jobs-to-careers.com
Family Services- 3,920 & 6,514; Youth Work- 516 & 647 (just for New York, NY)
We update our YFS job bulletin board every semester with new available positions. Most positions posted come from those who contact us!
LINK: Youth Specialties Job Bank
Visit the site through the link; you can search by job title, by denomination, by region of the country, by specific position desired, and other criteria.
"I'm happy with my salary ($70,000-ish), and of course, I hope that it continues to increase as my experience increases. My package also includes a house to live in, health coverage, retirement, and personal ministry expense reimbursement of $2,000. As for my youth ministry, I have a $9,500 Budget, another $3,000 for ministry transportation rental needs, and $3,500 for a summer intern. Got a good one?"
Alum in N.Y. metro area (’00)
"I am working as a full-time service coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club in Paterson, NJ. It's an exciting opportunity. On my weekends and off hours, I am the worship and outreach leader for New Life Ministries in North Haledon, NJ. As always, though, I'm continuing to do some activism and communicating with people on a few of the Native Reservations out west, and within the next two years may be finally moving out that way. Something is brewing in Colorado, as well as in New Mexico, so I continue to wait on the Lord and pray for direction until the time is right."
Kyle Vandenberg, (’12)