theology career options

March 15, 2016, by Carla

What Can You Do With a Theology Degree?

By Mike Walker, student blogger

When I tell people I’m studying for a theology degree, I normally get one of two responses: “What is theology?” or “Does that mean you want to be a vicar/priest/*insert-church-related-job-here*?”

After being asked the second question for what can seem like the thousandth time, I usually die a little inside and let out a groan. Believe it or not, three years with your head stuck in the Bible, grappling with religion and philosophy, can get you to more places than into a dog collar.

Earlier this term, I had the opportunity to find out just where theology can take you, from three lovely people who’ve been there, finished their degree, and got the T-shirt to prove it. Enter Tim, Christy and Dan who answered the question “What can you do with a theology degree?”

Get onto a graduate scheme

The telecommunications industry is the last place I’d expect to go as a theology student, but Dan is proof that it is possible to get anywhere with a humanities degree.

Having graduated in 2013, he didn’t know what to do after university. He applied for several jobs and graduate schemes – over thirty – and eventually got a place on the O2 graduate scheme.

Since starting two years ago, he’s helped open two new stores in sixth months, had experience in retail, and been trained in company governance. So, how did someone with a joint honours in philosophy and theology end up on a high profile scheme at an well-known phone company?

In addition to the transferable skills he developed during his degree, it was taking part in extra-curricular activities that really helped him stand out. Joining societies, such as the debating club, added weight to his application. It also prepared him for high pressure situations – if you can handle a university debate, you can handle an assessment centre.

This isn’t just true for theology students, as a humanities graduate, getting experience from activities outside our course can be as important as getting a first-class or upper second-class degree.

Take up teaching

Christy chose theology with the ambition of becoming an RE teacher. Interestingly, when she applied for her teaching role at Bluecoat Academy, she was up against another theology graduate who had a first-class BA and a masters. Christy, in comparison, had graduated with an upper-second class.

She got the job – and not just because of her degree. Instead of a masters, Christy applied for the two year Teach Direct course, which not only provided her with a PGCE qualification, but also gave her a lot of practical experience. She showed that it’s important to research different postgraduate options, as a masters might not be the golden ticket to your dream career.

Christy also said that the Ancient Greek she learned while studying theology really impresses her year 12 and 13 students – so your biblical language skills may come in handy yet.

Find your vocation

The final speaker, Dan, now works for Beeston Free Church. He’s been involved in a myriad of roles in his time at the church, including working with youths and students as well as pastoral activities and preaching.

For him, one of the key skills he learned as a theology student was how to analyse texts in a critical and engaged manner. Reading the Bible in its historical and social context is something that continues to aid Dan is his work, especially in teaching and preaching. These skills are invaluable in all types of careers, whether that’s in a church like Dan or in the commercial environment.

Are you studying for a degree in theology and would like to explore your options? Deciding on a career can be a difficult task, no matter what your degree. For help making the right choice for you, book an  appointment with one of career advisers today. 

Top Image Credit: Leslie Bliss

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