Theologians mostly work in the church or as religion teachers. But there are many other professional fields in which theologians are very popular. Your general education and social skills are in great demand.
The career prospects are good for pastors: many of the clergymen currently in office are about to retire. Photo: Karl-Josef Hildenbrand
For Jonas Kämmerling, his belief in God raised many questions: In order to find answers, he began to study theology. Photo: Maria-Lorena Einfeldt
Few of the theology graduates work in the Church. Many find jobs in journalism or even in management consultancies. Photo: Ingo Wagner
Can i believe in it Jonas Kämmerling's doubts came with puberty. Until then, he had simply participated in everyday Catholic life in his parents' house: going to church, praying together or reading the Bible. From an early age, his parents introduced him to faith in God. As a child, Kämmerling was an altar boy and later a boy scout. For years he has heard beliefs such as the Trinity of God and the virgin birth of Mary. At some point he starts pondering: "Is that even possible?"
"At the time I asked myself: Can you be reasonable and believe that there is a triune God?" The majority of his fellow altar boys turned their backs on the Church as teenagers. Kämmerling stays with it. In order to get to the bottom of his doubts, he begins to study theology after graduating from high school. He is now in his fifth semester in Freiburg.
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More teaching than a full course in theology
Kämmerling is one of around 22,000 high school students in Germany who study Catholic theology. Most (15,328) study to become a teacher, according to the latest figures from the German Bishops' Conference for the winter semester 2010/2011. Significantly fewer (5840) are enrolled in theology as a full course.
The first semesters of theology are very demanding
The first semesters are no picnic with theology as a full course: Hebrew, ancient Greek and Latin are compulsory. Subjects such as biblical studies, canon law and philosophy are also on the schedule. If Kämmerling manages the standard period of study, he will be finished after ten semesters. He then has a master’s degree in hand. This would qualify him for a job as a priest or pastoral consultant.
Theologians don't necessarily become pastors
But chamberlain does not want to. "I would like to go to political advice and work as a speaker on religious issues for foundations or parties," he says. Because he cannot imagine a job in the church. He is not sure whether he is living the correct way of life that is expected. He is also bothered by the imbalance between priests and pastoral officers. Because priests are always superiors.
Many graduates feel like Kämmerling. Only a minority takes the path to the priest. In 2011 there were only 912 candidates in the seminary. So what do the rest of them do with a degree in Catholic theology?
Career prospects of Catholic theologians
"Graduates are in demand in journalism, for example," says Patrick Becker, who has written a book on career prospects for theologians. Because theologians are experts in matters of church and religion. The media reported regularly on both of these and needed experts for them.
"Many also find employment in the education sector," says Becker. Graduates teach at adult education centers or academies for adult education, for example. Here theologians have an advantage over other humanities scholars: many of these institutions are run by the church. They preferred to hire graduates from theology.
Management consultancies also take theologians
After all, theologians worked in social work, in publishing, or in public relations. They are even welcomed in companies and management consultancies: “Theologians are trained in psychology. They are said to have great social skills. " They are therefore wanted in HR departments.
Protestant theology students are more likely to stay in the church
In Protestant theology, on the other hand, many graduates stay in the church. "There are currently around 6,500 students enrolled in the faculties for teaching," says Joachim Ochel from the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). There are also around 5500 students who only do Protestant theology. Almost half of them are thinking of the parish office, because they have entered the lists of the regional churches as interested parties.
Anyone who wants to do the parish can look forward to excellent career prospects. "Because the Protestant Church has a demographic problem," says Ochel. Many of the pastors currently in office will soon be retiring.
Theology is a very varied course of study
Although Kämmerling cannot imagine a job at the church, he is still very satisfied with his studies. The first few years are tough stuff because it takes a lot of effort to learn the three languages. But afterwards the studies are relatively relaxed. And the effort is worth it. "If you feel like thinking, history and philosophy, theology is the right thing for you," he says.
| Updated: Tuesday, March 2, 2021 1:42 p.m.
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