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Career and Education Opportunities for Religious Activities Directors in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for religious activities directors. There are currently 6,930 working religious activities directors in Illinois; this should grow 21% to 8,360 working religious activities directors in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for religious activities directors are expected to grow by about 12.6%. In general, religious activities directors direct and coordinate activities of a denominational group to meet religious needs of students.

A person working as a religious activities director can expect to earn about $17 per hour or $36,110 yearly on average in Illinois and about $17 per hour or $36,100 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Religious activities directors earn more than people working in the category of Religious Services generally in Illinois and more than people in the Religious Services category nationally. Jobs in this field include: associate pastor, student ministries director, and junior high pastor.

There are 180 schools of higher education in the Chicago area, including eight within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree to start your career as a religious activities director. Given that the most common education level for religious activities directors is a Master's degree, you can expect to spend about six years training to become a religious activities director if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years if you have a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Religious Activities Director

Religious Activities Director video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, religious activities directors direct and coordinate activities of a denominational group to meet religious needs of students. They also plan, direct, or coordinate church school programs designed to promote religious education among church membership.

Religious activities directors attend workshops and conferences to obtain program concepts and resources. They also decide on appropriate curricula and class structures for educational programs. Equally important, religious activities directors have to identify and recruit potential volunteer staff. They are often called upon to implement program plans by ordering needed materials and handling other administrative details. They are expected to collaborate with other ministry members to determine goals and objectives for religious education programs, and to evolve ways to foster program participation. Finally, religious activities directors talk with clergy members and congregation organizations to foster support of and participation in religious education efforts.

Every day, religious activities directors are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to speak clearly. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for religious activities directors to analyze member participation and changes in congregation emphasis to establish needs for religious education. They are often called upon to train and supervise religious education instructional staff. They also counsel individuals regarding interpersonal and religious problems. They are sometimes expected to analyze revenue and program cost data to establish budget priorities. Somewhat less frequently, religious activities directors are also expected to formulate and conduct conferences dealing with the interpretation of religious concepts and convictions.

And finally, they sometimes have to visit congregation members' homes, or manage pastoral visits, in order to furnish data and resources regarding religious education programs.

Like many other jobs, religious activities directors must be able to take change and lead and have a strong social orientation.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Child and Family Services Worker. Provide social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families and to maximize the family well-being and the academic functioning of children. May assist single parents, arrange adoptions, and find foster homes for abandoned or abused children. In schools, they address such problems as teenage pregnancy, misbehavior, and truancy. May also advise teachers on how to deal with problem children.
  • Health Education Specialist. Promote, maintain, and improve individual and community health by assisting individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors. Collect and analyze data to identify community needs prior to planning, implementing, and evaluating programs designed to encourage healthy lifestyles, policies and environments. May also serve as a resource to assist individuals, other professionals, or the community, and may administer fiscal resources for health education programs.
  • Minister. Conduct religious worship and perform other spiritual functions associated with beliefs and practices of religious faith or denomination. Provide spiritual and moral guidance and assistance to members.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Religious Activities Director Training

Concordia University - River Forest, IL

Concordia University, 7400 Augusta, River Forest, IL 60305-1499. Concordia University is a small university located in River Forest, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,185 students and an admission rate of 58%. Concordia University has a master's degree program in Religious Education.

Trinity International University - Deerfield, IL

Trinity International University, 2065 Half Day Rd, Deerfield, IL 60015-1283. Trinity International University is a small university located in Deerfield, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,654 students and an admission rate of 63%. Trinity International University has 3 areas of study related to Religious Activities Director. They are:

  • Bible/Biblical Studies, bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, and master's degree which graduated one, zero, and twelve students respectively in 2008.
  • Missions/Missionary Studies and Missiology, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated fourteen and ten students respectively in 2008.
  • Religious Education, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated one, zero, and six students respectively in 2008.

Catholic Theological Union at Chicago - Chicago, IL

Catholic Theological Union at Chicago, 5416 S Cornell Ave, Chicago, IL 60615-5698. Catholic Theological Union at Chicago is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 481 students. Catholic Theological Union at Chicago has 2 areas of study related to Religious Activities Director. They are:

  • Bible/Biblical Studies, postbaccalaureate certificate which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Missions/Missionary Studies and Missiology, postbaccalaureate certificate which graduated 1 student in 2008.

North Park University - Chicago, IL

North Park University, 3225 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60625-4895. North Park University is a small university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,255 students and an admission rate of 30%. North Park University has 3 areas of study related to Religious Activities Director. They are:

  • Bible/Biblical Studies, bachelor's degree.
  • Religious Education, bachelor's degree and master's degree.
  • Youth Ministry, bachelor's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.

Christian Life College - Mount Prospect, IL

Christian Life College, 400 E Gregory St, Mount Prospect, IL 60056-2522. Christian Life College is a small college located in Mount Prospect, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 45 students and an admission rate of 67%. Christian Life College has 4 areas of study related to Religious Activities Director. They are:

  • Bible/Biblical Studies, associate's degree.
  • Missions/Missionary Studies and Missiology, associate's degree.
  • Religious Education, associate's degree and bachelor's degree.
  • Youth Ministry, associate's degree.

Wheaton College - Wheaton, IL

Wheaton College, 501 College Ave, Wheaton, IL 60187-5593. Wheaton College is a small college located in Wheaton, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,915 students and an admission rate of 62%. Wheaton College has 3 areas of study related to Religious Activities Director. They are:

  • Bible/Biblical Studies, bachelor's degree and postbaccalaureate certificate which graduated eighteen and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Missions/Missionary Studies and Missiology, postbaccalaureate certificate and master's degree.
  • Religious Education, bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, and master's degree which graduated one, two, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary - Evanston, IL

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, 2121 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60201-3298. Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is a small school located in Evanston, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 362 students. Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has a master's degree program in Religious Education which graduated three students in 2008.

Loyola University Chicago - Chicago, IL

Loyola University Chicago, 820 N. Michigan, Chicago, IL 60611-9810. Loyola University Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 15,670 students and an admission rate of 74%. Loyola University Chicago has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Religious Education which graduated one and zero students respectively in 2008.

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LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.