The Average Salary of a Catholic Priest

If you're looking for a career that provides an opportunity to stack up worldly wealth, any job in the clergy probably isn't your best option. If you've heard the call, however, you may be curious about your ability to support yourself should you become a Catholic priest, as you're bound to have expenses like any member of the laity. Before you dedicate your life to the church, investigate the financial impact of your decision.

Average Salary
As of Nov. 5, 2010, the average salary of a Catholic priest for advertised openings in the United States was $40,000, according to Simply Hired. Yearly compensation from area to area varies widely, however, swaying as wide as $29,211 in Phoenix to $44,566 in Miami during 2010, according to Salary Expert. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook notes that a priest's take-home cash earnings may be significantly less--less than $20,000.

Other Earnings
The Occupational Outlook Handbook notes that a Roman Catholic Priests' compensation package offers a lot more than cash compensation. Housing in a rectory, a stipend for a vehicle and food and health care are frequently provided by the church, helping raise a priest's bottom-line compensation to levels more in line with salaries reported by salary-watching agencies.

Education
To become ordained as a Catholic priest, a man must obtain a significant level of education. A four-year college degree is required, which is then followed by a four-year period of study in seminaries following graduation from college. Although men must pay their way through college, the church provides scholarships and grants so that none are turned away from attending seminaries because of financial need.

Career Outlook
A declining number of men entering seminary and becoming ordained has increased the demand for priests, and a continued shortage of ordained priests is expected to continue, making employment opportunities for ordained Catholic priests abundant.

Variables
The amount of money a Catholic priest brings home at the end of the month varies widely by the size of his parish, the community in which he lives and the cost of living in his part of the country. Because of this, you should investigate local opportunities for a more accurate estimate of a priest's earning power in your area.