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The Average Senior Pastor Salary

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

A senior pastor is an ordained Christian clergyman who is responsible for a church parish. Reporting to the church council, the pastor performs religious services, provides a community presence for the church, administers financial and management aspects of the parish (such as outreach programs), ensures that church property is maintained and supervises other members of the church staff. His salary will be dependent upon several variable circumstances.

Average Salary

Figures published in January 2011 by the wage comparison website PayScale placed the average annual salary for a senior pastor working in the United States at between $38,182 and $67,181, including bonuses or profit sharing he may be able to earn. This equates to a monthly income of between $3,182 and $5,598.

Salary by Experience

PayScale showed how experience can significantly affect a senior pastor's salary expectations. Pastors with one to four years of experience could expect a salary range of $29,749 to $51,696. Accruing 10 to 19 years in the vocation resulted in a salary between $37,814 and $65,278. Individual pastors who had gained 20 years or more experience were rewarded with a wage of between $42,469 and $74,612.

Salary by Location

PayScale showed how senior pastor salary levels can vary across geographical location. It listed California as offering the highest pay levels -- $47,875 to $81,502 -- followed by Florida offering between $40,383 to $72,955. Of the states analyzed, North Carolina had the lowest average wage levels coming in between $31,002 to $60,591.

Salary by Employer

Senior pastors are not only employed by church parishes, although the majority are. There are employment position with other types of employers which offer varying wage levels. PayScale classifies church parishes under non-profit organizations and listed the average salary for this employment type as $37,104 to $66,318. Positions in a school or a school district offered a range of $17,100 to $57,500, while senior pastors employed by the state or local government agencies received an average of $44,500 to $89,000.