From the U.S. Department of Labor . . . Becoming A Priest

Job Outlook: The shortage of Roman Catholic priests is expected to continue, resulting in a very favorable job outlook through the year 2012. Many priests will be needed in the years ahead to provide for the spiritual, educational, and social needs of the increasing number of Catholics. In recent years, the number of ordained priests has been insufficient to fill the needs of newly established parishes and other Catholic institutions and to replace priests who retire, die, or leave the priesthood. This situation is likely to continue, as seminary enrollments remain below the levels needed to overcome the current shortfall of priests.

Earnings: Salaries of diocesan priests vary from diocese to diocese. According to a biennial survey of the National Federation of Priests’ Council, low-end salaries averaged $15,291 per year in 2002; high-end salaries averaged $18,478 per year. In addition to a salary, diocesan priests receive a package of benefits that may include a car allowance, room and board in the parish rectory, health insurance, and a retirement plan.

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