The Presbyterian Church of America, or PCA, serves as one of the largest Presbyterian-church organizations in the U.S. The PCA counts more than 1,500 congregations among its followers. While more than 75 percent of these churches are in the southeastern U.S., the Atlanta-based PCA also oversees congregations as far away as California. Those called to service with the PCA often start as assistant pastors, where they support senior pastors and members of the church.
National Salary Figures
In a 2007 member survey, the PCA found that the total annual compensation for assistant pastors amounts to $68,300 on average. This includes a mean salary of $38,400, a housing allowance of $16,600 and benefits amounting to $13,300.
In PCA churches with fewer than 100 members, the average assistant pastor earns a total of $68,000. This includes a salary of $35,700, $18,800 for housing and $13,500 in other benefits.
Associate Pastor Salaries
Larger PCA churches may require the service of an associate pastor, in addition to a senior pastor and any assistants. Associate pastors assist the senior staff, and may head smaller divisions like youth services. According to a 2007 PCA member survey, associates earn an average of $80,300, which includes a $42,300 salary, $22,300 for housing and $15,700 in benefits.
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In churches with fewer than 200 members, PCA associates earn $66,300. This reflects a base salary of $35,000, plus $19,000 for housing and $12,300 in benefits.
Over time, assistant and associate staff may advance to senior-pastor positions. As a senior pastor, PCA staff earn an average of $85,500 based on a 2007 salary survey. This includes a $44,750 salary, $23,900 for housing and $16,900 in additional benefits.
Senior staff in churches with fewer than 100 members earn an average of $67,400 per year, which includes a base wage of $34,900.
Salaries in Other Churches
A 2007 survey by Christianity International Today found that Presbyterian senior pastors earn more than those of other faiths, but earn the least when it comes to youth-ministry positions. While senior pastors at Presbyterian churches report average annual compensation of $78,000, those at Baptist churches earn $67,000.
Senior pastors of Baptist youth programs earn an average of $44,000, while those in charge of Presbyterian youth programs earn $36,000.
Female religious leaders earn about 10 percent more than males on average. Pastors of both genders earn more in New England and the Pacific coast than in other parts of the country.
Average Clergy Salary
As of May 2010, members of the clergy earned an average salary of $23.22 per hour, or $48,290 per year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10 percent of earners, which generally includes those in entry-level positions, received a mean wage of $11.64 per hour, or $24,210 per year.
Clergy members employed by religious organizations earned an average of $23.44, which equates to $48,750 annually.