Roman Catholic Priests

Roman Catholic Priests Lead Mass

Roman Catholic priests serve as either diocesan priests (sometimes called secular priests), leading individual parishes within a certain diocese, or as religious priests, living and working with other members of their religious order. The primary function of all priests is administering the church's seven sacraments: baptism, confirmation, confession, holy communion, marriage, holy orders, and anointing of the sick. Diocesan priests also visit the sick, oversee religious education programs, and generally provide pastoral care to their parishioners. Religious priests often serve as educators and missionaries, or they may be cloistered in a monastery. There were approximately 37,578 Roman Catholic priests in the United States in 2015, most of whom were diocesan priests.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Diocesan Priests, Religious Priests, Secular Priests
Duties Provide pastoral care to their parishioners and communities
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $75,000
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Nationwide
Minimum Education Level
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • English
  • Religion
  • Speech
Experience Seminar or assistant priest experience
Personality Traits
  • Helpful
  • Outgoing
  • Problem-Solving
  • Interpersonal
  • Public Speaking
  • Teaching
Certification or Licensing None
Special Requirements Only men may become Roman Catholic priests
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Fair
Outlook About as Fast as the Average
Career Ladder
  • Bishop, or Archbishop, or Cardinal
  • Administrator or Teacher
  • Experienced Roman Catholic Priest
  • Associate Pastor
  • Novice