The Islamic faith is practiced by millions of people throughout the world, and is one of the largest religions practiced today. In the United States it is the third largest faith tradition, and that number is growing.
The Islamic faith began in the seventh century in Arabia, when a respected businessman in Mecca named Muhammad began receiving revelations from Allah, or The God. Allah revealed that there was only one God, and Muhammad was his messenger. The messages Muhammad received are written in the Qur’an. The word Islam means submission to the will of God. People who practice the Islamic faith are called Muslims. Muslims believe in bearing witness of their faith, giving alms to the poor, and fasting during the month of Ramadan, among other beliefs. The Islamic faith is open to any person regardless of his or her country of origin.
In the United States, there are approximately 1,500 mosques, which is where Muslims go to worship. The leader of the service is called an imam. The imam performs many of the same functions as a Christian worship leader or Jewish rabbi or cantor, and is considered the spiritual and religious leader of the community. In addition to these religious leaders, Muslims who wish to hold a religious job can become teachers at Muslim schools or colleges, or hold positions at non-profit organizations. One example of Islamic non-profit organizations in the United States is the Islamic Arts & Architecture Association, in Columbus, Ohio. This organization promotes the awareness of Islamic arts. Not all of these positions are available throughout the country. You may have to move to get a job at a non-profit organization, school, or college, since these are not prevalent everywhere in the United States.
If you are Muslim and feel called to lead worship, direct charities for the poor, or provide an education to you students, one of these Islamic faith-based jobs may be right for you. Keep in mind that there are many Muslims that do not hire or approve of women Imams as leaders in the mosques. Women can become Imams for groups of other women or to practice in their own families. There are some groups who do hire women, but they are rare.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report the outlook for imams. However, given the rising number of Muslim residents in the United States, it is logical to assume that there will be a growing need for imams in the next ten years. The number of Islamic schools is also on the rise, which bodes well for teachers. If you are interested in teaching, consider becoming a pre-school teacher. Employment of preschool teachers is expected to grow by 17 percent from 2016 to 2020, which is faster than the average for all occupations. When it comes to elementary and secondary teachers, employment is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.
The number of jobs for kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers is expected to grow by 12 percent between 2016 and 2025, which is average growth. Keep in mind these numbers are for all teachers in the nation. Teaching Islamic studies at the college level is also possible throughout the country. Not all schools offer courses in this area, so the Bureau of Labor Statistics projections for employment can be used as a general guideline for the overall growth of teaching positions at the college level. The number of college level jobs is expected to grow at a rate that is faster than average, growing 13 percent by 2020. Non-profit jobs are also expected to grow.
The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics says that by 2025 the number of jobs at non-profit organizations is expected to increase by 26 percent over 2015 levels. The segments with the highest growth are those performing social services.