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.

  • 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.


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