Monk/nun article illustration


Monks/nuns dedicate themselves to a monastic lifestyle. They vow to participate in spiritual works as part of their religious community. Monks/nuns participate in daily prayer and often live in self-sufficient monasteries or convents alongside other monks/nuns. They may also engage in activities such as teaching, writing, and providing social services to the community

The duties of monks/nuns typically include, but are not limited to:

  • Following a strict daily routine of prayer, meditation, and religious study
  • Participating in communal activities, such as meals and work duties
  • Providing spiritual guidance and support to others
  • Performing acts of service and charity, such as caring for the sick and elderly, teaching, or outreach to the poor and needy
  • Practicing humility, self-discipline, and self-reflection
  • Maintaining the upkeep of their living quarters and communal spaces
  • Observing the strict rules and traditions of their religious order

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to monk/nun:


Working conditions

Monks and nuns typically live in monasteries or convents, which are communal living spaces designed for spiritual devotion and service. The work environment is quiet and peaceful, emphasizing prayer, meditation, and religious study. The living quarters are typically simple, with minimal personal possessions, and require maintaining communal spaces.

Minimum qualifications

Becoming a monk/nun typically requires a deep commitment to a particular religious faith and often involves a lengthy and rigorous process of discernment and training within a particular religious order. Educational requirements vary depending on the specific religious order but typically require completion of a certain level of religious education and training.

In addition to formal education, monks and nuns must possess personal qualities such as devotion, self-discipline, and a willingness to live a life of simplicity and service. They must also adhere to their religious order’s strict rules and traditions.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Monk/nun is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Monk/nun career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to monk/nun.

pastoral worker
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immigration adviser
court administrative officer
social security inspector

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of monk/nun. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of monk/nun with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

minister of religion
religion scientific researcher
activism officer

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of monk/nun.

  • Monasticism: The devotion of one’s life to spirituality and the rejection of worldly pursuits such as material goods.
  • Theology: The study of systematically and rationally understanding, explaining, and criticising religious ideas, concepts, and all things divine.
  • Prayer: The spiritual act of worship, thanksgiving or request for help to a deity.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of monk/nun.

  • Interpret religious texts: Interpret the contents and messages of religious texts in order to develop spiritually and help others in their spiritual development, to apply the appropriate passages and messages during services and ceremonies, or for theological learning.
  • Establish collaborative relations: Establish a connection between organisations or individuals which may benefit from communicating with one another in order to facilitate an enduring positive collaborative relationship between both parties.
  • Show empathy: Show empathy in order to prevent any kind of symbolic violence and isolation and to guarantee a considerate attention to everyone. It should include a capacity to understand various verbal and non-verbal communication of sentiment and feeling.
  • Observe confidentiality: Observe the set of rules establishing the nondisclosure of information except to another authorised person.
  • Promote religious activities: Promote events, attendance to religious services and ceremonies, and the participation in religious traditions and festivities in a community in order to enhance the role religion plays in that community.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of monk/nun. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Christianity: The traditions, ceremonies, history and denominations of the Christian religion.
  • Crop production principles: Principles in growing crops, the natural cycle, nursing of nature, growth conditions and principles of organic and sustainable production. Quality criterias and requirements of seeds, plants and crop.
  • Hinduism: The rites, traditions and history of the Hindu religion.
  • Vocal techniques: The various techniques for using your voice correctly without exhausting or damaging it when changing voice in tone and volume.
  • Accounting techniques: The techniques of recording and summarising business and financial transactions and analysing, verifying, and reporting the results.
  • Islam: The traditions, ceremonies and history of the Islam, as well as its current system.
  • Buddhism: The rites, traditions and history of the Buddhism.
  • Bible texts: The content and interpretations of the bible texts, its different components, the different types of Bibles, and its history.
  • Judaism: The traditions, ceremonies and history of the Jewish religion, as well as its current system.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of monk/nun. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Organise labour: Organise, allocate and coordinate members of the team. Organise production programmes and plan the production and sales. Purchase materials and equipment. Manage stocks.
  • Provide charity services: Provide services for charity causes, or perform an independent activity related to community service, such as providing food and shelter, performing fundraising activities for charitable causes, gathering support for charity, and other charitable services.
  • Follow work schedule: Manage the sequence of activities in order to deliver completed work on agreed deadlines by following a work schedule.
  • Represent religious institution: Perform public functions as a representative of a religious institution, which strives to promote the institution and its activities and strive for accurate representation and inclusion in umbrella organisations.
  • Liaise with local authorities: Maintain the liaison and exchange of information with regional or local authorities.
  • Build community relations: Establish affectionate and long-lasting relationships with local communities, e.g. by organising special programs for kindergarten, schools, and for disabled and older people, raising awareness and receiving community appreciation in return.
  • Harvest crop: Mow, pick or cut agricultural products manually or using appropriate tools and machinery. Take into account the relevant quality criteria of products, hygiene prescriptions and use the appropriate methods.
  • Perform religious ceremonies: Perform the ritual acts and apply the traditional religious texts during ceremonial events, such as funerals, confirmation, baptism, birth rites and other religious ceremonies.
  • Welcome tour groups: Greet newly arrived groups of tourists at their starting point to announce details of upcoming events and travel arrangements.
  • Perform church service: Perform the rites and traditions which are involved in a church service and leading communal worship, such as giving sermons, reading psalms and scriptures, singing hymns, performing the eucharist, and other rites.
  • Apply teaching strategies: Employ various approaches, learning styles, and channels to instruct students, such as communicating content in terms they can understand, organising talking points for clarity, and repeating arguments when necessary. Use various teaching devices and methodologies appropriate to the class content, the learners’ level, goals, and priorities.
  • Show intercultural awareness: Show sensibility towards cultural differences by taking actions that facilitate positive interaction between international organisations, between groups or individuals of different cultures, and to promote integration in a community.
  • Respond to enquiries: Respond to enquiries and requests for information from other organisations and members of the public.
  • Conduct educational activities: Plan, perform and supervise educational activities for a variety of audiences, such as school children, university students, specialist groups, or members of the public.
  • Memorise script: Memorise a set of lines or specific information to convey it correctly to a target audience.
  • Perform ritual cleaning activities: Clean equipment and tools according to set traditions and rites, handling the materials as prescribed.
  • Teach religious texts: Teach the content and interpretation methods of religious texts to facilitate spiritual or theological learning.
  • Foster dialogue in society: Foster intercultural dialogue in civil society on various controversial topics such as religious and ethical issues.
  • Apply intercultural teaching strategies: Ensure that the content, methods, materials and general learning experience are inclusive for all students and take into account the expectations and experiences of learners from diverse cultural backgrounds. Explore individual and social stereotypes and develop cross-cultural teaching strategies.
  • Sing: Use the voice to produce musical sounds marked by tone and rhythm.
  • Use cooking techniques: Apply cooking techniques, including grilling, frying, boiling, braising, poaching, baking, or¬†roasting.
  • Prepare religious services: Perform the necessary actions to prepare religious services and ceremonies, such as gathering the necessary props and materials, cleaning tools, writing and practicing sermons and other speeches, and other preparation activities.

ISCO group and title

3413 – Religious associate professionals

  1. Monk/nun – ESCO
  2. Featured image: Photo by Krizjohn Rosales from Pexels
Last updated on April 18, 2023

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