Imams are religious leaders in the religion of Islam. They lead daily prayers, teach people about the Quran (the Muslim holy book) and the life of the Prophet Mohammed, officiate at weddings and funerals, and develop and oversee youth programs at their mosque. In most mosques, only men serve as imams, but in some countries or traditions, a woman may serve as an imam in special situations (e.g., women-only mosques and prayer groups).
Minimum Education Level
According to the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), only 44 percent of American imams are salaried and work full-time—compared with 71 percent of congregation-leaders in other faiths. Those who earn a salary receive between $20,000 and $50,000, with an average of about $30,000. In 2013 (the most recent year for which data is available), 62 percent of mosques that were affiliated with the ...
To accommodate worshipers attending the five daily prayers, mosques are typically open from before sunrise to two hours after sunset—but the imam may not be present for the entire day. A typical full-time imam works 40 to 50 hours a week. In the United States, mosques also serve as community centers, and the imam may be responsible for organizing non-religious classes and activities.
Opportunities for imams in the United States should be good during the next decade. The percentage of Americans who practice Islam more than doubled from 2007 to 2014, according to America’s Changing Religious Landscape, a report from the Pew Research Center (PRC). The center also predicts that the number of Muslims in the U.S. will more than double from 2.6 million Muslims in 2010 to ...