Imams are employed by mosques, Islamic cultural and community centers, and colleges and universities. There are more than 2,000 mosques, Muslim schools, and Islamic centers in the United States. The largest number of mosques are found in California, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Florida. Some imams work as college professors, teachers at Islamic schools, and chaplains in hospitals, hospices, and the military.
At a large mosque in the U.S., a new imam who has just completed his training might start out as an assistant imam. At a small mosque, a newly-trained imam might start out as the head imam because of the shortage of imams in America and the growing number of mosques that have unfilled imam positions.
In the United States, those seeking imam positions should contact mosques directly to inquire about job openings. Visit http://hirr.hartsem.edu/mosque/database.html for a database of mosques and Islamic centers in the United States. Job openings are also listed at the Web sites of professional organizations such as the Islamic Society of North America and through the career centers of training programs.
After several years of experience, an assistant imam can become a full-fledged imam. An older imam who wishes to scale back his duties might continue to serve in some religious capacity, but might also become a member of the mosque’s executive committee or board. Some imams become college professors.
Tips for Entry
Visit the following Web sites for job listings.
Talk to imams about their careers. Ask them for advice on entering the profession.
Attend the Islamic Society of North America’s annual conference (http://www.isna.net) to grow your faith and network.