Religious Education and Religious Studies are two very different degrees, so I'll answer about both. :)
Religious Education prepares you to:
- Serve in a lay position within your church or community
- Work in spiritual advising and counseling
- Serve as a youth or special group pastor
- Teach theology at any level from Sunday School/CCD to high school
- Work as a religious camp counselor/director
- Serve as a director of church programs or special services
- Become a missionary, domestic or international
- Do anything else that involves helping to guide others in their faith or learn more about it
A great description of the major can be found at http://www.collegeboard.com/csearch/majors_careers/profiles/majors/39.0401.html
. You can also visit http://www.okcu.edu/religion/major_religious_edu.aspx
for a sample Religious Education major outline. It's important to note that virtually all Religious Education programs are Christian of varying denomination, so you will need to find one that lines up with your particular beliefs -- for example, don't go to a Southern Baptist college if you want to be a Roman Catholic CCD teacher.
Religious Studies is a much more generalized degree that simply looks at the history, role, teachings, social practices, influence, and other factors associated with religion. At colleges affiliated with particular denominations, the major is typically based around their particular beliefs; at non-denominational colleges, it's much broader. It also tends to be an interdisciplinary major that involves everything from history and anthropology to politics and literature. It's basically the more "academic" of the two. Students are usually expected to learn about many different religions and to develop a respect for and understanding of them. A good description can be found at http://www.collegeboard.com/csearch/majors_careers/profiles/majors/38.0201.html
, and you can find a sample program at http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/religion/
Future options for people who choose Religious Studies as a major include going to divinity school, pursuing advanced studies in subjects like anthropology and sociology, working in academia, and education. There's a nice page at http://www.hollins.edu/undergrad/religion/relalumnae.htm
that talks about what some alums have done with their Religious Studies education.
Final note: Most people who major in either of these subjects pursue a more traditional second major in order to open up more job prospects for their future. You may want to keep that in mind. :) Good luck!