The spiritual leaders of Taoism are typically priests that are in charge of rituals in a particular community or monastery. Priests in the Taoist religion can be either male or female, and some may also be unaffiliated with a monastery and keep a family while maintaining their ritualistic duties.
As of 2014, it is uncommon for Taoist priests to be head of congregations within a community. Business in a local community temple is typically managed by local leaders. A priest can attain a rank of Great Master through a rigorous apprenticeship and studying process that lasts twenty years. There is a limit of one Taoist Great Master in every community, and a candidate must be nominated by the community's elders.