Top Christian Counseling Programs
Updated May 18, 2023 | Thomas Broderick
Top Christian Counseling Programs
Christian counseling programs prepare students for positions such as teen counselor, church counselor, and church outreach director. Some of these roles may require additional education or training. Typical coursework explores the principles of Bible study, introduction to counseling, and building a biblical lifestyle. Like undergraduate degrees in other majors, a Christian counseling degree also requires general education classes.
Prospective students need a high school diploma or GED. Some schools accept other high school equivalency exams. Admission requirements may include a resume, recommendation letters, and a statement of faith. This article answers common questions, examines the benefits of a Christian counseling degree, and introduces major coursework.
Questions About Christian Counseling
What Degree Is Needed for Christian Counseling?
Many Christian counselors can work in churches and religious institutions with only a bachelor's degree. However, professionals may need a master's in counseling to qualify for positions requiring licensure.
What Jobs Can I Get With a Degree in Christian Counseling?
Career advisors help students pursuing a degree in Christian counseling explore job options. Graduates commonly become church education directors and social workers.
Do I Need a License to Be a Christian Counselor?
Christian counselors need a state license to earn board certification. Licensure requirements vary by state. Degree-seekers should research their state's requirements.
Why Get a Degree in Christian Counseling?
Learners in Christian counseling programs prepare to assist people in using their faith to overcome problems. Students also develop the transferable skills necessary for all jobs requiring a college education. According to May 2022 Payscale data, Christian counselors earn an average salary of $39,037 per year. Professionals with many years of experience may earn significantly higher salaries.
Online Christian counseling programs feature many benefits. Distance learners can attend top programs anywhere in the country without relocating. Additionally, many online programs feature asynchronous curricula. Learners in these programs can schedule academic requirements around work and family obligations. Some schools offer online students discounted tuition rates.
Featured Online Programs
How Much Does a Christian Counseling Degree Cost?
According to 2022 data from the Education Data Initiative, a bachelor's degree costs an average of $35,331, including tuition, fees, and education-related expenses. However, the cost of attending Christian counseling programs varies by school. Private Christian schools typically charge higher tuition rates than public institutions. Learners can save money by earning an associate degree from a community college before transferring to a bachelor's program.
Students earning a Christian counseling degree can further reduce out-of-pocket expenses by exploring institutional scholarships and grants. Many schools consider all incoming learners for institutional funding. Federal financial aid opportunities and some private scholarship programs require FAFSA results.
How Much Do Christian Counseling Majors Make?
According to May 2022 Payscale data, Christian counselors earn an average annual salary lower than the average of $58,260 for all occupations, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
An individual's earning potential may vary based on their experience level. Payscale reports that Christian counselors earn $25,000-$41,000 per year. Christian counselors may also receive a retirement plan and health insurance. The BLS reports that top-paying states for counselors include New Jersey, North Dakota, and New York.
Counselors often increase their salary potential by earning a state license. Licensed professionals can qualify for more job opportunities, many of which pay higher salaries. Licensure requirements vary by state but typically include a master's degree, supervised experience, and passing exam scores.
Courses in a Christian Counseling Program
Christian counseling programs typically feature major and general education classes. Coursework explores topics such as crisis intervention fundamentals, Christian leadership strategies, and pastoral approaches to counseling. Some programs prepare learners for graduate studies. Individuals interested in pursuing graduate degrees in Christian counseling should only consider accredited undergraduate programs.
The sample curriculum below introduces three major classes. Christian counseling programs' curricula vary by school and impact learners' academic experiences and career options. Prospective students can compare degree plans and contact enrollment counselors to choose a program that fits their goals.
Students in this class analyze the Old Testament's stories and moral lessons. Learners compare the text to historical and cultural events. Degree-seekers also consider how the Old Testament impacted the development of Christianity. Students gain the biblical knowledge necessary for more advanced classes.
Old Testament Survey
This class focuses on the Gospels of Luke, Matthew, and Mark. Students compare each Gospel's description to the teachings of Jesus. Coursework covers these texts' dates of writing and emphasis areas. Learners also explore later works the Gospels inspired. Learners develop a strong understanding of Christian beliefs, which graduates use while counseling clients.
Students in this course apply knowledge from the Old Testament survey. Learners examine the Book of Jonah and strengthen their analytical skills. Participants compare the text to other Old Testament stories and examine how the Book of Jonah inspired parts of the New Testament. Degree-seekers gain skills necessary for graduate studies.
Book of Jonah
How to Become a Christian Counselor
The Christian counseling profession often appeals to individuals with a strong faith. After earning a bachelor's in Christian counseling degree, graduates can pursue entry-level positions with churches and other religious organizations. Professionals can earn a master's degree to advance their career. Master's programs require coursework in sociology and psychology to prepare counselors to obtain state licensure.
Christian counselors can pursue roles in religious and secular settings. Many professionals provide marriage, career, and parenting assistance. These counselors provide faith-based advice. Like other types of counselors, they sometimes refer clients to therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists.
Licensure for Christian Counselors
States require counselors in specific roles to hold a license. Licensure types and requirements vary by state. Counseling licensure in Texas requires a master's degree in a subject such as counseling, psychology, or family therapy. Licensure complete at least 300 supervised work hours.
Master's degree-holders in Texas can receive the licensed professional counselor intern credential. Counselors use this license to complete an additional 3,000 hours of supervised work experience. Individuals can then take the National Counselor Exam and the Texas Jurisprudence Exam to qualify for the licensed professional counselor (LPC) credential. As of April 2022, Texas charges a $200 licensing fee.
Texas LPCs renew their license every two years by earning 24 continuing education credits, including four credits of ethics coursework. Counselors take continuing education from approved providers. The licensure renewal deadline depends on the professional's birth month.