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Ph.D. in Christian Counseling Programs

Experienced Christian counselors may enroll in Ph.D. in Christian counseling programs to work in academia. Graduates with a Ph.D. may also work as researchers, nonprofit administrators, or ministry directors. Programs may feature classes in biblical counseling models and issues in biblical counseling. Many Ph.D. in Christian counseling programs offer concentrations in areas like grief counseling.

Competitive applicants need a master's in Christian counseling or another mental health field. Some schools use a GPA cutoff and limit applicants to those with professional experience.

This page lists some of the best Ph.D. in Christian counseling programs. Read on to learn about costs, common classes, and how to become a Christian counselor.

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Questions About Christian Counseling Degrees

How Long Does It Take to Get a Ph.D. in Christian Counseling?

Full-time learners can complete some programs in just three years. Part-time enrollees or those who need to revise their dissertation may need an extra 1-2 years.

What Jobs Can I Get With a Ph.D. in Christian Counseling?

Career opportunities vary by degree and specialization. Graduates who do not enter academia may work in leadership roles at nonprofits or religious organizations.

Are Christian Counselors in Demand?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for postsecondary teachers with a Christian counseling degree to grow 12% from 2020-2030. The organization projects jobs for counselors to grow 23% during the same time.

Why Get a Ph.D. in Christian Counseling?

Ph.D. in Christian counseling programs appeal to experienced counselors wanting to make a lasting impact on the field. Graduation requirements include writing and defending a dissertation. The dissertation helps students master research and writing skills. Graduates use these skills to publish papers advancing the Christian counseling profession.

Earning a Christian counseling degree may also qualify learners for well-paying positions. The BLS reports that Christian counselors earn more than the national median salary.

Many schools offer online Ph.D. in Christian counseling programs. Online programs that run asynchronously let enrollees complete coursework when convenient. An online format also lets degree-seekers enroll in top programs without relocating.

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How Much Does a Christian Counseling Degree Cost?

Doctoral degrees cost an average of $114,300, according to Ph.D. degree-seekers pay less than $100,000. However, many factors influence cost, including school type, how many credits learners pursue, and students' residency status. Degree-seekers in a hybrid or on-campus program should budget for commuting to campus or a practicum site.

Students can save money on a Ph.D. in Christian counseling by exploring federal, private, and institutional aid. The government awards grants and low-interest loans to learners whose FAFSA results show financial need. Some universities reduce doctoral students' tuition if they teach an undergraduate class or help a professor with research.

Christian Counseling Salary Outlook

Christian counselors earn a median $45,160 annually, according to the BLS. This figure accounts for counselors of different experience and education levels. Many factors influence salary, including employer and geographic location. Counselors working in New York, North Dakota, and New Jersey earn $66,400-$82,020 annually.

Higher education can help Christian counselors earn more. Professionals with a Ph.D. may pursue tenure-track positions at colleges or universities. Postsecondary religion teachers make a median $77,610 annually, with some earning more than $155,000.

Courses in a Christian Counseling Ph.D. Program

Ph.D. in Christian counseling programs feature advanced counseling and theology classes. Students work with a dissertation advisor after completing core classes. An advisor helps degree-seekers choose a focus of study. Learners then spend about 12 months researching and writing their dissertation. Students who defend their dissertation successfully receive the Ph.D.

See below for a sample curriculum for a Ph.D. in Christian counseling program. Keep in mind that classes vary by school. These differences may significantly impact students' learning experiences. Learners should closely examine their prospective programs' core classes and electives before applying.

  • Applied Theology and Typical

    Students in this seminar class analyze how Christian counselors use religious texts and teachings to help people in need. Degree-seekers examine real-life and simulated cases to understand how counselors approach people's problems. These exercises help graduates relate real-life events to the Bible's many teachings and provide the most relevant advice to clients.
  • Dynamics of Counseling

    Postsecondary teachers and Christian counselors need advanced interpersonal skills. This class emphasizes building relationships with clients, including individuals, couples, and families. Students analyze how counseling sessions impact counselors and the people they serve. Learning outcomes include applying self-awareness when interacting with clients and peers in the counseling field.
  • Theological Hermeneutics in the Care of People

    Hermeneutics refers to the interpretation of the Bible. Enrollees analyze how different interpretations influence the Christian counseling profession. Learners create personal interpretations of many biblical passages. These and other assignments help degree-seekers understand how Jesus' teachings not only created the Christian faith but also influenced the care Christian counselors provide.

Become a Christian Counselor

Depending on their career goals, aspiring Christian counselors may only need a bachelor's degree. Some career paths require a master's degree and a state-issued license. Professionals with a doctorate may continue working with clients or pursue leadership roles within their organization. Other Ph.D. graduates use the degree to work as postsecondary teachers.

Christian counselors perform various day-to-day responsibilities. They use Jesus' teachings to help people resolve personal problems. They do so by working with people individually and in small groups. A session may involve praying with clients and referring them to other faith-based services. Christian counselors take professional development to learn the latest best practices and reaffirm their faith.

Licensure for Christian Counselors

Christian counselors may need a license, depending on their job. Licensure requirements vary by state. Fortunately, the American Counseling Association (ACA) maintains a page detailing each state's requirements. The ACA reports that New York licensed counselors need a 60-credit master's degree in counseling. These programs must include specific classes and a one-year practicum or internship.

Graduates with a master's or doctoral degree receive a limited permit. This permit lets them gain the 3,000 required experience hours. Licensure candidates spend at least half of this time working with clients individually or in small groups. They then take the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam. New York does not permit testing accommodations for English-language learners.

New York licensed mental health counselors (LMHCs) renew their license every three years. Requirements include completing 36 continuing education (CE) credits in that time. The state waives this requirement for LMHCs in their first renewal cycle. LMHCs can find approved CE providers by visiting the Office of the Professions website.

Ph.D. in Christian Counseling Programs

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