Complete Guide to an Online Christian Counseling Degree

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Quick Facts
Accreditation: ACPE
Degree Levels: Associate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate
Avg Tuition: $19,225
Avg Salary: $48,685

The 30 schools on this page offer online Christian counseling degree programs at every level, from associate to doctoral. Christian counseling students will learn biblical and theological ways to provide treatment through faith based practice, in order to help others utilize faith in their healing and skill building processes. Graduates of an online Christian counseling degree program can expect to be employed at a wide range of institutions, such as churches, schools, hospitals, homeless shelters, adoption agencies, and funeral homes.

Those who are interested in Christian counseling as a career should research accredited programs before enrolling at an institution. Earning a degree from an online accredited program will ensure that the student is receiving the highest quality of education. Furthermore, students choosing an online Christian counseling degree should take into consideration whether they will pursue certification or state licensure, as requirements vary. Continue reading for more information about accreditation, licensure, and certification.

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Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Christian Counseling Degrees (30)

Online Christian Counseling Degree Overview & Career Information

There are many different online degree paths that can be taken when pursuing a career in Christian counseling. These options can be pursued at faith-based Universities and Seminaries. Applicants can enroll in associate programs, which they can complete in two years and later go on to entry level counseling positions. A bachelor's program will take students through human behavior and development based on biblical principles over the course of four years. For graduates who are interested in furthering their education, a master's program will increase their knowledge and skills in cultivating spiritual maturity within their practice and allow them to obtain licensure. A master's program will typically take two to three years for participants to complete. A doctorate in Christian counseling will open the door for higher paying positions as well as the opportunity to operate a private practice. P.h.D graduates also go on to teach master's programs and author books based on their experiences within the field.

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Online Associate Degrees in Christian Counseling

An online associate degree in Christian counseling can be obtained through biblically-based colleges and universities. Students can expect to graduate in two years through 60-credit hours of coursework. Associate programs center on teaching the basics of counseling techniques and theory through biblical perspectives and theology. Coursework includes History of Christianity, Introduction to Biblical Counseling, Biblical Interpretation, Pastoral Theology, and Old or New Testament Survey. Some programs may also require students to complete supervised internships. Applicants who are interested in enrolling in an associate program must have a high school diploma or equivalent such as a GED. Students must also showcase a clear testimony and faithful church attendance. Career options upon graduation include entry-level positions in the areas of mental health, including social services case worker, crisis intervention specialist, and family support positions. Additionally, an associate degree will set a student up for education advancement if he/she decides to continue on for a bachelor's degree.

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Online Bachelor's Degrees in Christian Counseling

Graduates who are looking to further their education in Christian counseling can apply for an online bachelor's program, which can be found at faith-based universities. Participants will study human behavior and development and how to asses, counsel, and build therapeutic skills through a Christian perspective. Comprised of 125-130 credit hours, students can graduate with their bachelor's degree in four years of study. Coursework includes foundations of Christian thought, marriage and family counseling, personality theories, crisis intervention, survey of biblical literature, and interpreting the Gospel. In order to enroll into a bachelor's program in Christian counseling applicants must provide a high school diploma or GED. If the applicant has already attended an institution of higher education, official college transcripts will also be required. There are a variety of career options that graduates are exposed to both in ministry and other fields. Graduates often go on to work as youth leaders, assistant pastors, pastoral care staff, agency-affiliated mental health counselors or substance abuse counselors, and social and community services managers.  

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Online Master's in Christian Counseling

Students can graduate with their master's in Christian counseling in two to four years by completing 36-70 credit hours of study online. Online master's programs in Christian counseling focus on the basic themes and content of the bible and teach students to cultivate spiritual maturity within their practices. Students can expect to participate in courses such as core counseling concepts, the Bible and theology, multicultural counseling, human growth and development, group counseling, and a practicum. A supervised internship will also be required.  Applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree from regionally or nationally accredited institution. Most Christian universities will also require two letters of recommendation from professionals and personal reference as well as a letter of intent written by the applicant describing academic and professional goals. It is also important for applicants to research their state's professional licensure requirements before enrolling in a program as each state has different regulations regarding professional practice. A master's program in Christian counseling will prepare professionals for their own private practice as well as careers in mental health counseling, family counseling, and church missions.

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Online Doctoral Degrees in Christian Counseling

Online doctoral students pursuing their degree in Christian counseling will take courses like Mastering Pastoral Counseling, Creation Therapy, Temperament Case Studies, Marriage and Family Counseling, Youth Counseling, Cognitive Therapy Techniques, and Abuse Counseling, comprising of 40 to 60 credit hours. During their three to four years of study, doctoral students will also be required to complete an original dissertation or a thesis in order to graduate. Applicants to the program must hold a bachelor's in counseling or it's equivalent from an accredited graduate school or seminary; typically a master's degree is earned during the doctorate program They must also complete an admissions essay and present two letters of recommendations. There are many different options for aspiring professionals who hold a doctorate in Christian counseling. Opportunities include teaching at the master's level, opening a private practice, as well as becoming a supervisor, consultant or administrator within a practice. Many Ph.D holders also go on to write books based on their educational and professional experiences. Applicants can apply for online doctoral programs in Christian counseling at universities and seminaries.   

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Online Certificates in Christian Counseling

Aspiring professionals who are looking for online graduate level training but do not want to fully commit to earning a master's degree may be interested in a graduate certificate program.  Applicants are required to posses an undergraduate degree in a related field. The purpose of a certificate degree in Christian counseling is to equip each student with counseling skills through a condensed amount of study. A typical program will cover 15-credit hours of study including courses in human development & change, helping relationships, psychopathology, models of counseling, and addiction counseling. Earning a certificate degree in Christian counseling can aide pastors, counselors, and other Christian professionals in their career development. Certificate programs can be found at faith-based universities and seminaries. It should also be noted that if a graduate is interested in furthering their education in the future their credits earned from their accredited certificate degree would be eligible for transfer into a master's program.  

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Licensure and Certification for Christian Counselors

Christian counselors may choose to receive certification from Christian organizations such as the National Christian Counselors Association (NCCA) or the Professional Christian Coaching & Counseling Academy (PCCCA). Those interested in becoming members of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) are required to also be licensed mental health professionals. Thus, state licensure may be an important consideration for those pursuing an online Christian counseling degree, due to the fact that state requirements vary when it comes to obtaining and using a counseling license in professional practice. More information about state licensure for counselors can be found here; however, it is important to note that most states do not allow licensed counselors to promote their personal religious beliefs.

The Importance of Accredited Online Christian Counseling Degree 

Regional accreditation agencies review degree-granting non-profit institutions of higher education. Accrediting agencies ensure that the school is offering the highest level of quality education to its students. The major accrediting body for Christian counseling programs is The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. (ACPE). ACPE accreditation assures students that a program will prepare them to fill roles as clergy or lay leaders. Students interested obtaining state licensure should also look for Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited programs. CACREP is the major accrediting body for graduate counseling programs both on-campus and online and students enrolled in these programs can be assured that their program has been evaluated and has met strict and consistent standards that have been set by the profession. It also ensures students that the curriculum contains the appropriate coursework that is going to provide the skills and knowledge needed to succeed as a professional upon graduation and obtain licensure. 


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