Master’s in Christian Counseling Career Guide

What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Christian Counseling Program?

Master’s in Christian Counseling programs enable graduates to enter
the counseling field backed by Christian principles to guide discussions
and therapy. Some Christian counselors meet with clients in traditional
office settings while others operate under the auspices of a church or
religious community. An advanced degree in this field prepares students
for state testing and licensure requirements while enabling a
Christ-centered approach to their future practice. Many different areas
of specialization can augment master’s degrees in Christian counseling.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Christian Counseling

CONCENTRATION DESCRIPTION POSSIBLE CAREERS THIS CONCENTRATION PREPARES FOR
Marriage and Family Counseling Equips future therapists with tools to understand family dynamics and design effective Christ-centered therapy for identified issues. Marriage and Family Therapist
School Counseling Prepares therapists with unique tools and techniques to effectively counsel students throughout various levels of schooling as well as provide career guidance. School Counselor
Mental Health Counseling Learn important characteristics and psychological illness calling cards to enable issue identification and appropriate response plans for patients who are mentally ill as well as those dealing with substance abuse. Counselor, Therapist

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Christian Counseling

Christian counseling studies at the master’s level combine typical
career-preparatory studies for counselors and therapists and add another
level of learning to enable Christ-centered paradigms and practices.
Additionally, students studying for Christian counseling degrees
encounter robust class and study requirements to become prepared for
state licensure and testing. A counseling practice based on the
Christian worldview helps practitioners meet the needs of diverse
populations. Before you choose the school and counseling program you
wish to pursue, research two key areas: that the outcome of the studies
meets the rigors and expectations place by the organizations with which
you hope to work as well as the credit and course requirements to become
state certified as a counselor.

A few of the classes a student in this degree program can expect to take include:

COURSES DESCRIPTION
Theories of Counseling Exploring the various approaches and outcomes that define counseling.
Group Counseling Learning how to provide appropriate counseling to a group of people instead of an individual.
Biblical Foundations for Counseling Understanding how to layer a Christ-centered approach to counseling.
Assessment of Mental and Emotional Health Status Explore concepts of using digital systems and content to trigger psychological and emotional responses.
Crisis Counseling Continuing the counseling process effectively through crises.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in Christian Counseling?

Online master’s in Christian counseling programs range in credit
requirements and time-to-completion estimates. The range exists between
programs that also prepare for state licensure and base-line programs
for students who do not wish to attain a license. Some highly immersive
programs require as many as 74 credits taken over a 3-to-5 year span
before graduation while other less intensive degree plans require just
36 hours, which can be completed in 18 to 24 months. Programs designed
to prepare students for future licensure are typically followed by
thousands of hours spent in practicums or clinicals.

Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Christian Counseling Prepares For

The primary license an online master’s in Christian counseling prepares students to pursue is the LPC: licensed professional counselor.
Additional certifications may be conferred by the student’s
denomination or church or by larger certifying bodies. Those include the
National Christian Counselors Association and the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation.
Most certification programs accept master’s level classes toward the
mandatory education that’s necessary before becoming certified.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Christian Counseling Degrees

Discovering the accreditations colleges have successfully pursued is
key to picking the best master’s program for your future career goals.
Unaccredited institutions may not issue degrees that make you eligible
for professional licensure. And your church or prospective employer may
require specific accreditation. Several different organizations evaluate
master’s in Christian counseling programs before granting school or
program accreditation. Those include the Association for Biblical Higher Education and the American Psychological Association. For degrees in counseling offered by seminaries and Bible colleges, accreditation may be conferred by the Higher Learning Commission, the Association of Biblical Higher Education or the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Studies.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Christian Counseling Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

Individuals who have earned a master’s in Christian counseling have
many opportunities within varied workplace settings like churches,
schools, nursing home, rehab centers and hospitals. Professional
licensure is only available to students who complete an approved
master’s program. Bachelor’s programs in counseling are typically
insufficient to take on true counseling roles and are not eligible for
the student to attain licensure. After earning a bachelor’s degree,
students commonly move on to the master’s level or begin working in
therapeutic roles under the watchful eye of higher-level professionals.
Essentially, all patient-facing interactions must involve professionals
who have attained their masters and industry certification.

Educated and licensed Christian counselors can fill a variety of
positions within church, school and emergency settings. From guidance
counselors to therapists helping addicted patients in a rehab setting,
Christian counselors have the ability to positively impact those around
them.

Expected Salary

Because the Bureau of Labor Statistics lumps church-related jobs into three broad categories, evaluating counseling prospects and financials under a general counseling framework is more telling than using the broad brush strokes of ministry studies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides many counseling profiles, including mental health counselors, school counselors, and marriage and family counselors.

Salary levels vary not only due to different roles but also by geography. Here’s a look at what you could earn as a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Career Opportunities

Graduates from online master’s in Christian counseling can pursue
many career paths, often colored by the specialization or concentrations
you choose to learn.

JOB TITLE JOB DESCRIPTION MEDIAN SALARY PROJECTED GROWTH RATE
Marriage and Family Therapist Marriage and family therapists work with individuals, couples and family units to explore areas of conflict and devise helpful Christ-centered strategies for change and improvement. $48,790 per year 23%
School Counselor Christian counselors can work in a parochial or secular environment to support students and enable them to work through identified difficulties. $55,410 per year 13%
Mental Health Counselor Christian mental health counselors work with patients who are experiencing psychological issues, behavioral disorders or dealing with substance abuse. $43,300 per year 23%

Professional Organizations

Professional career-related organizations let graduates with an
online master’s in Christian counseling network with fellow
practitioners, utilize continuing education opportunities and stay
abreast of industry changes. In addition to groups within your own
denomination, both secular and religious organizations enable the
valuable sharing of information and ongoing access to specific assets.

National Christian Counselors Association:
The NCCA focuses on training to improve the skills of Christian
counselors while also providing support for their practices in both
faith-based settings and secular workplaces.

American Association of Christian Counselors:
The AACC is a nonprofit organization that provides support to Christian
counselors while enabling networking and continuing education
experiences.

American Counseling Association:
The ACA serves all practitioners in the counseling field, not just
Christian counselors. The organization maintains a robust website to
provide support for all who seek it.

National Association of Christian Counselors:
The NACC is a faith-based organization that strives to support
Christian counselors in the practice of their profession. The group
provides training and certification guidance to counselors.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Christian Counseling

One hallmark of most online master’s degrees is that their total
costs are far lower than education in an in-person setting. Nonetheless,
graduate-level studies come with a large price tag. For assistance in
paying for your degree, begin by filling out the Free Application for
Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for federal
scholarships, grants and loans to make your education more affordable.
In addition, many educational entities offer scholarships to incoming
students. Other opportunities to earn scholarships and grants are
available through your church or denomination as well as from private
and public philanthropic scholarship and grant funds.

Resources

Scholarships

Scholarships

Details

Violet and Cyril Franks Scholarship

Award: $5,000

Deadline: May 15

Eligibility: Graduate psychology students working on programmatic projects to reduce the stigma of mental illness.

Clinton E. Phillips Scholarship

Award: $4,000

Deadline: January 4

Eligibility: Already licensed marriage and family students pursuing advanced training.