Why This Matters


    Although some entry-level positions may be open to individuals with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree is generally required to obtain licensure and qualify for professional counseling jobs.


    The opioid crisis and prevalence of PTSD in veterans has increased the need for counselors who specialize in substance abuse and mental health counseling. The U.S. expects to add 68,500 jobs in this sector by 2028.


    While additional education is needed to become a clergy member, earning a master’s in Christian counseling can enhance your skills in providing guidance and support to members of your congregation.

Our Research

For this list we set out to find the best master’s programs in Christian counseling. The three most common types of degrees in this area are Master of Science (MS), Master of Arts (MA), and Master of Divinity (MDiv).

Next we looked for programs that are delivered primarily or completely online to ensure accessibility for the greatest number of students, regardless of their location or schedule.

All of the schools on our list have either regional or national accreditation. Many programs are also accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Please note that the type of accreditation a school or program has may affect your eligibility for professional licensure post-graduation.

We evaluated each program on the basis of reputation, flexibility, affordability, faculty, and coursework, and then we calculated an Intelligent Score for each on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 66 hours to write this article
  • 143 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 391 education programs we compared

The Top 32 Online Master’s in Christian Counseling Programs

Best Online Master's in Christian Counseling Degree Programs
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What You Should Know About This Degree

Counseling is a mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically demanding job. Counselors work with vulnerable populations, including individuals from backgrounds and lifestyles that may differ from yours. Being an effective counselor means being open-minded, compassionate, empathetic, and patient. Before pursuing a career in this field, you should consider your aptitudes and beliefs to determine if you have the right qualities for the job.

Because of the sensitive nature of counseling, the field is regulated at both the state and national levels. In order to practice professionally, counselors must have a state-issued license, which means complying with state-mandated regulations for education and experience. Be sure to review your state’s licensure requirements before selecting a program, as this can affect the type of program you select. Also be aware that not all Christian counseling programs will prepare you for licensure.

Since counseling is a field that focuses on working with people, hands-on experience is a requirement in most programs, even if all of the coursework is delivered online. When researching programs, find out how many clinical internship hours you must complete and in what type of settings you will complete them. You should also clarify whether the program assists you in finding your clinical sites or if you are responsible for finding clinical sites on your own.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Christian counseling programs:

  • Will I be eligible for licensure? Not all Christian counseling programs prepare students for professional counseling licensure. Without a professional license, you will be limited in your job opportunities, so this is an important consideration when selecting a program. Licensure requirements vary by state, so it’s important to understand your state’s licensing requirements prior to choosing a program.
  • Can I pass a background check? Since most Christian counseling programs require internships or practicums in a clinical setting, you will have to pass a background check at some point. If you have any incidents in your history that may present an issue, speak to an advisor as soon as possible to find out what your next steps should be.

Other steps you can take at this time include gathering your application materials, taking note of application deadlines and procedures, and researching options for funding your master’s degree. Admissions and financial aid counselors should be available to guide you through these processes and answer your questions. Funding options include student loans, scholarships, assistantships, and employer tuition assistance, if you are currently working.