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

Online master’s in Christian counseling programs offer the same academic quality as on-campus programs in a more flexible format. By eliminating the need to commute to campus, online programs provide you with more time for work, family, and any other responsibilities that you may have outside of school. Remember that no two online master’s in Christian counseling programs are exactly alike, so you’ll need to carefully review your options to find the best match for your personal needs and professional goals.

Available concentrations

If you’re interested in a particular aspect of Christian counseling, you should look for a program that allows you to focus your studies on this specialty. Some of the most common concentration options for a master’s in Christian counseling include:

  • Marriage and Family Counseling: Equips graduates with the tools to understand family dynamics and design effective Christ-centered therapy for identified issues.
  • School Counseling: Reviews techniques for counseling students throughout various levels of schooling and providing career guidance.
  • Mental Health Counseling: Learn how to identify and treat psychological illnesses.

Common degree curriculum

While the exact curriculum for your master’s in Christian counseling will depend on which school you attend and whether you select a concentration, there are some topics covered in just about every program, such as:

  • Theories of Counseling: Explore the various approaches and outcomes that define counseling.
  • Group Counseling: Reviews how to counsel a group of people instead of an individual.
  • Crisis Counseling: Covers the established best practices for helping clients through crises.
  • Biblical Foundations for Counseling: Learn how to provide a Christ-centered approach to counseling.

Certification and license preparation

Many jobs in this field require you to be a licensed professional counselor (LPC) — to obtain this credential, you’ll need to earn a graduate degree in counseling, complete a certain number of supervised clinical hours, and pass the National Counselor Examination or a similar state-recognized exam. The exact requirements for licensure vary by state. Before applying to any master’s in Christian counseling programs, you should evaluate how your options will help you prepare for state licensure and testing.

You should also consider earning certifications from groups such as the National Christian Counselors Association and the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation, which shows employers that you are especially well-qualified for a Christian counseling role.

Program accreditation

You should only apply to institutions that have been approved by a regional accrediting organization or national faith-based accrediting organization that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. These organizations evaluate the faculty and curriculum of postsecondary education institutions to ensure they offer students a high-quality academic experience.

Program completion timeframe

The amount of time it takes to earn a master’s in Christian counseling depends on which school you attend, as some programs require as few as 36 credit hours while others require as many as 74. Whether you attend school full-time or part-time will also affect the length of your program. Full-time students might be able to graduate in just 18 months, while part-time students may need up to five years. It’s worth noting that you will likely need thousands of hours of supervised work experience to earn your counseling license.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Christian Counseling Graduates

Occupations related to Christian counseling are expected to grow above average over the next decade. That means there should be plenty of employment opportunities in this field, making getting hired and negotiating pay raises easier.

Workers with this degree usually make somewhere between $45,000 to $65,000. There’s the potential to make much more, though — the top 10% of marriage and family therapists earn over $98,700, and the top 10% of school counselors earn over $98,530.

Of course, you should adjust your salary expectations according to where you plan to work, as areas with a higher cost of living tend to offer higher pay. For example, the average salary for school counselors is $81,100 in California but just $48,950 in South Dakota.

Job Title Job Description Median Yearly Salary Projected Growth Rate (2022 – 2032)
Marriage and Family Therapists Marriage and family therapists work with individuals, couples, and families to explore conflict areas and develop effective strategies for change and improvement. $56,570 15%
School Counselors Christian counselors can work in parochial schools to support students and enable them to work through identified difficulties. $60,140 5%
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors These professionals work with patients who are experiencing a variety of psychological issues, such as mental health concerns or substance abuse. $49,710 18%

Professional organizations

Professional organizations provide valuable resources such as networking events, continuing education opportunities, and the latest industry news. Some of the top organizations for Christian counselors include:

Financing Your Online Master’s in Christian Counseling Degree

Online degree programs tend to be more affordable than on-campus programs, but you still may need help paying for your degree. To access assistance, start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) — this will determine your eligibility for federally funded grants and loans. You may also be eligible for financial aid opportunities offered by your school, your church, philanthropic foundations, private companies, or other sources.

Student Finance Resources and Guides

As mentioned above, many different options are available for financing your education, and each has its own set of eligibility requirements and application deadlines. The resources listed below will help you sort through all this information and save as much money as possible.

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Interested in a degree?

Learn more about online degrees, their start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.