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:
|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.
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.
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 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.
|Financial Aid for Graduate Students|
|Knowing Your Options|
|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.