Christian Counselor Career Information
Christian counselors deal with many of the same issues as secular counselors but do so while being guided by faith teachings, scripture, and church doctrine. Christian counselors might help clients through relationship issues, mental health problems, as well as other stressors and concerns. Since this field can require licensure, it can be difficult to prepare for this career entirely online.
|Required Skills||Compassion, empathy, listening skills, biblical knowledge|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||22% (for all Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$44,630 (for all Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Online Steps for Becoming a Christian Counselor
Christian counselors can work individually, with a church, or for other Christian groups or organizations. Different organizations might have different requirements for employment, and clients themselves can have a variety of preferred qualifications they look for in a Christian counselor; however, the following steps can be completed with the help of online resources except for the hands-on experience needed for graduate degree completion and licensure.
Step 1: Complete a Bachelor's Degree
Having a bachelor's degree is considered the minimum educational requirement for working as a counselor involving behavioral or mental health. Completing an online bachelor's degree program in psychology is, therefore, an effective first step on your way to becoming a professional Christian counselor. Some online programs even offer a focus on Christian counseling. Sample topics in these programs could include abnormal psychology, Christian counseling, marriage and family counseling, and Christian counseling for children. Having a bachelor's degree is also required for those wishing to pursue a master's degree and other graduate education options. These programs are typically four-year programs, although program duration can depend on your individual course load as well as your status as either a full-time or part-time student.
Step 2: Consider a Master's Degree
Employers can require that you have a master's degree before considering you for a position as a Christian counselor. There are online options for earning a master's degree from a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)-approved program. Completion times for these programs will also depend on your desired course load. Some schools offer part-time and full-time tracks as well as accelerated tracks. However, it's important to note that these programs typically require students to complete in-person clinical training and an internship in addition to online coursework.
Step 3: Qualify for Licensure
Christian counselor positions might also require you to hold state licensure. Prerequisites for licensure can include the completion of a master's degree program and up to 4,000 hours of supervised work experience in addition to earning passing scores on an exam.
Step 4: Consider Certification
Holding voluntary professional certification is one way to demonstrate your expertise in Christian counseling techniques to potential employers. The American Institute of Health Care Professionals (AIHCP) offers a program leading to a Spiritual Christian Counseling Certification. Enrollment in this certification program has many prerequisite options that will already have been met by you via the previous steps in this guideline. Individuals who also complete AIHCP's continuing education courses earn certification and can use the initials SCC-C (Spiritual Christian Counselor, Certified) after their names. This certification has a four-year validity period and can be renewed through continuing education courses.