Career Opportunities for a Christian Counseling Degree
Christian counseling offers a rewarding career opportunity for those looking to serve others using the Christian faith as a foundation. For those who strongly identify with their faith, this extra focus on biblical teaching can provide an attractive addition to a more traditional secular education. There are several different ways to acquire a Christian counseling degree, but all will allow you the opportunity to assist others experiencing difficult or traumatic times. If you'd like to earn a faith-based counseling degree, read on to discover more about the programs and your career options.
Christian Counseling Program Requirements
A strong belief in the Christian faith is desirable for those who seek to become Christian counselors. Those specifically seeking faith-based counseling may want to discuss their challenges with a counselor who understands their worldview. Additionally, many of these programs are taught at religiously affiliated colleges and will likely require religious studies classes as a requirement of graduation. Most programs do not require special prerequisites for admission. However, always be sure to consult individual school admissions offices for specific requirements.
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Sample Courses for Christian Counseling
Christian counseling students will take many of the same classes as those in more secular psychology programs. The largest difference will be Bible-based classes.
Introduction to Psychology
This class will introduce basic information about the field of psychology. Students will learn about important psychologists throughout history, major content areas, and terminology specific to the field. High-level concepts will be introduced to lay the foundation for all future coursework.
Not all decisions in life are as clear as black and white with definitive 'right' and 'wrong' answers. Ethics classes will explore dilemmas professional psychologists may face. Issues will be analyzed through many different perspectives--like race, gender, or social class--to offer more complete viewpoints of a given subject. Case studies may also be used to initiate discussion.
Bible Studies/Intro to the Old and New Testaments
Christian counseling degrees will place a heavy emphasis on Bible education. These classes will familiarize students with key biblical figures, events, and scriptures. Each individual book of the Bible will be discussed at a high level with a focus on overarching narrative themes. Classes may also examine the evolution of the Christian faith through time and how it relates to the world today.
Human sexuality courses analyze the natural variations in human sexual behavior. Classes will discuss all aspects of human sexuality, including behavioral, spiritual, and social implications. These classes can also help prepare students by creating a broader basis of understanding for later work with clinical patients.
Topics like deviant behavior, criminality, and mental disorders are the primary focus of abnormal psychology classes at the undergraduate level. In abnormal psych, students will explore the causes of conditions like anxiety, depression, and other personality disorders. These classes will often tackle topics like criminal psychology and addiction, as well, to better prepare students for dealing with individuals of all backgrounds.
Service and Leadership
Faith-based institutions place a strong emphasis on service, and students in service and leadership classes will learn this firsthand. Classes will explore the morals of the Christian faith as well as what it means to serve God while serving others. Service and leadership classes teach students to live their lives as Christ lived for the benefit of society.
Classes with a focus on clinical treatment will prepare students to work directly with patients. Students will learn to better communicate with individuals in order to get to the root of difficulties and disorders. From there, students will also learn the basics for treatment of patients to influence desirable outcomes.
How to Choose the Right Christian Counseling Program
Counseling programs will vary greatly from completely secular to strict Bible-based teachings. Students will want to find a good fit for their personal faith. Additionally, different programs will offer teachings based on different denominations of the faith, so be sure to research the religious affiliation of the institution you wish to attend if applicable. Finally, many institutions offer both licensed and non-licensed program tracks, so those wishing to become practicing clinical psychologists will want to find a program designed to prepare graduates for further education and licensing.
Career Options for Christian Counseling Graduates
Typical Christian counseling graduates go on to work as counselors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is expected to grow by 23 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than the average growth rate. The median pay for these fields in 2017 was $43,300. Occupations worth considering for Christian counseling graduates to consider are listed below.