Counselors play an important role in the society by helping people who suffer from a variety of diseases and personal life struggles to deal better with their situations. Christian counselors use different aspects of Christian faith including biblical doctrine to provide treatment. These counselors can be specialists in certain areas or may provide counselling on a broader level. Some of the common specializations include addiction counseling, marriage and family counseling and mental health counseling. A bachelor’s degree is mostly the minimum required qualification in this profession. Further education can increase employment options. Christian counselors find jobs in a variety of settings like churches, rehabilitation centers, mental health centers and hospitals.
Below is a list of most affordable colleges to do a degree in Christian counseling:
|Rank||Univeristy||Annual tuition fee|
|#2||Maranatha Baptist University||$5,355|
|#4||Ohio Christian University||$7,590|
|#5||Grace College and Theological Seminary||$7,626|
|#6||Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary||$8,395|
|#7||Regent University Online||$8,925|
|#9 (tie)||Faulkner University||$10,170|
|#9 (tie)||Liberty University||$10,170|
|#11||California Southern University||$10,395|
|#12||Ottawa University Online||$11,430|
|#13||Missouri Baptist University||$11,760|
|#14||Dallas Baptist University||$17,262|
|#15||Southwestern Assemblies of God University||$21,060|
Christian counseling degrees are generally offered at three levels, i.e. a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and a doctoral degree. Let us take a look at what these entail.
This is often the minimum requirement for getting employment as a Christian counsellor in most organizations. The program usually is four years long and are offered by a number of universities, seminaries and local vocational education centers. The program usually consists of course work in subjects such as general psychology, statistical concepts, theories of personality, addiction counseling and treatment, marriage and family counselling, group techniques of counseling, biblical psychology, and diversity issues in counseling and the application of biblical teachings in helping out individual patients. These programs have usually 120-credit hours. The average cost of a bachelor’s degree in Christian counselling is around $51,600.
An individual with a bachelor’s degree in Christian counseling may pursue a number of careers such as mental health counseling, marriage and family counseling and addiction counseling. Some students also choose to study further and do a master’s degree
It has become increasingly common for students to pursue a master degree after doing a bachelor’s degree. Graduates set themselves apart from other peers in the field. They are hence preferred by employers. License requirements in certain states may even mandate a master’s degree. Admission into a master’s program usually requires a bachelor degree from a good accredited university. The exact requirements may differ from one university to another. The cost of a master’s program is typically around $16,950 and $19,350.
The coursework usually consists of in depth knowledge about topics learnt during the bachelor’s program. Topics such as human growth and development, biblical foundation for counselors, eating disorders, crisis and trauma counseling are often taught. The program consists typically of 60 credit hours. Graduates can work as counselors in various settings such as private companies, hospitals and addiction rehabilitation centers.
Individuals who are interested in research, private practice or teaching usually seek a PhD. Such a program usually consists of 50 to 120 credit hours and students typically take five to seven years to complete the program. The requirements to get admitted to such a program typically consists of a master’s degree in an aligned discipline with good grads. Since this is a higher level degree, entrance exams and interviews are also common during the admission process. The total cost of doing a doctorate is $29,810 to $52,941.
To practice as a counselor, individuals need to get a license after graduation for which there are two possible options that are available. These two options are state licensing and Christian certification.
- State Licensing: Graduates with a master degree and sufficient work experience are eligible to sit for the exam for a state license. The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) is the organization that grants licenses at the state level. He exact laws differ from state to state. There may be some restrictions when it comes to incorporating biblical doctrine in the counseling sessions.
- Christian Certification: This is an ideal option for individuals who desire to practice with no restraints on incorporating biblical doctrine in their counseling sessions The International Association of Christian Counseling Professionals (IACCP) offers certification at four different levels. The offered levels depend on the individual’s highest educational degree.
Selecting the right university
Choosing the right university and program is the most important decision that students have to make as this can influence future job prospects. As there are hundreds of universities to choose from, selecting the right one becomes a difficult task. Schools offer programs which have varied focuses, and it is hence crucial to evaluate your own interests and career goals. The right school for someone else might not fit your educational needs and may not be the right one for you. It is also important to take into consideration the kind of accreditation the college has. Accreditation is a symbol of quality of the college itself and the program. It shows whether a certain college or program lives up to the set quality standards. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is the main body that gives accreditation to Christian counseling programs. Employers often take the accreditation of the university into consideration while looking for new employees. Accreditation status can have a big impact on the chances of receiving financial aid or to transfer credits to another degree or school, if needed. The information about accreditation is generally easily available on the website of the school.
In today’s internet age, education online has become more accessible than ever before. Online degrees have grown in popularity in the last few years and there is a rapid rise in the number of students choosing an online degree over a traditional on-campus degree. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), one in three students in the USA is now taking at least one class online. There are several amazing programs available online which are offered by various universities. Most of these programs are not in any way inferior to a program offered on-campus. There are now several universities that offer an online degree in Christian counseling. Career opportunities for people with an online degree are only on the rise.
The cost of a college degree can vary significantly depending on the college, the type of degree and the major. Tuition fees for online degrees aren’t really cheaper than on-campus degree programs, but you can save money in other aspects such as the cost of relocation or commutation and cost of materials. The flexibility offered by online degrees also gives you an opportunity to work alongside your studies.
Most students taking up online programs, pay out of pocket or by taking education loans from banks or by getting help from relatives. There are several online colleges that also allow tuition fee payment in zero interest installments under the condition that the entire sum must be paid off by the end of each term.
The bottom line
A career in Christian counseling can be a very gratifying, especially for individuals who desire to put help troubled people. It is advisable to thoroughly do your research about the various universities, programs and career options before taking the decision to enrol in a program.
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