Online Christian Counseling Degrees

Online Christian Counseling Degrees

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Unlike traditional counseling, Christian counseling focuses on individuals' spiritual needs and growth. These counselors use a Bible-based perspective when helping clients. They spend much of their workday leading individual and small-group discussions, asking questions, and providing advice. Christian counselors work to improve clients' long-term mental health.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), mental health counselors earn a median salary of $42,840 per year. Aspiring Christian counselors can begin by earning an online Christian counseling degree. Online counseling programs are often more accessible and affordable than on-campus options.

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Christian Counseling Common Asked Questions by Students

Q. What jobs can you get with a Christian counseling degree?

Christian counselors can work for church-based counseling organizations. They can also start a private practice, work in women's shelters, or assist clients remotely.

Q. Can you be a Christian counselor without a license?

Christian counselors who work for churches or faith-based organizations do not need a license. However, counselors need a state-issued license to open a private practice.

Q. What's the difference between a therapist and a counselor?

Therapists and counselors generally work with different types of patients. Both therapists and counselors work with clients with conditions such as depression and anxiety. However, psychologists and psychiatrists also work with clients who have more severe problems.

Q. How much do counselors make a year?

According to BLS data, mental health counselors earn a median annual salary of $42,840. Factors influencing salary potential include licensure, education, and experience.

Why Get a Degree in Christian Counseling?

Many individuals pursue a degree in Christian counseling to increase their earning potential. Graduates often benefit from opportunities to achieve personal fulfillment and apply their faith in the workplace.

Earn More
According to the BLS, master's degree-holders earn a median weekly salary about $250 higher than that of professionals with a bachelor's degree.
Feel Accomplished
Earning a Christian counseling degree online requires time and dedication. Graduates often feel pride in the accomplishment.
Start a Faith-Based Career
Graduates of online Christian counseling degrees often secure positions in churches, faith-based counseling centers, and private practices.
Help Others
Traditional and Christian counselors strive to help clients overcome mental health problems, such as uncontrolled anger, grief, substance abuse, and addiction.
Network with Peers
While earning an online Christian counseling degree, students often network with peers, forging lifelong professional contacts in the Christian and counseling communities.

Courses in Christian Counseling School

Master's programs in the field typically prepare students to obtain a state-issued license. Professionals working for faith-based organizations can also earn the degree to improve their counseling skills. Curricula typically emphasize ethical considerations, crisis intervention techniques, and topics related to family dynamics. Degree-seekers typically demonstrate mastery of concepts during an internship experience.

The sample curriculum below highlights five courses students commonly take while earning a master's degree in Christian counseling. Course names and requirements vary by school, so students should contact an admissions or career counselor for details about their prospective program.

Theories and Models of Counseling

Christian counselors need a strong understanding of counseling history and best practices. This course introduces students to psychoanalytic, behavioral, and person-centered counseling. Learners evaluate each theory's usefulness in Christian counseling settings. The class also covers important figures such as Sigmund Freud and B.F. Skinner.

Principles of Psychopharmacology

Although licensed counselors with a master's degree cannot prescribe medication, they must know how various drugs affect individuals with psychological problems. Students in this class examine the behavioral and physiological effects of numerous medications. Learners also prepare to identify signs of drug abuse and intoxication.

Abuse, Crisis, and Trauma Counseling

Christian counselors often help patients who have suffered from abuse or trauma. Counselors apply specialized knowledge and strategies to help these clients. Degree-seekers in this course learn about various forms of domestic violence, such as spousal abuse, and prepare to identify signs of abuse in clients. Coursework also covers how child abuse impacts developing minds.

Counseled by God

In this course, learners pursuing their Christian counseling degree online analyze biblical principles regarding spiritual fulfillment, temptation, and depression's root causes. Students review relevant Bible passages and spiritual texts. Course requirements may include journal entries, tests, and a final paper.

Counseling the Adolescent and Their Families

Adolescents face unique psychological challenges, such as societal expectations and mental development during puberty. These challenges may cause friction within families. This course explores issues that adolescents commonly face and how positive family dynamics can encourage healthy mindsets. Learners typically complete tests and a research paper.

Scholarships for Christian Counseling Students

Private scholarship opportunities, such as those below, can help online Christian counseling degree-seekers avoid long-term student debt. Each of the following scholarship programs accepts applications in 2021. Typical application requirements include a satisfactory high school or college GPA, recommendation letters, and an essay.

American Music Therapy Association Scholarships

Who Can Apply: These scholarships support undergraduate and graduate students with a faculty recommendation. Applicants must submit a personal narrative, recommendation letters, and official transcripts.

Amount: Varies

Central California Asian Pacific Women Scholarships

Who Can Apply: Asian Pacific women residing in select central California counties can apply for these awards. The scholarship committee prefers applicants with a high GPA, leadership potential, and status as a first-generation college student.

Amount: Varies

NBCC Foundation Military Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship from the National Board for Certified Counselors supports active-duty service members, veterans, and military spouses. Candidates must be enrolled in an accredited master's in counseling program. The application window opens in May.

Amount: Up to $8,000

Online Christian Counseling Degrees


Lee University View School Profile Cleveland, TN $15170

Lee University's Division of Adult Learning (DAL) offers a bachelor's degree in ministry leadership. This program offers 8 different areas of emphasis, including 1 in counseling for those interested in a ministry counseling career or graduate studies in counseling. Online programs through DAL are available in fully online 7-week terms, or in a hybrid format, which consists of 7-week terms combined with 2-week on-campus intensives. Courses are delivered through Lee Online, using the Moodle platform, plus students participate in online meetings with instructors for lectures, group discussions and mentoring. Graduates of the ministry leadership program are required to earn 120 credit hours and maintain a GPA of at least 2.0 in major courses, which include 30 ministry leadership and 24 counseling concentration credit hours. For admission to Lee's DAL programs, students must have a GED or high school diploma along with 3 years of life experience beyond high school graduation, as programs are geared towards adult learners. In addition to Lee's regional accreditation, DAL programs are accredited by the Association of Christian Distance Education (ACCESS) and the Christian Adult Higher Education Association (CAHEA).

Johnson University View School Profile Knoxville, TN $13000

At Johnson University's School of Congregational Ministry, students may earn a BA or BS degree in pastoral care and counseling. The BS degree is 100% online, and the BA is almost completely online (students must complete the language requirements for the BA on-campus at Johnson or through another institution). The curriculum combines biblical and arts and sciences core courses for a well-rounded approach, preparing students for counseling and leadership ministry roles. Sample courses include pastoral counseling, ministry counseling, family services, and conflict and communication. Students without transfer credits typically take 4 years to complete the program, taking 2 courses during 7-week terms. Those with transfer courses can shorten this time frame considerably and can transfer up to 90 credits towards the 120 credits required for graduation. Students can also plan to transfer credits through Tennessee Transfer Pathways, which provides smooth transfer of specific associate degrees from Tennessee community colleges to Johnson bachelor's degree programs.

World Mission University View School Profile Los Angeles, CA $5520

The Bachelor of Arts in Christian Counseling at World Mission University (WMU) is geared toward students interested in a career in counseling-related ministry, as well as to those planning to continue with graduate work. This is a fully online, 4-year program, consisting of 126 semester credit hours, with 45 being general education credit requirements and the remainder consisting of Bible, theology and major courses. WMU allows up to 84 approved transfer credits for this program, meaning only 42 credits need to be completed at WMU. Students can earn credits through a senior thesis project, and they must demonstrate Christian character and pass the Bible Comprehensive exam prior to graduation. Admission to WMU programs is open to Christians of all denominations, and is based on both academic and spiritual criteria, which includes active participation in church, a Christian ministry calling and baptism. Students will interview with the program director to determine if they meet all the requirements.

The King's University View School Profile Southlake, TX $9960

For students interested in a career in ministry along with counseling, The King's University (TKU) offers a fully online bachelor's degree in biblical counseling. This is considered a pre-professional program, which prepares graduates to work in areas such as local churches, nonprofit service and freedom ministry, while also providing a solid foundation for graduate-level studies in counseling or Divinity. Students will complete 124 credit hours prior to graduation, with a majority of the curriculum being general education and major courses, along with electives, Christian Foundation courses and practicum/experiential learning. Courses are offered in accelerated 7-week or traditional 15-week formats, and depending on transferable credits, program length can vary. Students can transfer up to 90 credit hours earned from previous colleges and may also be able to earn credits for previous life experience or CLEP testing. TKU is accredited by both TRACS (Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools) and ABHE (Association of Biblical Higher Education).

Grace Christian University View School Profile Wyoming, MI $11890

For students interested in a career involving Christian-based counseling, Grace Christian University offers a Bachelor of Science in Human Services degree. The program blends general psychological principles, traditional counseling methods and biblical counseling components to prepare students to bring a Christian outlook and ethics to their work. While it is geared towards those planning to serve individuals or communities in areas such as education, corrections, social services, recreation and business, it can also be applied in other careers or serve as a foundation for graduate work. The accelerated bachelor's degree portion of the program takes about 24 months to complete and consists of 48 core and 12 concentration credits. Classes cover topics such as the theology of leadership, working with teams, survival psychology and biblical counseling. Students can transfer credits from other schools to meet the 120 total credits necessary for graduation. A capstone project is also required.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University View School Profile Waxahachie, TX $18900

Students interested in a career in Christian counseling can find several 100% online bachelor's programs at Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) to give them the background they need, including a counseling major that is a pre-professional degree, and a human services major with a counseling focus. For students planning to work in ministry and interested in counseling, SAGU offers an online bachelor's degree in child and family studies, which focuses on counseling, relationships and child development. While these are considered traditional degrees, all programs at SAGU integrate Christian faith with learning, and the curriculum is taught with a Christian worldview. In addition to typical college admissions requirements, students applying to SAGU must provide a Christian character reference along with demonstration of a born-again spiritual experience. Graduates from this program have found work in areas such as spiritual care, rehabilitation counseling, youth programs, social services, orphanages and in hospitals. Many also continue on to graduate school and earn licensure within the counseling field.

Oral Roberts University View School Profile Tulsa, OK $24750

Oral Roberts University is a Christian-centered institution based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is open to people of all denominations and is committed to a "Whole Person Education" philosophy of improving the spirit, mind and body. Among its available programs, ministry and leadership is its most popular, and its theology programs are accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. ORU offers a 128-credit-hour, 4-year, online Bachelor of Science degree in Christian caregiving and counseling that combines psychology, crisis intervention, and assessment and evaluation with Christian caregiving courses such as developing helping skills or teaching the bible, to provide students with the skill sets needed to pursue careers in lay or pastoral counseling, or as community health workers or substance-abuse counselors. Each course term is 7 weeks long, and terms run year round so that students may complete their degrees earlier. A senior practicum paper is required in the final year.

John Wesley University View School Profile High Point, NC $10500

At John Wesley University, all undergraduate degrees are considered a double major ? each student completes their chosen major alongside a Bible/theology major. Students interested in an online Christian counseling degree can earn a BA in Christian ministry, with a concentration in counseling. The program includes internship and Christian community service requirements to prepare graduates to work as counselors in churches, camps, ministries and human service agencies, or to practice non-licensed Christian counseling for individuals, groups, couples and families. For those wanting to gain state licensing to become a counselor, this program serves as a solid foundation for the graduate studies required to do so. Students can complete the program in 4 years or less, depending on previous credits earned. There is no minimum credit hour requirement for transfer students, but a quarter of the 120 credits required for graduation must be earned at John Wesley. Students may also earn credits based on CLEP or DANTES testing, previous military and professional training and lifelong learning experiences.

Toccoa Falls College View School Profile Toccoa Falls, GA $20714

At Toccoa Falls College, students planning to work in areas such as ministry counseling, education and human services can earn a fully online bachelor's degree in counseling psychology, and can choose from minors in psychology, family studies or counseling. This degree also provides a stepping stone to graduate school for a professional counseling degree and licensure. The program typically takes 4 years but can be completed in fewer years with transferred credits. Students must earn 126 credits in order to graduate, and will also be required to participate in an internship along with research, service and outreach activities. Optional opportunities for involvement for online students includes intramural sports (if they live within a certain distance from the campus), student clubs, participation in the commencement ceremony, online videos of chapel services and opportunities for study abroad. Special tuition discounts are available for eligible full-time online students, such as for those living in certain counties, and a 50% tuition reduction for full-time emergency first responders.

Johnson University Florida View School Profile Kissimmee, FL $13200

Johnson University in Florida is part of the Johnson University System and offers a variety of bachelor's degrees through Johnson University Online, including a BS or BA in pastoral care and counseling. This program prepares students to work in counseling and leadership roles within the ministry. It's considered a 100% online program; however, the BA degree does require an on-campus foreign language component. All students will participate in a professional internship prior to graduation, and must earn 120 credits for program completion. The program usually takes 4 years to complete, but with up to 90 allowable transfer credits, this time frame can be shortened considerably. For the 4-year plan, students take 2 courses per 7-week term, including over the summer. Courses are asynchronous, and delivered through Sakai, the college's Learning Management System (LMS) that serves as the online classroom and main hub for online students, and provides students access to assignments, video conferences, chat features, discussion forums and group projects.

The Baptist College of Florida View School Profile Graceville, FL $9900

The Baptist College of Florida offers all coursework in a fully online format, including a program to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology for those looking to pursue a career in Christian counseling. Applicants must submit a letter of recommendation from a church that they have been involved with for a minimum of 1 year, transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. They must also be able to demonstrate a strong sense of moral character. Upon admission, students participate in 120 credit hours of classes, which have to be completed with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Curriculum is taught through the web platform MyBCF and covers topics such as Christian doctrine, abnormal psychology, research design and personality theory. Online learners have access to the library and bookstore to assist in their studies. Following graduation, students are prepared to enter graduate and doctoral programs for counseling fields. Residents and non-residents pay the same discounted tuition rates for online programs.

Oklahoma Wesleyan University View School Profile Bartlesville, OK $23720

Students interested in Christian counseling and who already possess some college credit can complete their undergraduate studies by enrolling in Oklahoma Wesleyan University's online psychology program. The degree, which is rooted in biblical values, requires the fulfillment of 126 credit hours with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Degree-specific coursework must be taken through university offerings. Upon graduation, students will be equipped to work toward a higher degree. The Student Success Center is available to connect learners with a variety of services such as free peer tutoring and access to resume writing software. The school also engages online students by recording services and speakers at the Chapel at OKWU. If you are interested in applying, you will need to provide transcripts demonstrating a 3.0 grade point average. There are a number of school-funded financial aid and scholarship opportunities including awards granted to full-time missionaries, valedictorians and pastors. Active-duty members of the military receive a discounted tuition rate and fee waivers.

Ohio Christian University View School Profile Circleville, OH $10468

OCUOnline Plus is a program developed by Ohio Christian University that provides students with opportunities to complete online undergraduate studies while engaging in additional credit-earning experiences. For example, those interested in Christian counseling can work toward earning a bachelor's degree in psychology and simultaneously study at the Saint Bible Institute in Italy. In order to be admitted you must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA, as well as an ACT score of 19+, SAT score of 980+ or CLT score of 50-54. For those who already possess a minimum of 50 college credits with a 2.0 grade point average, there is an accelerated online option for degree completion. Both pathways require a total of 120 credits in general education and field-specific coursework such as Abnormal Psychology and Spiritual Elements of Illness and Recovery. You must maintain a 2.0 GPA for credits to count toward graduation. The school prides itself on providing scholarship opportunities and military discounts, noting that 85% of students receive financial aid.

Dallas Christian College View School Profile Dallas, TX $16544

The FLEXCampus at Dallas Christian University offers students a choice in how they prefer to attend courses each week. They can use live web conferencing to engage in real-time lectures, watch a recording of the class on their own schedule, or attend class on campus. These options are available for a number of degrees, including a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Bible. The program, which equips students to continue on toward graduate studies in Christian counseling, calls for 129 credit hours. Curriculum explores cognition and emotion, the psychology of leadership and pastoral counseling. Students must receive a 2.0 cumulative GPA in order to graduate. Student Services are available to assist in reaching these requirements. Tutoring is available 7 days a week, counselors offer academic and personal guidance and mentoring programs provide spiritual encouragement. Prospective students will submit an application, a pastoral or church reference and an essay pinpointing spiritual and academic goals.

Horizon University View School Profile San Diego, CA $9000

Students interested in pursuing graduate studies in Christian counseling or teaching theology or working in ministry can enroll in Horizon University's bachelor's degree in biblical studies. Students in this program will complete 36 general education credits, 24 elective credits and 66 credits focused on the bible and ministry. A practicum field experience is also required in order to graduate. Curriculum explores counseling, church history, international missions and leadership. The school's online library is host to a number of resources as you work to satisfy a total of 126 credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA. This includes access to theological research databases, citation tools and writing assistance. The Chaplain engages the campus community by posting devotions on the My Horizon Activity Feed and is also available to provide students with individual counseling. Applicants submit transcripts and a 300-word writing sample describing their academic goals and spiritual journey. You will also participate in an interview.

Messenger College View School Profile Euless, TX $7800

Graduates of Messenger College's online program to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Counseling are equipped to pursue a higher degree or enter the workforce as social work technicians, client advocates and pastoral counselors. Curriculum involves 129 credit hours in coursework such as Person and Work of the Holy Spirit and Practical Ministry Training. You must maintain a 2.0 GPA throughout coursework to complete this degree. However, students intending to continue on to graduate school are encouraged to maintain a 3.0 average. Your application must include ACT or SAT scores, transcripts demonstrating a 2.0 GPA, 2 references and an admissions essay. The college works to engage online learners by posting recordings of chapel services and providing a link to submit prayer requests. You can also access a number of resources and tutorials through the virtual library. In-state and out-of-state enrollees pay the same tuition rates and there are a number of school-sponsored scholarships to help cut down on costs.

Charlotte Christian College and Theological Seminary View School Profile Charlotte, NC $9360

Charlotte Christian College and Theological Seminary provides a Christ-centered education that is committed to high quality academics, the building of strong interpersonal skills and rooting the curriculum within a moral constitution. For students interested in Christian counseling, the college offers the online Bachelor of Arts in Urban Christian Ministries Concentration in Counseling. The entire program requires the completion of 128 credit hours. The major requirements (36 hours) include courses such as Christian Messages and the World Religions, Personal Evangelism, Demography and The Urban Church. The concentration requirements (30 hours) includes courses such as Basic Pastoral Counseling, Abnormal Psychology, Addiction Issues and The Christian and Sexuality. The program helps bring the practical aspects of counseling in an urban environment, including patient interaction and diagnosis, into a Christian context. Graduates will be prepared to serve as counselors within a religious and ministerial context.

Trinity College of Florida View School Profile Trinity, FL $14850

Trinity College of Florida offers a unique degree completion program called TrinityQuest that can be completed either through evening courses or completely online. TrinityQuest is specifically designed for busy working adults who have already achieved part of their degree and wish to complete a major of courses related Christian counseling at a flexible pace. For those students, Trinity offers the Bachelor of Science in Counseling Psychology program, where students will gain a foundation in counseling and psychology theory, develop strong professional counseling skills, and understand and weigh research and evidence while integrating Christian values into their discipline. Graduates of the bachelor's degree must achieve a total of 123 semester hours; however, the TrinityQuest program requires 54 of those semester hours to be in counseling and psychology coursework. Courses include Introduction to Counseling, Christian Theology, Cognitive Psychology and Psychopathology. All students must participate in a counseling psychology internship to graduate.

Bethel College View School Profile Hampton, VA $8000

Bethel College has a mission to help men and women who are called to ministry to pursue further learning in a specific area related to their Christian faith. For students interested in counseling, Bethel offers the online Bachelor of Science in Church Ministries Christian Counseling Concentration. This program is designed specifically to prepare students for advanced studies in Christian counseling or pastoral care. While this program provides practical opportunities to develop counseling skills, it is non-clinical and doesn't meet counseling licensure requirements. To graduate, student must achieve 130 credit hours, 26 of which are Biblical Studies courses, such as Old Testament Survey, New Testament Survey and Principles of Bible Study; 6 are Theological Studies credits, such as Theology I & II; and 62 hours are Professional Studies courses, such as Developmental Psychology, Issues of Christian Counseling, Psychology of Personality and Christian Counseling for Women. The program requires 2 semesters of a practicum and 1 semester of a ministry internship to put Christian counseling skills into practice.

Arlington Baptist College View School Profile Arlington, TX $10110

Arlington Baptist College's Biblical Counseling Online Program is rooted in the idea that changing the heart is the key to changing behavior and outlook through counseling. The online program follows the same degree plan as the on-campus program, but it is offered in a flexible distance education format. To graduate, students must complete 130 credit hours of coursework. The course plan is fairly prescriptive, with a 4-year map of programming for full-time students that integrates all of the general credits and major credits cohesively throughout the program. For example, first-year students complete 30 credit hours in coursework such as Biblical Worldview, Christian Service and Introduction to Biblical Counseling. Second-year students complete 38 credit hours in courses such as Bible Doctrine, Theological Basis of Counseling and Personal Life/Evangelism. Third-year students complete 37 credit hours in areas such as Biblical Conflict Resolution, The Acts of the Apostles and Biblical Languages (these credits include summer coursework between the sophomore and junior year and between junior and senior year). Finally, students in their fourth year complete 25 credits in courses such as Marriage and Family Counseling, Cross Cultural Ministry and Group Discipleship. Throughout the program, students complete a Christian Service credit each semester that integrates a practical element of service. Students also must complete a practicum in their final semester.

Thomas Broderick

Thomas Broderick is a freelance writer and the owner of Broderick Writer LLC. He creates study guides, informational websites, and blog posts for clients in the education field. Thomas is also a published author of over 20 short stories and a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

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