Top 25 Most Affordable Advanced Degrees in Pastoral Care and Counseling 2018

Best Counseling Degrees - Most Affordable-01
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By Kirsten Hughes
March 2018

Welcome to our ranking of the most affordable graduate degrees in pastoral counseling, updated for 2018. Pastoral Counseling is a field of counseling that integrates psychotherapy and theology. Practitioners are often trained ministers, rabbis, priests, and other individuals with a strong commitment to their faith. This profession combines traditional religious training and world views with behavioral health training and principals. Clients are drawn to pastoral counselors knowing that they are trained in issues of spirituality and faith and will incorporate this central aspect of clients’ lives when supporting them through challenging life events and stages.

Pastoral counselors work with individuals, couples, families, and groups to offer spiritual support and guidance. Pastoral counselors work in a variety of settings including churches, mental health counseling centers, substance abuse treatment centers, hospitals, shelters, and private practice. Pastoral counselors work with diverse populations in a broad range of settings while consistently considering and holding a commitment to the client’s spiritual and emotional wellbeing. Depending on graduate coursework and state licensure requirements, pastoral counselors may have the option of pursuing licensure. However, many pastoral counselors are not required to be licensed to work in certain settings, such as within the church, and choose instead to obtain recognition from professional organizations. For more information see the following article: What Level of Education Does a Pastoral Counselor Need?

The degrees included on this list include everything from a 36 credit Biblical Counseling program, available fully online, and designed for individuals serving strictly in the church, to a 64 credit, CACREP accredited Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program designed to prepare graduates for professional licensure. We are confident that if you are looking for a program focused on pastoral care and counseling you will find the right program here!

Ranking the Most Affordable Master’s in Pastoral Counseling

#25 Lancaster Bible College

Lancaster, PA

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

lancaster-bible-college-lancaster-pa-master-of-arts-in-clinical-mental-health-counselingA Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is offered at Lancaster Bible College. Students will find a number of other graduate degrees offered that may be of interest as well at Lancaster Bible College. The curriculum focuses on Biblical truth and principles while integrating theories of psychotherapy for the practice of counseling. The program combines online learning with face-to-face classroom instruction and evening and weekend classes in an effort to provide a flexible learning environment to meet the needs of all students. The program can be completed in as little as two years.

Courses include: orientation to counseling and psychology; helping relationships; professional ethics in counseling and psychological casework; group counseling leadership skills; counseling and psychological assessment techniques; counseling addictions; human sexuality; and marriage and family issues.

  • Cost: $9,960.00
  • Regional Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Religious Accreditation: Association for Biblical Higher Education

#24 Columbia International University

Columbia, SC

Master of Arts in Counseling

Master of Arts in Ministry Care

Master of Divinity in Pastoral Care

columbia-international-university-pastoral-care-degreeColumbia International University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling, a Master of Arts in Ministry Care, and a Master of Divinity in Pastoral Care. These graduate degrees all have a counseling focus but prepare graduates for different types of careers. The Master of Arts in Counseling is accredited by the CACREP and designed to support Christian students in becoming licensed professional mental health counselors. The Master of Arts in Ministry Care focuses on preparing graduates to use biblical and counseling resources to support the emotional and spiritual health of diverse populations in a variety of settings. The Master of Divinity in Pastoral Care prepares graduates to use Biblical-theological knowledge to serve and counsel individuals in a ministry or church setting.

Courses include: applied Biblical foundations of counseling; foundations of clinical mental health counseling; personal and spiritual development; foundations of marriage and family counseling; clinical counseling orientation; multicultural counseling; counseling theory; professional orientation and ethics; counseling techniques; and career development.

  • Cost: $9,540.00
  • Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Religious Accreditation: Association for Biblical Higher Education

#23 William Carey University

Hattiesburg, MS

Master of Science in Christian Counseling

william-carey-university-hattiesburg-ms-master-of-science-in-christian-counselingA Master of Science in Christian Counseling is offered at William Carey University. This degree is available in two different formats, one is designed for individuals who plan to pursue professional licensure and one is designed for ministers who are exempt from licensure requirements. The licensure track program requires the completion of 60 credits. The program for ordained ministers requires the completion of 36 credits. Both tracks of study include core courses, a practicum and internship experience, along with the opportunity to select electives in counseling that match the students’ area of interest and professional goals.

Courses include: advanced developmental psychology; multicultural counseling; psychological aspects of aging; orientation to professional counseling; lifestyle and career development; psychopathology; principles of Christian counseling; crisis counseling; marriage and family counseling; techniques of group counseling; psychology of religion; and counseling skill and techniques.

  • Cost: $8,400.00
  • Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

#22 Criswell College

Dallas, TX

Master of Arts in Counseling

criswell-college-master-of-arts-in-counselingCriswell College offers a Master of Arts in Counseling. This degree allows students to select a track of study between the non-licensure track (36 credits) and the licensure track (60 credits). Students will learn through a Christian worldview that considers and includes current research within the field of counseling and psychology. The central focus of the program is to train graduates to be Biblically and empirically-based counselors. Graduates will be prepared to work effectively with individuals, couples, and families in a variety of secular and nonsecular settings.

Courses include: personal evangelism; introduction to psychology; spiritual foundations; counseling theories; social, cultural, and family issues; counseling methods and techniques; marriage and family counseling; conflict management; and educational psychology.

  • Cost: $8,190.00
  • Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Religious Accreditation: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools

#21 Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

Master of Divinity with a specialization in Pastoral Counseling

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

liberty-university-pastoral-care-degreeLiberty University offers a Master of Divinity with a specialization in Pastoral Counseling and a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The Master of Divinity with a specialization in Pastoral Counseling can be completed for 75 credits and is available on-campus and online. The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is accredited by the CACREP, and is available on-campus for 60 credits. Liberty University offers coursework through a faith-based perspective. Graduates of these programs will be ethically and spiritually aware as they counsel individuals, couples, and families facing challenging situations and circumstances.

Courses include: introduction to pastoral counseling; premarital and marital counseling; ethics and Christian ministry; ethical and legal issues in counseling; human growth and development; multicultural counseling; theories of counseling; group counseling; career development and counseling; and crisis counseling.

  • Cost: $8,051.00
  • Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Religious Accreditation: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools

#20 Grace College and Theological Seminary

Winona Lake, IN

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

grace-college-and-theological-seminary-winona-lake-in-master-of-arts-in-clinical-mental-health-counselingGrace College and Theological Seminary offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. This is a 60 credit CACREP accredited program that can be completed online (with an annual 7-10 day residency) in 6-8 semesters. The program emphasizes a commitment to Scripture integrated with psychology and the social sciences. Graduates of the program will be prepared to pursue professional licensure with completed supervised clinical hours and the national licensure examination. Licensure requirements vary by state and students are encouraged to consult their home state licensing board to determine if the program requirements meet the students home state licensure standards.

Courses include: theological foundations in counseling; ethical and legal issues; psychopathology; counseling skills; personality and counseling theories; human growth and development; group counseling; assessment and testing; social and cultural issues; lifestyle and career counseling; addictions counseling; marriage and family counseling; and psychotherapy with children and adolescents.

  • Cost: $7,872.00
  • Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

#19 Lincoln Christian University

Lincoln, IL

Master of Arts in Counseling

Master of Divinity

lincoln-christian-university-pastoral-care-degreeLincoln Christian University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling and a Master of Divinity in Christian Ministries. The Master of Arts in Counseling is a 60 credit program that is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and emphasizes a commitment to learning and counseling through a Biblical worldview. Students will move through the program with their cohort and upon graduation be prepared for the state and national licensure examinations. The Master of Divinity degree offers a specialization in Christian Ministries which includes Pastoral Care and Counseling. This 75 credit program offers students flexible options of study with a traditional on-campus program as well as a hybrid format which offers two-thirds of the courses online with the remaining third offered on-campus in week-long intensives.

Courses include: introduction to God’s world; systematic theology; basic counseling techniques; multicultural counseling; ethical and legal issues for counselors and other Christian leaders; biblical interpretation for ministry; Christianity through the ages; and understanding contemporary mindsets.

  • Cost: $7,812.00
  • Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Religious Accreditation: Association for Biblical Higher Education

#18 Gardner-Webb University

Boiling Springs, NC

Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Care and Counseling

Master of Divinity / Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling

gardner-webb-university-boiling-springs-nc-doctor-of-ministry-in-pastoral-care-and-counseling-master-of-divinity-master-of-arts-in-mental-health-counselingGardner-Webb University offers a Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Care and Counseling as well as a dual degree with the Master of Divinity/ Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling. Students at Gardner-Webb University have the opportunity to choose a graduate degree at the master’s or doctoral level which focuses on training students to successfully integrate theology, faith, spirituality, and counseling theory. Students in the doctoral program will engage in a rigorous 400 hours of supervised ministry along with 100 hours in group/peer experiences or individual supervision. Students in the 120 credit hour dual masters program will engage in coursework evenly distributed between 60 credits in the School of Divinity and 60 credits in the School of Psychology and Counseling.

Courses include: ministry as lifelong learning – pastoral care and counseling; interpersonal relationships and family systems theory; issues in advanced pastoral care and counseling; crisis intervention theories; and clinical aspects of care.

  • Cost: $7,722.00
  • Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

#17 Ohio Christian University

Circleville, OH

Master of Arts in Ministry with a concentration in Pastoral Care and Counseling

ohio-christian-university-circleville-oh-master-of-arts-in-ministry-with-a-concentration-in-pastoral-care-and-counselingOhio Christian University offers a Master of Arts in Ministry with a concentration in Pastoral Care and Counseling. The program is focused on counseling ministry for individuals who want to work in the church setting rather than in community or private practice (which requires professional licensure). The coursework required for the Pastoral Care and Counseling concentration will support graduates in working effectively with individuals, couples, and families facing a variety of personal, spiritual, and/or life challenges.

Courses include: ministry essentials; pastoral caregiver; worship in the church; new testament history and interpretation; old testament history and interpretation; history of Christian thought; methods of pastoral counseling; ethical and legal issues in pastoral counseling; spiritual issues in pastoral counseling; and pastoral intervention.

  • Cost: $7,580.00
  • Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Religious Accreditation: Association for Biblical Higher Education

#16 The King’s University

Southlake, TX

Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

the-kings-university-southlake-tx-master-of-marriage-and-family-therapyThe King’s University offers a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy. The program emphasizes a commitment to using psychological theories along with Biblical truths in the practice of marriage and family therapy. Students in this 60 credit program will learn systems theory, ethical practice, spiritual-awareness, and how to engage in and apply empirically based research. The program is designed to prepare students to successfully complete the national licensure examination in marriage and family therapy.

Courses include: research methods in counseling; Christian counseling; current trends in counseling; assessment; ethical and legal counseling issues; health family systems; advanced counseling theories; advanced group counseling; marriage and family therapy; advanced crisis counseling; counseling diverse populations; advanced human development; personal and professional self-awareness; and career counseling.

  • Cost: $7,380.00
  • Religious Accreditation: Association for Biblical Higher Education
  • Religious Accreditation: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools

#15 Moody Bible Institute

Chicago, IL

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

moody-bible-institute-chicago-il-master-of-arts-in-clinical-mental-health-counselingMoody Bible Institute Theological Seminary offers a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students in the program learn to integrate Biblical insight with their clinical training for their future work as a professional counselor. This is a 60 credit degree that can be completed on-campus in Chicago or through a combination of online and on-campus courses. The graduating class in 2017 had a 100% pass rate on the National Counselor Examination and a 100% job placement. Graduates of the program have utilized their counseling skills in a variety of settings such as mental health clinics, hospitals, missions organizations, and in faith-based and university counseling centers.

Courses include: psychopathology; theories of counseling; professional identity and ethical practice; assessment techniques in counseling; group theory and dynamics; counseling techniques; human development; diversity and multicultural issues; substance abuse and addictive behaviors; career development and counseling; marriage and family dynamics; and systematic Christian theology.

  • Cost: $7,380.00
  • Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Religious Accreditation: Association for Biblical Higher Education

#14 Charlotte Christian College and Theological Seminary

Charlotte, NC

Master of Divinity with a concentration in Pastoral Counseling

charlotte-christian-college-and-theological-seminary-charlotte-nc-master-of-divinity-with-a-concentration-in-pastoral-counselingCharlotte Christian College and Theological Seminary offers a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Pastoral Counseling. This is a 96 credit graduate program that provides specialized training in pastoral counseling through coursework, research, practicum and internship experiences, and a final thesis.

Courses include: introduction to pastoral care; spiritual formation and growth; new testament introduction; theology of the old testament; pastoral counseling; Christian ethics; premarital and marital counseling; advanced issues of counseling; grief and loss counseling; theological foundations of biblical counseling; clinical foundations to biblical counseling; and addictions.

  • Cost: $7,350.00
  • Religious Accreditation: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools

#13 Maranatha Baptist University

Watertown, WI

Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling

maranatha-baptist-university-watertown-wi-master-of-arts-in-biblical-counselingA Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling is offered at Maranatha Baptist Seminary. This 33 credit program can be completed on campus in the classroom or online. All students will complete a Biblical Counseling Internship under the supervision of an approved university mentor. Students will learn to counsel individuals in crisis in ministry settings or contexts, such as in the church, youth groups, or on missions. Graduates of the program will also be prepared for continued graduate study.

Courses include: methods of biblical change; counseling problems and procedures; crisis counseling; marriage and family counseling; biblical counseling seminar; counseling addictive behavior; proverbs and counseling; and counseling survivors of abuse.

  • Cost: $7,200.00
  • Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

#12 Faith International University

Tacoma, WA

Master of Arts in Christian Counseling

faith-international-university-tacoma-wa-master-of-arts-in-christian-counselingFaith International University offers a Master of Arts in Christian Counseling. This program is designed to meet the needs of students who want to work in the church as pastoral counselors and/or in the community as licensed professional counselors. The curriculum which combines theory and practice, integrates a theological foundation with Christian-based counseling. This 72 credit program will prepare graduates to take the National Counselor Exam or the National Certified Mental Health Counselor Exam which can lead to licensure. Students who are interested in pursuing licensure are encouraged to consult their home state licensing board to determine if the program’s curriculum meets state licensure requirements as they vary by state. Graduates of the program have gone on to pursue careers in settings including: Church/para-church ministries; community mental health clinics; social service agencies; military agencies; drug and alcohol treatment centers; hospitals; and private practice.

Courses include: essential doctrines of Christian counseling; foundations of biblical counseling; introduction to pastoral counseling; introduction to crisis intervention; introduction to marriage and family counseling; human growth and development; cross-cultural counseling; advanced marriage and family counseling; domestic violence and anger management; addictions and substance abuse; group counseling; psychopathology; and legal and ethical issues in counseling.

  • Cost: $6,720.00
  • Religious Accreditation: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools

#11 Shasta Bible College and Graduate School

Redding, CA

Master of Divinity in Biblical Counseling and Christian Family

Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling

shasta-bible-college-and-graduate-school-redding-ca-master-of-divinity-in-biblical-counseling-and-christian-family-master-of-arts-in-biblical-counselingShasta Bible College and Graduate School offers a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Biblical Counseling and Christian Family (96 credits) as well as a Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling (39 credits). The Master of Divinity degree with a concentration in Biblical Counseling and Christian Family is designed for students that have a desire to work in the church, or who already work in the church as pastors, ministers, evangelists, missionaries, and teachers with a focus on providing counseling to individuals, couples, and families within the church setting. The Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling supports students in learning to provide counseling to individuals with Christian values from a Biblical perspective.

Courses include: the biblical counselor and family life educator; courtship, marriage, and the family; theology of biblical counseling; marital and family counseling; counseling children, adolescents, and their families; addictions; premarital preparation and counseling; life cycle issues; and crisis management.

  • Cost: $6,300.00
  • Religious Accreditation: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools

#10 Baptist Bible College

Springfield, MO

Master of Arts in Church Ministries

Master of Arts in Biblical Studies

Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling

Master of Divinity

baptist-bible-college-springfield-mo-master-of-arts-in-church-ministries-master-of-arts-in-biblical-studies-master-of-arts-in-biblical-counseling-master-of-divinityBaptist Bible College offers several seminary degrees that include a counseling focus. The degrees include: Master of Arts in Church Ministries (36 credits); Master of Arts in Biblical Studies (72 credits); Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling (60 credits); and the Master of Divinity (96 credits). This variety of degrees allows students to be thoughtful about the type of degree they need to pursue their career goals. Graduates with these degrees from Baptist Bible College will find that they are prepared for the career of their choice in areas including: local church ministry; military chaplaincy; counseling in K-12 settings; college counseling; hospital chaplaincy; and/or to teach at the Bible college level.

Courses include: dynamics of biblical change; theology and secular counseling; biblical counselor; human personality; local church and counseling; methods of biblical change; marriage counseling; family counseling; problems and procedures; issues in biblical counseling; and local church and counseling.

  • Cost: $6,210.00
  • Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Religious Accreditation: Association for Biblical Higher Education

#9 Holy Apostles College and Seminary

Cromwell, CT

Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies

holy-apostles-college-and-seminary-cromwell-ct-master-of-arts-in-pastoral-studiesHoly Apostles College and Seminary offers a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies. This degree offers a number of areas of concentration including a Pastoral Counseling concentration. The program focuses on preparing students for ministry that matches the mission of the Roman Catholic Church. Students in the pastoral counseling concentration will learn to provide psycho-spiritual counseling for individuals in the church and for people in crisis. Students may also be interested in this program if they want to pursue careers as a Christian Life Coach and/or Board Certified Professional Life Coach. Additionally, licensed professional counselors may wish to use this degree to enhance their current career as a licensed professional counselor to have the skills to apply faith-integrated approaches in their practice. Students can choose to complete this program 100% online.

Courses include: fundamentals of practical theology; nature and grace; pastoral counseling: spiritual helping and accompaniment; Catholic social teaching; nurturing the domestic church: fostering authentic marriage and family life & spirituality; pastoral counseling: spiritual diagnosis and intervention; morals and psychology; pastoral issues with human sexuality; pastoral issues of marriage and the family; intercultural competencies; and methods in counseling.

  • Cost: $5,760.00
  • Regional Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Religious Accreditation: Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools

#8 Ashland University

Ashland, OH

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Master of Divinity

ashland-university-ashland-oh-master-of-arts-in-clinical-mental-health-counseling-master-of-divinityAshland Theological Seminary at Ashland University offers multiple graduate degrees with a counseling focus and a Christian worldview including the CACREP accredited Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and the Master of Divinity. The degrees are quite different allowing students to thoughtfully select the degree to match the career path of their choice. The CACREP accredited Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (64 credits) offers a cohort model program with a flexible schedule that is designed to prepare graduates for professional licensure. The Master of Divinity is focused on preparing graduates for pastoral leadership and is designed for individuals who plan to provide counsel within the context of the church setting.

Courses include: spiritual themes in clinical counseling; introduction to clinical mental health counseling; human growth and development; social and cultural issues in counseling; professional ethics and responsibilities; personality assessment; crisis counseling; spiritual formation core; story of the Christian faith; Christian ethics; leading the people of God; worship and the community of God; well being in ministry; and pastoral counseling and care.

  • Cost: $5,713.00
  • Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

#7 Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Kansas City, MO

Master of Divinity with a concentration in Counseling

midwestern-baptist-theological-seminary-kansas-city-mo-master-of-divinity-with-a-concentration-in-counselingA Master of Divinity with a concentration in Counseling is offered at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. This is a 96 credit program with core courses (60 credits) and concentration courses (36 credits) designed to prepare graduates for licensure (in Missouri). Through coursework and practicum experiences students will learn the theories, techniques, and skills to work effectively as professional counselors in both ministry and/or community settings. In addition to counseling, graduates may go on to serve the church in other ways (such as pastor or preacher) or choose to pursue a doctorate degree in a related field.

Courses include: counseling theories; lifespan development; professional orientation and ethics; marriage and family counseling; diagnosis and treatment of addiction disorders; theory and methods of group counseling; abnormal psychology: theory, diagnosis, and treatment; career development and counseling; multicultural counseling; and integration Christian theology and counseling.

  • Cost: $5,500.00
  • Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Religious Accreditation: Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools

#6 Maple Springs Baptist Bible College and Seminary

Capitol Heights, MD

Master of Arts in Christian Counseling

maple-springs-baptist-bible-college-and-seminary-capitol-heights-md-master-of-arts-in-christian-counselingMaple Springs Baptist Bible College and Seminary offers a Master of Arts in Christian Counseling. Students in the program will learn counseling theories and skills to support individuals emotionally and spiritually through ministry in the church setting. In learning to support the spiritual and psychological needs of others, students in the program will develop personally in these areas as well. Graduates will be prepared to successfully integrate theories of psychology and the values of the church.

Courses include: principles of counseling; counseling techniques and practices; counseling the chemically dependent; counseling case studies; counseling practicum; and Christian writing and research.

  • Cost: $5,280.00
  • Religious Accreditation: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools

#5 New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

New Orleans, LA

Master of Divinity

new-orleans-baptist-theological-seminary-new-orleans-la-master-of-divinityNew Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary offers a Master of Divinity with a number of areas of specialization for students to choose from. Areas of specialization with a counseling focus include: Chaplaincy/Pastoral Care (84-86 credits); Counseling/Non-Licensure Track (87 credits); and Marriage and Family Counseling (101-102 credits). A number of Master of Arts degrees with a counseling focus are also available. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary also offers a number of graduate certificates that may be of interest to students that hope to focus on pastoral care in a church setting. The variety of degree options available make this graduate school a good match for students that want to focus their degree in a particular and specific area of interest.

Core content areas include: Biblical exposition; Christian theological heritage; disciple making; interpersonal skills; servant leadership; spiritual and character formation; worship leadership; and electives.

  • Cost: $5,040.00
  • Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Religious Accreditation: Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools

#4 Kentucky Christian University

Grayson, KY

Master of Arts in Christian Leadership

kentucky-christian-university-grayson-ky-master-of-arts-in-christian-leadershipA Master of Arts in Christian Leadership with a program option in pastoral care (counseling) is offered at Kentucky Christian University. The Christian Leadership degree offers students the opportunity to complete 24 credits of core courses followed by 18 credits of courses that match their individual area of interest in terms of how they would like to serve and lead in the church. Program options are available in: theological studies; pastoral care (counseling); Christian ministry; leadership; and preaching. Students that select the pastoral care (counseling) option will work closely with their advisor to select counseling courses that fit their future career goals.

Courses include: history of Christian thought; world Christianity; ethical foundations for Christian leadership; old testament research; new testament research; Bible/theology elective; and specifically chosen counseling courses.

  • Cost: $4,950.00
  • Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

#3 Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Wake Forest, NC

Master of Divinity in Biblical Counseling

southeastern-baptist-theological-seminary-wake-forest-nc-master-of-divinity-in-biblical-counselingA Master of Divinity in Biblical Counseling is offered at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. This 88 credit program, with 70 credits in the Master of Divinity core and 18 credits in biblical counseling, can be completed in 3-4 years. Elective courses, not required for the degree, are available in areas that may assist graduates in working towards state licensure as a professional counselor but state licensure is not the focus of the program. Graduates of the program will be prepared for careers in the church with the specialized skills to provide counseling, pastoral care and family ministries.

Courses include: counseling individuals with problematic emotions; marital and premarital counseling; counseling and the church; counseling theory; counseling individuals with addiction problems; counseling parents and children; cross-cultural counseling; and mentored counseling internship.

  • Cost: $4,734.00
  • Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Religious Accreditation: Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools

#2 Luther Rice College & Seminary

Lithonia, GA

Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling

luther-rice-college-seminary-lithonia-ga-master-of-arts-in-biblical-counselingLuther Rice College & Seminary offers a Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling. The program emphasizes a commitment to Christ-centered counseling and pastoral care with a focus on training graduates for careers in Christian and church settings. This 36 credit program can be completed in 18-24 months. Students who are interested in this program have the choice between completing the degree 100% online or through a combination of online and on-campus courses. All students will engage in a practicum experience to develop critical counseling skills. Graduates of the program have gone on to pursue careers in roles including church counselor; ministry staff; jail/prison chaplain; youth and family pastor; and Christian counselor.

Courses include: introduction to psychology and counseling theories; introduction to the new testament; helping skills; spiritual formation; marriage and family counseling; issues, ethics, and legal concerns for counselors; crisis counseling and pastoral care; methodology for biblical counseling; and biblical counseling practicum.

  • Cost: $4,536.00
  • Religious Accreditation: Association for Biblical Higher Education
  • Religious Accreditation: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools

#1 Apex School of Theology

Durham, NC

Master of Arts in Christian Counseling

Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling

apex-school-of-theology-durham-nc-master-of-arts-in-christian-counseling-master-of-arts-in-biblical-counselingApex School of Theology offers a Master of Arts in Christian Counseling and a Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling. The Master of Arts in Christian Counseling (69 credits) offers tracks of study in Professional Counseling and in Marriage and Family Therapy. Graduates of this program will be prepared through classroom and clinical training to provide professional counseling to individuals, couples, and families in church and community settings. The Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling (36 credits) is a briefer program that focuses on training students to develop, support, and provide church-based counseling services.

Courses include: foundations in theology; history of Christian thought; introduction to pastoral counseling; advanced developmental psychology; theories of personality; family systems therapy; counseling theories and techniques; cross-cultural counseling; individual and systems assessment; introduction to professional and ethical counseling; group dynamics counseling; theological perspectives of forgiveness and reconciliation; crisis and conflict management in the church; career counseling theories and practice; and marriage and family counseling.

  • Cost: $4,200.00
  • Religious Accreditation: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools

 

Methodology: This ranking was compiled by gathering a list of schools from the Institute of Education Sciences’ College Navigator that offer graduate degrees in the pastoral counseling field. Each school’s programs were searched to confirm that they did offer a counseling degree with a pastoral/biblical focus. Schools were then sorted by affordability, ranking from high to low based on the average graduate degree tuition. When looking at the schools that met our initial criteria (148 schools) the tuition ranged from $4,200 – $42,850. Our list covers the 25 most affordable of these schools ranging in cost from $4,200 – $9,960.

See also:

 

This concludes our list of the 25 most affordable advanced degrees in pastoral care and counseling for 2018.

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