The Top Christian Colleges for a Counseling Degree

The Top Christian Colleges for a Counseling Degree

| Staff Writers

The Top Christian Colleges for a Counseling Degree
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Counseling involves guiding people, especially those living with mental health challenges. Many Christian-affiliated colleges and universities offer degrees in counseling, which fits well into the Christian worldview of helping others.

Unlike secular counseling programs, these counseling degrees incorporate Christian beliefs into their curricula. This might mean requiring courses like biblical scriptures for counselors, or integration of scripture in counseling theory. Professors teach counseling ethics courses from a Christian perspective. These programs sometimes do not include scripture-specific courses, but each course integrates a Christian worldview through various readings and lectures.

When searching for a program, make sure to look for Christian counseling schools with regional accreditation. Accreditation acts as a stamp of legitimacy. You cannot obtain a counseling license without an accredited degree, and employers and doctoral programs do not consider candidates without doctoral degrees. All of the best schools for Christian counseling on this list possess accreditation.


View ranking methodology here.

Top 10 Christian Colleges for a Counseling Degree

Rank School Location
1 Saint Cloud State University Saint Cloud, MN
2 University of Holy Cross New Orleans, LA
3 Springfield College-School of Professional and Continuing Studies Springfield, MA
4 Oklahoma Baptist University Shawnee, OK
5 Averett University Danville, VA
6 Morningside College Sioux City, IA
7 Cornerstone University Grand Rapids, MI
8 Mid-Atlantic Christian University Elizabeth City, NC
9 Johnson & Wales University-Providence Providence, RI
10 Maryville College Maryville, TN
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Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

What to Expect From a Counselor Program

While Christian counseling degrees incorporate a biblical perspective, accredited Christian programs still cover everything students need to earn licensure. Programs begin with foundational courses in psychology theory and counseling techniques. Students can generally choose an emphasis area, like school, rehabilitation, or career counseling.

States require counselor candidates to complete a certain number of supervised work hours before they can apply for licensure. Biblical counseling degrees typically help learners fulfill this requirement through clinical experiences, practicums, or internships. These experiences last hundreds of hours on location, although the specifics depend on the state.

Usually, degree-seekers can graduate from a Christian graduate school for counseling in two years. Part-time students may need an extra year or two. To obtain counseling licensure, candidates also need to pass an exam, which may demand additional months of studying and preparation.

Career Outlook for Counselors

Counselors work with many different clients, depending on their specialization. School counselors guide students in grade school or college. Career counselors advise young people about to begin their careers or adults attempting to join the workforce, while rehabilitation counselors aid people with disabilities in adjusting to daily life. Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors help people with issues like addiction or depression.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an optimistic career outlook for all of these professions. School and career counselors can expect to see their profession grow by 8% from 2018-28. In that same period, the rehabilitation counselors profession could see a 10% increase. Finally, the number of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors may increase by 22%, much faster than average.

As of 2018, school and career counselors earned a median income of $56,310; rehabilitation counselors brought home $35,630 in median pay; and substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors made about $44,630 in median earnings.

Best Christian Colleges for a Counseling Degree 2020

  1. Saint Cloud State University

    Saint Cloud, MN

    As one of the, SCSU offers several counseling programs at the master's level, which prepare enrollees to work with particular client populations of their choosing.

    Degree-seekers interested in counseling can pursue master of science programs in clinical mental health counseling; rehabilitation counseling; rehabilitation and addictions counseling; and school counseling.

    The clinical mental health counseling curriculum follows a cohort model with 18 students enrolled each year. Learners participate in one year of supervised clinical experience on campus before completing their internship requirement. The rehabilitation counseling program offers on-campus and online formats in part- or full-time enrollment.

    Rehabilitation and addictions counseling students work with the on-campus recovery community group to mentor undergraduate students. Learners focused on school counseling can take advantage of evening and summer courses and state-of-the-art clinical counseling rooms.

    Each applicant must possess a 2.75 GPA in either all of their undergraduate work or the most recent half.

  2. University of Holy Cross

    New Orleans, LA

    Located in the bustling, culture-rich city of New Orleans, Louisiana, Holy Cross ranks as one of the top.

    Master's students can earn their counseling degree in clinical mental health counseling; marriage, couple, and family counseling; and school counseling.

    An enrollee can also earn a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision. The graduate counseling programs feature a flexible online format, allowing learners to continue working as they earn their degrees. Online opportunities include 60 graduate credits for master's programs and an additional 54 graduate credits at the doctoral level.

    In addition to online coursework, graduate students at the master's and doctoral levels must participate in two long-weekend (Friday-Monday) residencies on-campus, completing two three-credit graduate courses. Master's enrollees typically complete their degree requirements in 3-4 years, while doctoral students take about 3-3.5 years to earn their degree.

  3. Springfield College-School of Professional and Continuing Studies

    Springfield, MA

    Springfield features some of the best degrees at the doctoral, master's, and bachelor's levels. Bachelor's students can enroll in the substance use disorder counseling program that offers on-campus and online options. The college also offers a doctoral program in counseling psychology.

    Master's enrollees can pursue programs in art therapy/counseling, athletic counseling, clinical mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, and school counseling. Bachelor's students enjoy affordable tuition rates of $500 per credit hour. These learners explore crisis intervention, dynamics of case management, and counseling from a racial perspective.

    Counseling students at the master's level who want to pursue counseling without specializing in a particular area can enroll in the general counseling program. This track specifically serves enrollees who are not interested in professional licensure.

    Each candidate must provide transcripts of any past schools attended, two letters of recommendation, and a resume.

  4. Oklahoma Baptist University

    Shawnee, OK

    As one of the students, OBU offers a bachelor of arts in psychology. The private liberal arts university in Shawnee, Oklahoma, was founded by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and boasts accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

    The 128-credit curriculum comprises 40 credit hours of behavioral and social sciences classes, 17-19 credit hours of flex core courses, 37 credit hours of psychology: pre-counseling classes, 18 credit hours of minor courses, and 11-14 credit hours of electives.

    Each candidate must complete an application and provide official high school transcripts demonstrating a minimum 3.0 minimum GPA, ACT scores of at least 20 or SAT scores of at least 1030, a completed FAFSA, and an essay. During the admissions process, prospective students also complete personal interviews with admissions counselors.

  5. Averett University

    Danville, VA

    Located in Danville, Virginia, Averett offers a that allows degree-seekers to better understand the relationship between the body and mind by emphasizing human behavior and how the mind works. The psychology program offers students a background in various aspects of the discipline through several focus areas.

    Throughout the rigorous curriculum, learners explore effective behavior, psychology as a social science or as a natural science, and research design. Degree-seekers also complete integrative experiences during their senior year, including a seminar on the history of psychology.

    Counseling students can explore one of three concentration options to tailor their degree to align with their interests and career goals. Learners can pursue concentrations in integrative health psychology, biological psychology, or clinical and counseling psychology.

  6. Morningside College

    Sioux City, IA

    Located in Sioux City, Iowa, Morningside College offers a in counseling psychology. Degree-seekers can tailor their program to align with their professional goals and interests by choosing a minor. Students can also consider choosing more than one major or minor.

    Degree-seekers enjoy the intimacy of a private college setting and benefit from a more personalized learning experience. Morningside allows students to take advantage of the counseling lab to observe counseling sessions and expand their skills. Learners interested in pursuing dual majors can consider related fields, including general psychology, biopsychology, and developmental psychology.

    The psychology program emphasizes research at the core of the curriculum, allowing degree-seekers to explore the topics that interest them and the fundamentals of the field. Students can interact with professionals and build skills through interviews, conferences, and club meetings.

  7. Cornerstone University

    Grand Rapids, MI

    Christian counseling students can pursue at CU. During the program, students examine and explore psychological theories, ideas, and applications through a Christian perspective. Learners can apply the concepts they learn in professional, volunteer, and internship experiences.

    During the program, each student completes an original research project and a research paper to present at state, local, and national conferences. Degree-seekers can satisfy their program requirements within four years of full-time study. Each undergraduate learner must also complete an academic practicum or internship.

    Graduates can integrate cognitive skills, such as information literacy, communicative fluency, and analytical inquiry into their professional work. Each candidate must provide a completed application, ACT or SAT scores, official high school transcripts demonstrating a minimum 2.5 high school GPA, and any official college transcripts.

  8. Mid-Atlantic Christian University

    Elizabeth City, NC

    One of the students, MACU offers a bachelor of arts and bachelor of science in counseling and psychology. Both bachelor's programs comprise 120 credits of coursework.

    BA students complete biblical studies minor coursework, general studies courses, language courses, counseling and psychology major courses, and open electives. BS students complete all of the same requirements, without the focus on language courses. During the rigorous curriculum, students explore marriage and family counseling, research methods in psychology, and counseling theories.

    Each candidate must complete an application and pay the associated $30 fee. A prospective student must also provide official transcripts, an essay, SAT or ACT scores, and reference forms. Enrollees can complete their FAFSA to determine scholarship eligibility.

  9. Johnson & Wales University-Providence

    Providence, RI

    The in counseling psychology at Johnson & Wales' Providence campus allows degree-seekers to explore a broad foundation of knowledge about human emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. During the program, learners can focus on understanding how different social environments can affect human development. Students also explore the psychological and biological motivations behind certain behaviors.

    This rigorous program requires students to participate in an internship, using their strong scientific foundations to apply research across different workplace settings. Graduates leave their program with the knowledge, skills, and clinical experience needed to begin their counseling careers or enroll in advanced programs.

    Counseling psychology students explore specialized course topics, including principles of group counseling, counseling theories and techniques, and introduction to case management. Along with courses, students can pursue free elective credit for minors, internships, or study abroad opportunities.

  10. Maryville College

    Maryville, TN

    Located in Maryville, Tennessee, Maryville College offers a that exposes students to a broad foundation of mental processes and behavior while emphasizing cognition and human behavior. The rigorous program provides degree-seekers with the tools they need to conduct scientific studies.

    The counseling track prepares students to pursue postgraduate work in counseling or clinical professions. Learners can further specialize their degrees by pursuing concentrations in relationship and sexual health, civic engagement, psychology in the community, and global citizenship, among others.

    During the specialized curriculum, students explore marriage and family therapy, school counseling, clinical psychology, and social work. The core curriculum requires each student to complete 51 credit hours of coursework in courses, such as culture and intercultural dynamics, composition and speech, and quantitative literacy. The psychology major program requires 47 credit hours of major coursework, with 37 credit hours in psychology and ten credit hours in related areas.

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