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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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.

  11. Southwestern Assemblies of God University

    Waxahachie, TX

    SAGU offers a for students interested in studying general biblical studies, along with psychology, counseling, criminal justice, or social work. The bachelor's degree in human services leads graduates to pursue entry-level human service careers or advance into graduate programs.

    The program allows learners to transfer in a high amount of credits and take advantage of full campus support and resources, such as the career, wellness, and counseling centers. SAGU boasts small class sizes, allowing degree-seekers to benefit from an individualized environment.

    Each interested candidate must complete an application and provide ACT or SAT scores, high school transcripts demonstrating a 2.0 minimum GPA, and college transcripts for any prior colleges or universities attended. Students experience affordable tuition rates of $732 per credit, including fees. Learners spend about $10,250 per 12-16 credit hour block before financial aid.

  12. Johnson University Florida

    Kissimmee, FL

    Students interested in earning a can consider the pastoral care and counseling major at JUTN in Kissimmee, Florida. The program prepares degree-seekers to provide counsel, pastoral care, and effective leadership across pastoral ministry settings.

    Throughout the rigorous curriculum, learners focus on specialized topics, including spiritual formation for ministry, encountering cultures, interpersonal and family relationships, and conflict and communication. Core coursework focuses on demonstrating the use of psychological terms and concepts related to pastoral ministry. The program also emphasizes the process of sermon development and a dedication to biblical truth.

    Each enrollee must complete 56 credits of arts and sciences core courses, 30 credits of Bible and theology major courses, four credits of electives, and 30 credits of pastoral care and counseling major courses to earn their bachelor's degree. Graduates can pursue licensure in counseling and advance into a master's program to expand their career opportunities.

  13. Johnson & Wales University-Denver

    Denver, CO

    Johnson & Wales' Denver campus offers a. Psychology majors enjoy small class sizes that allow them to take advantage of a more personalized learning environment. During this unique program, learners participate in clinical and experiential learning opportunities, exposing them to valuable networks and esteemed instructors.

    Psychology students can personalize their degrees, tailoring their coursework to align with their interests and career goals by choosing free electives and minor opportunities. Degree-seekers can consider an eight-course counseling psychology specialization that allows them to explore effective counseling practices within a supervised clinical environment.

    During the rigorous curriculum, learners explore crisis management, addiction or case management, marriage and family therapy, and group therapy. Eligible students can apply for the 3+2 BS in psychology/MS in addiction counseling or 3+2 BS in psychology/MS in clinical mental health counseling programs.

  14. Delaware Valley University

    Doylestown, PA

    As one of the students, DelVal offers a bachelor of arts in counseling psychology, designed to provide learners with the advanced training they need to succeed in the mental health discipline. During the curriculum, learners develop foundational counseling knowledge and focus on obtaining practical experience.

    The specialized program allows degree-seekers to customize their coursework to align with their professional goals and interests. Learners can graduate and pursue careers in mental health facilities, healthcare and social assistance, and human resources. Graduates can also pursue advanced degree opportunities in counseling psychology at DelVal.

    During the rigorous curriculum, enrollees focus on social psychology and human interaction, multicultural issues in psychology, and measurement and assessment in psychology. Students can take advantage of the school's counseling lab for teaching and research.

  15. Lesley University

    Cambridge, MA

    Lesley, as one of the students, features a bachelor of science in counseling degree for enrollees to explore the basics of psychology, including how humans act, feel, and think.

    The 121-credit curriculum allows learners to complete 30 credits during the first year of the program, 30 credits the second year, 31 credits the third year, and 30 credits during the final year of the program. Degree-seekers focus on concepts and skills in professional practice, abnormal psychology, and contemporary issues in counseling.

    Counseling majors can pursue second majors or one of more than 45 minors to expand their career opportunities. During the program, learners apply global and multicultural perspectives to their counseling practice approach and build an understanding of psychological development throughout the stages of life.

  16. Toccoa Falls College

    Toccoa Falls, GA

    A degree-seeker at TFC can pursue a that prepares them for service within the church, community, and with families through the ministry of counseling. The unique program combines concepts of psychology with principles of scripture, integrating both areas into practical application. Counseling psychology students can earn their degrees on-campus or online.

    To further specialize their coursework, degree-seekers earning their bachelor's degree in counseling psychology can pursue minors in marriage and family counseling, psychology, or counseling. During the rigorous program, students learn about the fundamental principles, theories, and generalizations related to psychology and counseling.

    Students focus on child and adolescent therapy, research methods in psychology, and Christ-centered counseling. The program comprises 69 credit hours of general education courses, 42 credit hours of major courses, six credit hours of psychology electives, and 15 credit hours of minor or open electives.

  17. Kentucky Christian University

    Grayson, KY

    Learners searching for the can consider the bachelor of science in counseling psychology at KCU. This program prepares degree-seekers for careers in the psychology field, along with graduate programs in the discipline.

    The 120-credit curriculum comprises counseling psychology, the Bible, and general education courses. Along with the required coursework, each student must complete a 400-hour internship component in a human service organization. The unique program integrates Christ's teachings into psychology coursework, allowing learners to better understand how to minister and counsel individuals within professional boundaries.

    During their senior year, each enrollee completes a 420-hour practicum experience within an agency setting. All juniors participate in a 40-hour lab experience. Counseling students can pursue minors in counseling psychology, child and family studies, psychology, or behavioral health to tailor their degree to align with their interests and career goals.

  18. Arizona Christian University

    Phoenix, AZ

    ACU, as one of the students, offers a rigorous bachelor's degree in behavioral health counseling. The bachelor's program allows students to integrate Christianity and psychology as they develop practical counseling skills.

    The program emphasizes the importance of applying knowledge in experiential settings and includes a 135-hour internship requirement. The biblically integrated curriculum allows learners to focus on the five major learning objectives recommended by the American Psychological Association.

    Featuring a liberal arts foundation, the unique program focuses on career-related areas in group counseling, along with principles of coaching, general principles of psychology, and Christian integration in practice. During the curriculum, each enrollee must complete 30 credits of core courses, 15 credits of biblical and theological studies courses, and eight credits of science courses.

    Programs follow a unique structure to prepare learners for their postgraduate careers. The university's annual guides support degree-seekers during their path toward graduation.

  19. Kansas Wesleyan University

    Salina, KS

    As one of the, KWU offers a bachelor of arts in psychological services that prepares degree-seekers to pursue entry-level careers or graduate studies after earning their bachelor's degree. A psychological services student can pursue a concentration to align their program with their professional goals and interests. Learners can choose concentrations in addictions and substance abuse counseling, domestic issues, and educational counseling, among others.

    During the unique program, each degree-seeker must complete a 150-hour internship, and enrollees pursuing a concentration in addictions and substance abuse counseling each take part in a 400-hour internship. This Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board-accredited program prepares students to work in social service agencies and corporate human relations departments as addiction counselors and health coaches.

    The rigorous curriculum comprises 48-52 credit hours of coursework, including classes in mental health and human services, counseling skills, and specializations. Learners in the program can explore professional ethics in psychology, theories of personality, and principles of counseling practice.

  20. Alaska Pacific University

    Anchorage, AK

    APU features a in counseling psychology. This skills-based program balances practical learning with a theoretical foundation. Students participate in service-based field trips to build meaningful connections with service agencies that can lead to internships, practicum opportunities, and post-graduate jobs.

    Counseling students prepare for professional certifications in behavioral health, behavioral health aid, and chemical dependency. Students can tailor their program to align with their interests and career goals by focusing on exploring mind-body psychology, positive psychology, or community psychology and sustainability.

    The counseling psychology minor option allows each student to work with an advisor to design the best combination of courses and academic experiences. During the program, learners explore applied psychology, personal growth, and counseling.

    During the admissions process, prospective students must complete an application and provide high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, and transcripts from any postsecondary institutions attended.

  21. North Park University

    Chicago, IL

    Students interested in can explore the bachelor's degree option at NPU, one of the top Christian psychology colleges in the nation. Counseling psychology degrees provide learners with the skills and knowledge they need to pursue entry-level counseling careers or advance into a graduate program in counseling, psychology, social work, or a related discipline.

    The unique curriculum emphasizes client interaction in professional settings, including social and human services agencies. The rigorous program includes 40 credit hours of major coursework, 44 credit hours of general education courses, 28 credit hours of electives, and eight credit hours of professional studies core courses.

    Within the school of professional studies at NPU, learners can earn academic credit for life experience through a prior learning assessment process. Students can earn credit as they demonstrate learning from professional psychology training, life experience, counseling certification, or social work licensure.

  22. Emmanuel College

    Boston, MA

    As one of the best schools for, Emmanuel features a counseling and health psychology program that provides learners with knowledge of various mental health symptom categories. The concentration emphasizes the psychophysical bases of health and illness, exploring the causes of stress and available coping methods.

    During the specialized curriculum, learners explore physiological bases of behavior, child psychopathology, and cross-cultural psychology. Along with the required coursework, each degree-seeker must complete a senior capstone experience, which allows them to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they developed throughout their degree in one comprehensive project.

    Each counseling student participates in an internship and completes elective coursework in philosophy of psychiatry, adulthood and aging, and adolescent development. All candidates must complete an application and provide official high school transcripts, an essay, two letters of recommendation, and optional standardized test scores.

  23. Viterbo University

    La Crosse, WI

    Known as one of the students, Viterbo features a unique bachelor of science in psychology that offers practical training through mock counseling sessions, hands-on research opportunities, and interviewing labs. In addition to the required coursework, each counseling student completes an internship or an advanced research project.

    Throughout the program, learners use digital video laboratory facilities as they develop their interpersonal and communication skills. Students complete training in developmental psychology, clinical and counseling psychology, behavioral neuroscience, human cognition, and social psychology.

    In addition to the bachelor of science in psychology, students can pursue a psychology minor, completing between 15-25 credits of coursework, or a substance abuse counseling minor. Exceptional undergraduate students can apply to the master of science in mental health counseling program, completing the 4+2 option to earn their bachelor's degrees in four years and master's degrees in two years.

  24. Lancaster Bible College

    Lancaster, PA

    A degree-seeker searching for a to earn a bachelor's degree in counseling can enroll in the bachelor of science degree in professional counseling at LBC. This unique program focuses on a broad view of the counseling discipline while emphasizing a Christian viewpoint.

    The professional counseling program prepares students to begin their counseling careers after graduation or enroll in a graduate program to continue advancing their skills and knowledge of the discipline. The 130-credit curriculum explores intercultural counseling experience, theories of personality, and group leadership skills.

    Each candidate must complete an application and provide a 500-word autobiography, high school transcripts or proof of GED certificate, and SAT or ACT scores. Along with the application, prospective students need to pay the $25 application fee. Home-schooled students need to provide transcripts demonstrating their completed courses and subsequent grades.

  25. Clarks Summit University

    Clarks Summit, PA

    CSU offers a that teaches students to treat emotional, physical, and mental disorders. During the bachelor's program, enrollees explore the differences between biblical truth and secular philosophy to handle sensitive subjects in a composed manner.

    The 123-credit curriculum prepares degree-seekers to pursue counseling licensure after graduation. Learners explore course topics in human growth and development, marriage and family dynamics, and adolescent and adult psychology. Counseling students can also consider dual enrollment in the master of science in counseling program to earn two degrees at the same time.

    The Foundations Christian Counseling Center on campus offers degree-seekers training, counseling experiences, and observation opportunities. CSU encourages learners to participate in internships, which allow them to connect the concepts they explore during their curriculum to practical experiences.

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