From dealing with trauma to recovering from drug dependencies, people seek therapy for a variety of reasons. Therapy provides relief to a lot of people, and becoming a counselor can have a lasting, positive impact. While there are many different specialties when it comes to counseling, Christian counseling exists for those inclined towards a spiritual approach to therapy. Combining faith with educational training and practical application, Christian counselors provide treatment to individuals not just struggling with faith-based issues but with those who seek a spiritual answer to their problems. If you're interested in becoming a Christian counselor, then read on to learn more about the necessary procedure.
Expectations & Education
According to the American Association of Christian Counselors, "The Christian Care Network (CCN), is a national referral network of state licensed, certified, and/or properly credentialed Christian counselors offering care that is distinctively Christian and clinically excellent." The CCN's core values reflect the values held by the community of Christian counselors at large, which means that in order to become a Christian counselor, you would need to believe in the specific doctrine laid out by the AACC and upheld by nationwide members. If you're interested in becoming a Christian counselor, then presumably you have some familiarity with the Christian doctrine and agree with its basic tenets.
Like other counseling careers, Christian counseling requires that its practitioners hold certain degrees; however, unlike other counseling professions, Christian counseling does not always require an advanced degree. Because this profession is based more on a spiritual calling than an academic degree, Christian counselors may be certified to practice without holding an actual degree from a traditional institution. According to the National Christian Counselors Association,NCCA, "Our purpose is to help Christians who believe that God has called them into the ministry of counseling." They offer information and a certification program for those interested in the profession.
Christian counselors treat people with a variety of mental and emotional problems, and they aren't limited to treating patients who share the same beliefs. Rather, therapists who opt for a spiritual approach to therapy seek to share their belief in a higher power with those who specifically desire this type of approach.
Salary & Job Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists earned an average of $39,710 per year in 2010, and the job growth projected for the next decade is 37 percent, which is much faster than average for other occupations.
While Christian counselors are not classified under this exact designation by the BLS, they perform similar duties and can expect to earn a comparable salary. Of course, salary varies by location. According to SalaryExperts.com, for example, the average salary of a Christian counselor in Chicago, IL is around $60,000 per year.
Like other counselors, Christian counselors will enjoy a decent salary, good benefits and a lifetime of offering help and hope to those who need it most. By investing in the right education and practical experience under the tenets of the Christian faith, those hoping to become Christian counselors will enjoy a successful and beneficial career.