The Top Christian Colleges for a Counseling Degree 2021

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A professional interested in helping others through a Christian lens may want to consider earning anonline master’s in Christian counseling. These programs examine psychological principles and practices, provide clinical experience for students to diagnose and treat patients, and teach learners to implement a Christ-centered approach.

The curriculum typically includes mental health counseling ethics, crisis intervention, trauma counseling, and family dynamics. Topics often include Bible interpretation, narrative approaches to theology and salvation, and ministry-related conflict resolution. While colleges and universities offer most coursework online, degree-seekers should anticipate multiple applied experiences, including a practicum and internship.

Most programs require about 100 practicum hours and 600 internship hours to qualify for licensure. Christian counseling degrees comprise about 60 credits, which enrollees can typically complete in 2-3 years of full-time attendance. Part-time students may need double the program length to complete their degrees, while accelerated programs may require less than two years to complete.

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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.

Applying to a Christian College for a Counseling Degree

Colleges and universities maintain distinct admission requirements, so applicants will need to research each prospective school. However, most institutions require official transcripts, a 2.5 GPA at minimum, and program-specific essays. Other requirements may include multiple letters of recommendation from former educators and current or former employers.

Each degree-seeker should also anticipate submitting a resume, participating in interviews, and completing a criminal background check. Christian counseling schools may also require students to submit GRE scores. Some programs offer to waive the GRE requirement for individuals with GPAs of 3.5 or higher. A master’s in Christian counseling leads to licensure. Applicants do not need a license, certification, or specific undergraduate degree for admission.

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Top Christian Colleges for a Counseling Degree

  1. Moody Bible Institute
    Location

    Chicago, IL

    Moody Bible Institute is the top Christian college for a counseling degree. As part of the graduate/seminary department, Moody's master of arts in counseling uses a Christian servant-leadership philosophy to shape graduates who serve individuals, couples, and communities. This program gives students a clear understanding of the academic and spiritual basis of counseling.

    Moody's master's in counseling program offers concentrations in psychology and clinical mental health. Both concentrations are available at Moody's Michigan campus. The Chicago campus only offers the clinical mental health track.

    The counseling psychology option focuses on biblical insight, clinical training, and spiritual integration in counseling. In 12-15 months, this track prepares students for professional licensure. Prospective students must submit a completed online application, an agreement to the doctrinal qualifications, two references, an autobiographical essay, and transcripts.

    Courses Include

    • Biblical spiritual formation
    • Marriage and family dynamics
    • Hermeneutics
    • Human development
    • Substance abuse and addictive behaviors

    Unique Features

    Cost: $460/credit
    Credits Required: 60-64 credits
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

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  2. William Jessup University
    Location

    Rocklin, CA

    William Jessup University's master of arts in counseling psychology prepares students to apply for designation as a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) or a licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC) in California. This program's curriculum blends biblical principles with contemporary psychological theory to help students become effective mental health professionals.

    This top-rated master's in Christian counseling operates on a cohort model, which fosters networking and relationship-building among students and faculty members. Most students graduate in 26 months. This Christian counseling degree can lead to careers in education counseling, career counseling, marriage and family counseling, or clinical counseling.

    Applicants must present a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, an official transcript demonstrating a 3.0 GPA, a resume, two reference letters, and a personal essay.

    Courses Include

    • Family systems therapy
    • Human diversity
    • Psychopharmacology
    • Human sexuality
    • Crisis, trauma, and community mental health

    Unique Features

    Cost: $660/credit
    Credits Required: 63 credits
    Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

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  3. Loyola University Chicago
    Location

    Chicago, IL

    Loyola offers a master of arts in counseling for ministry. Placed in the Institute of Pastoral Studies, this Christian counseling degree trains pastors to provide ministry-based caregiving to those in need. This degree does not lead to clinical counseling licensure in Illinois. Rather, the curriculum takes a multidisciplinary, peer-learning-group approach ot promote students' spiritual and academic growth.

    This master's in Christian counseling program blends contemporary theology and psychological theories to give students a broader perspective when counseling individuals, couples, groups, and children. Part-time students can complete the program in 4-5 years. Potential students must provide official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work, a completed online application, two letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.

    Courses Include

    • Foundations of pastoral care
    • Theology of the developing person
    • Advanced human relation skills
    • Family therapy and personal transformation
    • Introduction to spirituality praxis

    Unique Features

    Cost: $788/credit
    Credits Required: 36 credits
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

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  4. John Brown University
    Location

    Siloam Springs, AR

    From its Department of Christian Ministry, John Brown University offers a bachelor of science in Christian ministry and formation with a concentration in care and counseling. JBU produces counseling graduates who can solve ministry dilemmas with theoretical and biblical solutions. This degree can transform students into biblically oriented leaders in churches, camps, business, and overseas missions.

    Graduates of this Christian counseling degree program qualify for master's-level studies and subsequent certification or licensure. Throughout the four-year program, the curriculum focuses on three core areas: intellectual cultivation, spiritual formation, and world impact. Students must complete 30 hours of fieldwork and a senior capstone course in Christian ministry.

    Prospective students must submit a high school transcript with a minimum 2.5 GPA or a GED certificate with minimum 1020 SAT or 20 ACT scores.

    Courses Include

    • Abnormal psychology
    • Family communication
    •  Ministry to families
    • The church in a global context
    • Church leadership and service

    Unique Features

    Cost: $451/credit
    Credits Required: 120 credits
    Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

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  5. William Carey University
    Location

    Hattiesburg, MS

    William Carey University's master of science in clinical psychology with a concentration in Christian counseling helps maintain the university's position as one of the top Christian counseling colleges.

    Located in the psychology and counseling department, this program appeals to students intending to practice in religious settings as professional counselors. Graduates find work in religious counseling centers, private practice, and pastoral care environments.

    This master's in Christian counseling offers two tracks: licensure and non-licensure for ordained ministers. The non-licensure track takes much less time to complete, but both options require a practicum and internship. Aspiring students must complete the online application and upload the required documents.

    Courses Include

    • Psychology of religion
    • Dynamics of personality
    • Analysis of the individual
    • Organization and administration of senior services
    • Advanced developmental psychology

    Unique Features

    Cost: $430/credit
    Credits Required: 36-60 credits
    Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Is the Difference Between a Christian College and a Regular College?

    Christian colleges offer the same fundamental coursework as secular colleges and often hold the same regional and programmatic accreditations. However, Christian colleges may require religious coursework. Traditional courses may also take on a Christian lens.

  • What Is Accreditation and Why Is it Important?

    Accrediting organizations set minimum standards for schools and programs to ensure that students learn pertinent knowledge and skills. Regional and national accrediting bodies review entire schools, while specialization accrediting bodies focus on specific programs in a particular field. Counseling related accrediting agencies include the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs and the American Psychological Association.

  • What Can You Do With a Counseling Degree from a Christian College?

    Students who earn online Christian counseling degrees qualify for the same jobs as graduates from non-Christian programs. Potential fields include academic, marriage and family, mental health, and school counseling. However, a degree with a Christian lens may also allow practitioners to work in religious institutions.

  • What Degree Is Needed for Christian Counseling?

    Students with undergraduate degrees qualify for certain roles within the field. However, most states require a counselor to hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution. A master’s in Christian counseling qualifies graduates to complete their state’s licensing exam. Students may also pursue an optional spiritual certification.

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