This article explains what is a Masters in Christian Counseling degree program, what are some of the subjects it covers, which courses are included, and why you may want to consider earning such a degree to further your career. This article will also provide details about a high quality online Masters in Christian Counseling that you may want to consider.
What Is a Masters in Christian Counseling?
Christian counseling is a specialized field of counseling in which traditional methods are blended with biblical doctrine, Christian beliefs, and faith-based values. Christian counselors offer their services to anyone, regardless of their beliefs, discussing various areas of personal life and mental health issues. These include domestic problems, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, faith, personal finances, and marriage and personal life, for instance. Graduates can work in a variety of settings.
In order to be a licensed counselor, a master’s degree is required. This guarantees that graduates have an understanding of both theories and methodologies, and that they can apply various strategies to improve the mental health of patients. Usually, clinical residencies and/or internships are required, during which time prospective counselors are trained and guided by established professionals. The exact requirements for licensure will vary from one state to another, and they also vary depending on the specialization chosen.
A career in Christian counseling is challenging but very rewarding. It is an opportunity to apply the tools, theories, therapy methods, and approaches studied during a master’s degree, focusing on best practices to incorporate biblical Christian teachings into therapy. It is common for these degree programs to offer specialization options, such as family and youth counseling, addiction counseling, and mental health.
It is also quite common for Christian counselors to work with those who either are on the verge of losing their faith or those who are having a spiritual crisis, but equally with those who have had a calling. Helping others to convert to Christianity is a key role for Christian counselors. At the same time, preparing people who want to enter the clergy, such as aspiring nuns or priests, is also an integral part of the role of the Christian counselor. Mainly, they work together with those who are dealing with personal issues and who identify as Christian.
Why Earn a Masters in Christian Counseling?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that mental health counselors earned a median salary of $44,170 per year as of May 2016. Christian counselors can work in a variety of settings, including:
- Individual and family services
- State and local government
- Outpatient care centers
- Health practitioner offices
- Nursing and residential care facilities
- Outpatient mental health centers
- Substance abuse facilities
- Residential developmental or intellectual disability facilities
- Private practices.=
- Employee assistance programs (EAPs)
- Churches and pastoral organizations
Most people who opt to become a Christian counselor do so because they feel they have a calling and are dedicated to improving the overall mental health and well-being of people. Obtaining a master’s degree ensures that they are able to work as counselors themselves after they have obtained their license. This, in turn, enhances their employment security. However, most people complete this degree for the personal satisfaction of being able to be a leader in their field.
Online Option for Masters in Christian Counseling
Grand Canyon University
One online option for a Masters in Christian Counseling degree is offered by Grand Canyon University. This degree has been designed to ensure graduates are able to incorporate Christian principles into their counseling practices. This allows these professionals to successfully search for solutions based on the scriptures. This degree is designed for those who have received a calling from God.
The program is delivered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the curriculum ensures that graduates have the necessary theological wisdom and biblical knowledge to deliver client-centered solutions. Students are encouraged to develop and grow their own character and achieve enhanced spiritual health by better understanding the gospel, thereby having a Christian perspective to mental health.
Although the program is delivered online, students are expected to take part in a supervised pre-practicum, as well as in a supervised internship. This ensures that graduates also have the practical experience needed to become Christian counselors. The degree also prepares students for licensure, and graduates are respected for their in-depth understanding of counseling theories; psychopharmacology and addictions; psychopathology and counseling; crisis and trauma counseling; and spousal and child abuse.
The core curriculum of the degree includes:
- Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethics
- Counseling Theories
- Introduction to Addictions and Substance Use Disorder
- Group Counseling Theory and Practice
- Social and Cultural Diversity Issues in Counseling
- Biblical Foundations for Counselors: The Story of God
- Spiritual Formation: Becoming a Healthy Practitioner
- Psychopharmacology and Addictions
- Human Sexuality, Aging, and Long-Term Care
- Counseling Skills in Helping Relationships
- Human Growth and Development
- Biblical Concepts in Healthy Relationships: Forgiveness & Healthy Spirituality
- Marriage and Family Therapy
- Spousal and Child Abuse, Crisis, and Trauma Counseling
- Tests And Appraisal in Counseling
- Integration of Scripture With Counseling Theory
- Career Development and Counseling
- Research Methods
- Diagnostics, Assessment, and Treatment
- Psychopathology and Counseling
- Evaluation of Mental and Emotional Status
Upon completion of the degree, graduates may start to become certified and licensed in their state. All states require a master’s degree for licensure, although exact requirements vary. Graduates, once licensed, will be able to offer treatment to those who have psychological, social, or emotional disabilities. Grand Canyon University’s degree also enables students to focus their studies on specific disorders.
Some of the positions graduates could take on after achieving certification and licensure include:
- Private practice counselor
- Marriage and family therapist
- Mental health counselor
- Substance abuse counselor
- Behavioral disorder counselor
- School counselor
By earning a Masters in Christian Counseling, you will be able to greatly advance your career in an accelerated manner. You will be able to become licensed and certified to practice. Do check with your state regarding the exact requirements for licensure, particularly in terms of the practicum before you can obtain your license. Completing the master’s degree will ensure that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to make a difference in the mental health and well-being of people across different communities, incorporating the scriptures, biblical teachings, and spirituality into your treatment methodologies. This is a career option for those who have received a calling, not just from God, but also in terms of wanting to make a positive impact on the lives of entire communities.
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- Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm
- Master of Science in Christian Counseling. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.gcu.edu/degree-programs/master-science-christian-counseling