• A Christian counselor, sometimes called a pastoral counselor, has the same education requirements as any therapist or counselor, in addition to the education and heartfelt desire to blend a core foundation of Christian belief with conventional psychotherapy methods.

    Formal Training

    Once you have decided that becoming a Christian counselor is what you want, formal training is necessary. You must receive a bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited Christian college or university that also provides courses in psychology and counseling. Many offer Christian counselor degree programs specifically related to faith-based counseling. Busy professionals are able to attend classes during the evenings or weekends, or even attend classes online. This way you may work and complete your coursework in a matter of four to six years. A portion of your degree credits require you to perform a clinical internship for an organization that has a counseling staff, such as a hospital or mental health facility. Once you have your degree in counseling or Christian counseling, you will also have to take a licensing exam in your state in order to legally practice. Joining a professional organization will be helpful for this.

    Christian Counselors Associations

    A professional Christian Counselor association such as the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) or National Christian Counselors Association (NCCA) can help you get and maintain all necessary licensing and certifications. They can also help you with job placement, continuing education requirements, and networking with other counselors. Also, you may attend annual conferences to get additional training. Many jobs require applicants to be members of such organizations.


    A degree in counseling and Christian education qualifies you for a number of jobs, including but not limited to: licensed mental health counselor, licensed counseling professional, marriage and family therapist, pastoral counselor, chaplain, director of spiritual care or spiritual care coordinator for retreat centers and hospices. Some Christian counselors are affiliated with a Christian congregation to offer their members a wide range of support services. You may also set up your own practice, if you desire, and help Christians from all denominations.


    National Christian Counselors Association: New Member FAQ

    Bible-College: Christian Counseling Degree Online

    More Information:

    American Association of Christian Counselors How Do I Become a Christian Counselor?

    National Christian Counselors Association: About the N.C.C.A.

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