The Best Christian Colleges for Becoming a Counselor

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A degree in Christian counseling gives you a path into a career that lets you balance the foundations of psychology with concepts taken from Christian theology. Christian counseling programs teach you how to utilize Christian theological concepts and theories, to help others find their way through difficult times. In completing the program, you’ll come across educational content which explores the relationship between religion and psychology. A Christian Counseling program would be of tremendous help as you prepare for a role within the Christian community. Below are some of the pathways a Christian Counseling program take you:

  • Missionary
  • Pastor
  • Correctional treatment specialist
  • Social and human services assistant
  • Teaching assistant
  • Mental health, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor
  • Religious worker
  • Clergy
  • Director, focused on religious activities and education 

In this article, we’ll go over some of the best faith-based colleges where you can pursue your Christian Counseling program. We’ll also answer some important frequently asked questions on Christian Counseling degrees, and more.

What You Need to Become a Christian Counselor

For most Christian Counseling programs, you’ll be required to meet a number of admission requirements before you can be accepted into the program. These requirements usually differ from one college to another, so it’s best to make extensive inquiries into each institution. However, there are requirements which are common to almost every college you’ll apply to. They include:

  • Minimum GPA from your high school
  • High school transcripts
  • ACT or SAT scores (not at requirement for all schools)
  • Admission essay
  • Letters of recommendation from educators and employers, either former or current. 

Also, some colleges would require transcripts from any completed post-secondary courses, if any. You can find out more details about what it takes to become a Christian counselor here.

The Best Christian Counseling Programs You Should Pursue 

If you’re passionate about completing a degree in Christian Counseling, then you’d want to enroll in the best programs available. After an extensive research into available programs, we came up with a list of some of the best programs for you. You will learn all about these colleges and why they stand out among the rest. 

1. Regent University

Regent University is a privately-owned Christian university located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The university was founded in 1978 by Pat Robertson. It was first known as Christian Broadcasting Network University before a change of name in 1990. The university offers a wide-ranging variety of programs in over 150 fields of study but from a Christian perspective. They have Associate, Bachelor’s Masters and Doctoral degrees in areas of study including business, arts, communication, technology, cyber security, law, government, leadership, nursing and psychology. 

Regent University is one of the top colleges in the state of Virginia and ranked as one of the best in the country. They have both online and physical programs, and they are affordable. 

2. Colorado Christian University 

Colorado Christian University was founded in 1914, in the Rocky Mountains region of the state. The university offers academic programs for both online and on campus students in the two colleges it runs, namely the College Of Undergraduate Studies and the College of Adult and Graduate Studies. Its College of Undergraduate Studies provides sessions to students on its residential campus on Lakewood, Colorado; while the College of Adult and Graduate Studies provides undergraduate and graduate programs online to adult learners all over the world. 

The university’s mission is to give its student’s Christ-centered higher education, which would transform them and help them impact the world positively. Their undergraduate psychology major and minor programs is geared towards creating a deeper understanding of the human mind while fostering spiritual development. Students can earn both a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in a related field. Dual students can complete their degree in psychology with an emphasis on Clinical Counseling, Biblical Studies or Criminal Justice. The school was named one of the Best Colleges – Regional Universities West by the U.S. News & World Report.

3. Grand Canyon University 

Grand Canyon University is a privately-owned Christian university located in Phoenix, Arizona. With 20,000 students on campus and 70,000 online students as at 2018, Grand Canyon University held the record as the largest Christian university in the world. Established by the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention in 1949 before ending its association with be convention in 2000, the university became the first for-profit Christian college in the United States when it was sold in 2004 to California based Significant Education. 

Grand Canyon University counseling programs are designed to prepare students to be able to counsel clients from diverse backgrounds, from a Christian perspective. They have bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and post-master’s degree programs available both online and on-campus. Their bachelor’s degree programs in counseling will equip you with insights you need to start your journey into a counseling career with programs that include behavioral health science and counseling. For their master’s degree programs, you can expand on your knowledge and specialize in programs that aligns with the causes you care about. Programs include mental health and wellness, addiction counseling, and clinical mental health counseling. 

4. Maranatha Baptist University 

Founded in 1968 as Maranatha Baptist Bible College, this institution has grown from its starting population of just about 173 students and 27 faculty members to over 6,000 graduates and 962 students as at 2010. 

Their Christian counseling program is for people whose career path includes “…providing hope to hurting individuals through God’s words“. It is an introduction to counseling skills as well as setting a solid theological base to help people navigate through life. Program outcomes include the ability to apply biblical principles and concepts to matters of spiritual growth and secular human problems. The program is taught by qualified and respected instructors like Timothy Johns, Emily Haynes, Prof David Saxon and Associate Prof Bryan Brock. They also offer online programs for non-traditional students. 

5. Oral Roberts 

The Christian Caregiving and Counseling bachelor’s degree program at Oral Roberts University is 100% online. The program is designed to equip you with methods, philosophy and resources to help prepare you for a lay or professional ministry in a broad range of pastoral roles. 

At Oral Roberts, the goal is to educate the whole person— mind, body and spirit— and truly set you apart for roles in the Christian body. This program was rated one of the Top 20 Online Counseling Degree Programs, in a survey carried out by Best Value Schools. It requires 124 credit hours to complete and you could be done in as little as three and half years if you enroll full-time.

6. Grace College 

Grace College is a private evangelical Christian college located in Winona Lake, Indiana. The college has six schools including:

  • The School of Arts and Sciences
  • The School of Behavioral Sciences
  • The School of Education
  • The School of Business
  • The School of Ministry Studies
  • The School of Professional and Online Education 

Grace College offers a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, a 100% online program which requires 60 credit hours to complete. In the program, the focus is on the exploration of psychology and the social sciences, taught with a biblical worldview. The degree will help you identify and understand the connections between behavior and relationships, as well as equip you with the ability to weigh questions and create counseling conversations in a theological context. 

These programs are some of the best around, and you are encouraged to check them out personally as you prepare for a career in Christian counseling. If you prefer traditional education, most of them have physical campuses where you can stay during the course of your program. Some others like Grace College and Oral Roberts degree programs, are 100% online. You can find additional resources or an overall college ranking for the best colleges in 2022 at Bible College Online.

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