Best Online Christian Counseling Programs

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An online Bachelor of Arts in Christian Counseling program introduces students to the psychology behind effective, faith-based counseling and treatment. Students of these online Christian counseling degree programs will develop the skills they need to become effective counselors using a curriculum grounded in Christian theology.

Counseling positions generally require a master’s degree and the online B.A. will most likely serve as your first step toward counseling certification, although bachelor’s degree-holders may be eligible for mentorship roles or leadership positions in churches, parishes and ministries. Christian Counseling programs also usually offer an internship or practicum through a church or parish, an experience that can later be applied to any faith-based or secular counseling position, Students can learn more about this requirement through their college’s program director; local opportunities are often granted online students who do not live near campus.

Below, you’ll find our list of the country’s best online bachelor’s in Christian counseling degree programs. Each school is ranked based on the merits of its academic strengths, learning coals, course offerings and virtual classroom experience for online students. Our goal with this list is to provide a useful, comprehensive resource for aspiring professionals who wish to earn their Christian counseling degree online.

2016 Online Education Trends Report: Learn how online programs are changing the face of higher education.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description

John Wesley University

 2/557.14%High Point, NC


Bachelor's in Ministry

John Wesley's ministry program combines courses in Christian ministry and psychology to give students a well-rounded education. Courses include theology-specific classes—principles of Christian counseling—and psychology classes that intertwine science faith, such as abnormal psychology or counseling theology. This online Christian counseling program focuses on one-on-one, small group, marriage, and family counseling so that graduates will be able to work with all members of their congregation.

With a student to faculty ratio of 10:1, JWU provides an intimate learning atmosphere for students to explore their faith. They offer online and hybrid classes, along with traditional classroom-based courses. With low tuition prices and ample financial aid opportunities, JWU is the most affordable private liberal arts college in North Carolina. The school is able to provide all students with a positive atmosphere that encourages intellectual development, spiritual maturation, and professional competency.

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Oral Roberts University

 1/553.44%Tulsa, OK


Bachelor’s in Christian Caregiving and Counseling

Oral Roberts offers an online Christian caregiving and counseling program. Students take classes in theology and psychology, and learn how to imbue Christian teachings and principles into a professional counseling setting.

Students take 128 credit hours, which includes 54 general education credits, 45 credits in their major, and 29 elective credits. Distance learners may also pursue a minor, which requires 18 credits. An online learning strategies class, which can help students acclimate to the online delivery mode, is available to all distance students in their first semester. Each term is seven weeks, and most students take two or three courses per term. The student teacher ratio is 16:1.

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Lee University

 3/554.48%Cleveland, TN


Bachelor's in Ministry Leadership - Counseling Emphasis

Lee University offers a wholesome education that values each student’s commitment to Jesus Christ and biblical truth. The school offers a BS in ministry leadership, with an emphasis in counseling, for students striving to use faith and scripture to help and counsel others. Lee also offers students a robust study abroad program: distance learners will have the chance to study in 25 different countries while receiving credit towards their major. In order to graduate, students must complete a capstone paper where they reflect and analyze a relevant topic of their choice.

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Southwestern Assemblies of God University

 3/541.03%Waxahachie, TX


Bachelor's in Counseling Ministries

SAGU offers a BA in counseling ministries for students looking to serve others and minister through Christian counseling. Graduates can discuss, analyze, and apply the concepts of psychology, counseling, the Bible, and church ministry in counseling settings to Christians of all ages. Students spend their last term in an internship where they complete a field practicum and a counseling ministries practicum alongside their final classes.

Students take 127 credits, consisting of general biblical studies, major-specific courses, and electives. SAGU offers affordable tuition prices, and students graduate with about 20% less debt on average than at other private universities. Students can transfer up to 45 hours of previous credit into the program.

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Life Pacific College

 3/547.06%San Dimas, CA


Bachelor's in Transformational Ministry - Counseling Focus

Life Pacific College offers a BA in transformational ministry with several concentrations, including a counseling focus. Students grow intellectually and spiritually as they learn to offer counsel from a biblical perspective. The counseling concentration consists of four classes taken alongside major requirements. The concentration appears on your transcript and demonstrates that you focused on that area of study.

During their time at Life Pacific, students are encouraged to volunteer at local churches and nonprofit organizations, and to study abroad. Students also have the opportunity to join a ministry. The school helps students connect with others involved in youth ministry, counseling, and missions. Many students also participate in an internship for credit in order to obtain practical experience in the field.

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Due to the specialized nature of their work, professionals who earn an online Christian counseling degree stand to earn an above-average salary compared to other professionals in the faith-based sector. Some of the most common career paths for individuals who earn a Christian counseling degree online include the following occupations:

Clergy: Clergy men and women lead religious services and act as spiritual mentors in accordance with the beliefs and practices of their particular denomination. Church members may turn to the clergy as spiritual counselors and advisors to seek assistance and support.

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor: Counselors provide guidance and advice to individuals, groups or families dealing with diseases like alcoholism or drug abuse, as well as behavioral and emotional disorders. Licensed counselors also offer treatment and support to patients as they recover from addiction.

Mental Health Counselor/Family and Marriage Therapist: These professionals offer guidance to patients with mental and emotional health disorders; in some cases, their services may also extend to the patient’s’ spouse, children and other family members. Counselors and therapists strive to listen to their clients, assist them with the issues at hand and guide them toward solutions and strategies for improving their lives and relationships.

Clinical Counselor and School Psychologist: Psychologists recognize and diagnose mental disorders, learning and behavioral disabilities, and cognitive and emotional problems. There are many schools of thought pertaining to effective psychological treatment, and these professionals may enlist in a combination of individual, group, and family-based therapies in order to assist their patients.

The following table shows the median annual salaries for each of the four positions listed above, as well as projected growth rates for that career path over the next 10 years.

PositionMedian Annual SalaryProjected Growth Rate
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor$39,27022%
Mental Health Counselor/Family and Marriage Therapist$42,25019%
Clinical Counselor and School Psychologist$74,03011%

Online bachelor’s in Christian counseling programs are ideal for students who feel called to serve others while adhering to the tenets of Christian faith. Earning an online B.A. in Christian Counseling is ideal for adults looking to balance their education alongside other priorities, such as family, their current professional responsibilities, and ongoing ministry. Since most courses are self-paced and allow students to complete the program within one or two years of enrollment, the online format offers an unobtrusive to a quality education and a valuable degree in this highly rewarding field.

Christian Counseling Resources

American Association of Christian Counselors: Student memberships are offered for this 50,000-member worldwide association.

National Christian Counselors Association: This nationwide association offers educational and licensing opportunities, as well as access to conferences and a counselor directory.

Association of Biblical Counselors: Membership is offered to licensed professionals and anyone committed to Christian counseling and spiritual development. Benefits include a downloadable library, conference discounts and discussion forums.

Christian Association for Psychological Studies(CAPS): CAPS offers memberships to students who pursue training or an academic degree through the national association. Members receive access to the quarterly Journal of Psychology and Christianity, as well as networking opportunities and other services.

Biblical Counseling Coalition: This free, nonprofit coalition is open to anyone interested in Christian Counseling. Students will gain access to resources like a job board, a list of biblical counseling organizations and online newsletters.