Best Online Master’s in Christian Counseling Degrees

Have you been called to become a Christian counselor? Discover more about the best online master's in Christian counseling programs.
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Updated on April 9, 2024
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Best Online Master's Programs in Christian Counseling

If your Christian faith is important to you and you want to serve others, earning a master's in Christian counseling could be the key to starting a meaningful career. The degree can lead to rewarding careers helping people manage mental health conditions, family crises, and substance use disorders.

A master's in Christian counseling program requires students to complete 30-45 credits and blends foundational counseling knowledge with Christian principles.

Learn what to expect, including common courses, careers, and admission requirements.

Popular Online Counseling Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Best Online Master’s in Christian Counseling Degrees

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#1 Best Online Master’s in Christian Counseling Degrees

Regent University

  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $615

Out-of-State | $615

Credits to Graduate: 30

Whether you are a clergy member or a layperson, the online master of arts in pastoral counseling at Regent University provides a strong background for pastoral, family services, or church-sponsored counseling positions.

The pastoral counseling curriculum, a specialty in counseling ministry, emphasizes Christian psychology, mental health counseling, and clinical pastoral education. Although the pastoral counseling degree does not lead to clinical mental health licensure, program graduates serve as first-line responders and gatekeepers to professional services for individuals seeking faith-based, pastoral support.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$17,220
Out-of-state
$17,220
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$15,590
Out-of-state
$15,590
Retention Rate
74%
Acceptance Rate
41%
Students Enrolled
10,330
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
93% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

How We Rank Schools

To create this ranking, BestColleges sourced the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard. We then ranked each school according to the top variables college students selected in our College Choice and Admissions Survey. To learn more, check out our full rankings methodology or read the summary below.

Ranking Methodology Summary

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To qualify for our rankings lists, each school must be an accredited public or private, nonprofit institution. Each eligible school was then ranked based on a formula measuring:

  • Affordability (30%)
  • Student outcomes (30%)
  • Reputation (20%)
  • Diversity and social mobility (20%)

In addition, we only included colleges with graduation rates in the top third of all online colleges.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Christian Counseling Degree?

Students who complete online master's in Christian counseling programs qualify for state licensure as professional counselors. They work in specialties like school counseling, mental health counseling, and marriage and family therapy.

Students who succeed in master's in Christian counseling programs are usually:

  • Caring
  • Compassionate
  • Faith-driven
  • Detail-oriented
  • Friendly

Many online master's in Christian counseling programs take about 2-3 years to complete and require around 30-45 credits. However, requirements vary by school and by program. Part-time students with significant work or personal commitments typically take more time to graduate.

In addition to theoretical coursework, most programs include supervised fieldwork like an internship or practicum. During these experiences, students complete the supervised hours required for state licensure and work under the direction of a licensed counselor. Distance learners can often arrange to complete these requirements locally.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Christian Counseling Master's Program?

Group Counseling

This course teaches you about group dynamics and the theoretical frameworks of group counseling. Students learn about using assessments and standardized measurements to evaluate clients. You may take this course simultaneously with a practicum experience.

Christian Theology

In a Christian theology course, you'll learn the various approaches to theology. Enrollees study the entire scope of the biblical texts and the history of theology. They may use software to translate scripture, taking an explanatory approach to interpreting biblical texts.

Pastoral Ministry

This course focuses on teaching enrollees the pastoral approach to mental health work. Students learn to build their counseling practice by merging spiritual teachings with clinical counseling techniques.

Conflict Resolution

You’ll gain the skills necessary to resolve personal and organizational conflicts through a Christian lens. Students develop the ability to recognize underlying problems and acquire the necessary intervention techniques to address them.

Practicum and Internship

Through practicums and internships, you'll apply theory in real-world settings. Typically, these experiences consist of direct counseling with individuals and groups. In these hands-on settings, you learn to build rapport with clients and implement ministry plans.

What Can I Do With an Online Master's Degree in Christian Counseling?

Career Outlook

More people are becoming more open about mental health, according to a 2019 study from the American Psychological Association. As more people seek out counseling services, demand for mental health professionals — including graduates with master's degrees in Christian counseling — has grown steadily.

Between 2022 and 2032, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 18% job growth for substance use, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors. This job growth is 15 percentage points higher than the projected 3% job growth rate for all occupations during the same period.

Career Paths

Marriage and Family Therapist

Marriage and family therapists work with individuals, couples, and families to sort through relationship problems. They often work full time in mental health centers and private practices. These professionals must hold a master's degree from a program that prepared them for state licensure and practice.

Average Annual Salary (May 2023)
$68,730

Substance Use, Behavioral Disorder, or Mental Health Counselor

These counselors work one-on-one and in group settings with clients managing with mental health conditions, including anxiety, stress, substance use, and addiction. They often work full time in settings like private practice, nonprofit organizations, prisons, faith-based organizations, and healthcare facilities. They must have graduated from master's degree programs that prepare them to become licensed professional counselors or substance use counselors.

Average Annual Salary (May 2023)
$60,080

School Counselor

School counselors work in elementary and secondary schools to help K-12 students apply to college, learn study skills, and deal with social, mental, and academic challenges. These counselors need a master's degree and a state-issued license to work in public schools.

Average Annual Salary (May 2023
$66,990

Continuing Education

If you want to become a professor or researcher and shape the next generation of counselors, you can consider earning a Ph.D. But if you want to work as a professional counselor, a master's degree in Christian counseling will allow you to earn certification or state licensure. Counselors or therapists must also complete continuing education to maintain their licensure.

Christian Counseling Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

How Do I Choose an Online Master's in Christian Counseling Program?

Cost

The true cost of an online master's in Christian counseling program varies by school. For the lowest tuition rates, consider enrolling at an in-state, public institution rather than a private university or out-of-state college. Enrolling online can save you money in transportation, room and board, and on-campus fees.

Location

Not all online master's in Christian counseling programs meet every state's counseling licensure requirements. Clinical hour requirements differ from state to state. Out-of-state learners must research prospective schools to ensure the clinical hours meet state licensure requirements. Additionally, online learners must be able to commute to their practicum and internship requirements locally. Consult your state counseling board or the American Counseling Association for more information.

Accreditation

Accreditation status matters. Don't risk your counseling career by attending an unaccredited online master's program in Christian counseling. At the institutional level, you need to attend an accredited school to receive federal financial aid. Counseling programs should also have programmatic accreditation.

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs accredits both online and in-person programs. Graduates of these accredited programs become eligible for licensure. Accredited programs require the clinical hours needed for licensure and registration for the national exam.

Student Support

Student support services can positively impact your college experience, especially if you are an online student who needs remote resources. Before enrolling, check if your school offers mentorship opportunities, tutoring, networking events, career services, and internship placements.

Christian Counseling Master's FAQs

Is a master's in Christian counseling worth it?

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For many learners, an online master's in Christian counseling is worth it. However, the worth of any degree depends on each student.

You must possess a master's degree to qualify for state licensure and become a professional counselor. Since a master's degree is often a prerequisite for counseling careers, most students who know they want to be counselors, desire to help people, and identify strongly with their Christian faith feel like Christian counseling programs are worth it.

What can I do with a master's in Christian counseling?

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Accredited master's degrees in Christian counseling prepare you for state licensure in almost any counseling field. You can pursue jobs in career, school, grief, substance use, behavioral disorder, marriage and family, and mental health counseling. Your program must be accredited and include a practicum and internship for you to qualify for state licensure.

Counselors work for nonprofit organizations, prisons, healthcare providers, government agencies, faith-based organizations, and private practices. However, keep in mind that no one degree can guarantee you any specific job opportunities.

Are Christian counseling graduates in high demand?

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Yes, Christian counseling graduates are in much higher demand than all occupations. Thanks to an increasing demand for mental health services, the BLS projects 18% job growth for substance use, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors between 2022 and 2032. That rate is much higher than the projected average 3% job growth for all occupations.

Between 2022 and 2032, the BLS also projects 15% job growth for marriage and family therapists, a career many Christian counseling degree-holders pursue after graduating.

How much money can I make with a master's in Christian counseling?

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With a master's in Christian counseling and counseling licensure, you can earn a median salary between $49,000-$60,000 per year, according to the BLS. Substance use, mental health, and behavioral counselors earned an average annual salary of $60,080 in 2023, one of the lower salary averages for Christian counselors. Career and school counselors made $66,990 annually, one of the highest average salaries.

To increase your salary, gain experience and consider higher-paying work settings. Private practice allows you to find your own clients and set your rates, making it the setting that pays counselors the most.

How much does a master's degree in Christian counseling cost?

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According to the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition and fees for an online master's degree in 2020 were $10,308. The cost of an online master's in theology and religious vocations degree was $8,055 that year. You'll find that tuition and fees differ between schools, particularly private and public colleges.

Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed February 16, 2024.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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