How do I become a Christian Counselor?

How do I become a Christian Counselor?

How do I become a Christian Counselor?

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People who are thinking of choosing counseling as a profession may want to consider Christian/Biblical counseling as a course of study. This job would include principles of psychology used in conjunction with your Christian faith. If you are a Christian and want to help others with their lives in light of what the Bible says, this may be the right field for you.

Counselors are trained to diagnose mental illness, help individuals or groups overcome challenges and conflicts, provide life skills and coping mechanisms, and help people process things they have been through. You might find this profession suitable if you have an interest in helping people get through tough times. You will need to be able to listen well and speak to others without either being judgmental or taking things personally. You may also find psychology combined with your Christian beliefs to be an interesting course of study.

Daily Work Environment of a Christian Counselor

Daily Work Environment of a Christian Counselor

Christian/Biblical counselors can expect to meet with patients on an ongoing basis depending on each person’s needs. You may meet once a week or more/less regularly depending on each individual’s situation. You will sit, listen, take notes and offer suggestions for coping and self-care. You may administer diagnostic tests, recommend courses of treatment, and you may meet with others related to the issues at hand (such as in family or group counseling.) You will also need to be able to keep a detailed file for each patient and complete paperwork or data entry on a computer. Depending on your specialty, there may be other job duties such as training or conducting research. You will also be expected to keep up on the newest studies and research in your field. If your state requires you to take additional credits each year to keep your license, you will have to fit that into your work life as well.

What Makes Christian/Biblical Counseling Different?

What Makes Christian/Biblical Counseling Different?

Traditional psychology study does not include faith, so for many this is an inadequate way to learn how to treat a patient. Patients may have a strong preference for a counselor who shares their faith. For Christians who need therapy, going to someone who understands their religious background can be the most important thing. This person also needs to be able to help them overcome obstacles and procure treatment. That is where you would come in. A Christian/Biblical counselor understands what the Bible says, has a relationship with Jesus, and has also completed training to diagnose mental illness and provide therapy.

Choices in Christian Counseling Education

Choices in Christian Counseling Education

You may desire to attend a university that teaches from a Christian worldview. There, you can obtain a master’s or doctorate degree in psychology. At this type of university, you will also take theological classes alongside core and specialized subjects. You can specialize in various ways depending on what your university offers. Specialities include: clinical, counseling, school, and industrial/organizational psychology.

Another choice is to attend any secular or non-Christian college that offers your specialty and then seek additional training afterward to be a Christian/Biblical counselor. This can be done through a certificate program or through a Christian counseling association. If you want to be certified to be a counselor outside of a church, you still must meet state licensing requirements, so be sure that the program you are looking at qualifies.

You may be able to get some jobs with just a bachelor’s degree, but most jobs will require you to complete a master’s or doctorate degree. Look into the job you want to find out the exact requirements. You must commit to many years of school if you want to get a doctorate degree, so be prepared for the time and financial commitment you will have to make. It makes good sense to look at how much money total you will have to pay out-of-pocket for your degree compared to what you will be making annually. Compare and make sure that those figures are acceptable to you.

Salary Information for a Christian Counselor

Salary Information for a Christian Counselor

There are various positions you can obtain once you have your degree and are licensed to practice counseling in your state. According to Payscale.com, a psychologist earns an average salary of $68,474 yearly, a licensed professional counselor earns an average of $43,929, and a pastor earns an average of $46,956 per year. The pay for someone with a Christian background and training is on par with the pay for someone who works from a secular worldview.

More Job Options for a Christian Counselor

More Job Options for a Christian Counselor

As a Christian/Biblical counselor, you may choose to work with specific groups of people. You can focus your study on that particular people group as you get your degree. For example, you may want to work as a family counselor (around $51,690 annually), a drug and alcohol abuse counselor (around $38,520 annually), or work just with children (around $53,610 annually if you work in a school). As you learn more and work toward being licensed, you can decide if you want to work toward a proficiency in a certain area. Depending on your school’s class offerings, you may be able to take extra classes in that specific area. It is a good idea to look at all of your options when you decide where to enroll. Not every school offers that same programs and a college with the exact program you are looking for may be a better fit than one that is just close to home.

Christian Counselor Licensing Information

Christian Counselor Licensing Information

Once you complete your degree, you will need to apply to be licensed by the state you will work in. You will want to make sure that your college is accredited and that your degree will be accepted by the state for licensure. Look at the requirements you will need to meet before you choose your school and degree program. Once you are licensed, you are able to start counseling patients, but you may be required by your state to take continuing education classes each year to keep your license current.

Outlook for the Future of Christian Counseling

Outlook for the Future of Christian Counseling

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the job outlook for family and marriage counselors is greater than average, which means there will be growth in the future with more job openings. School and career counselors have an average job outlook. Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors have a higher than average job outlook.

The field of counseling is so broad that it is difficult to state an average for every job available. If you know what your focus will be on, you can visit their website and do a search for the exact job you are looking to do. They also have information on what the job entails, the exact education required, and the pay you can expect. One thing is for sure: people will always need help with their problems, their fears, and their trials they are going through. Counselors provide a safe place for people to learn how to manage their lives. There will always be a demand for trained individuals who want to help others.