What Careers are in Christian Counseling?

What are careers in Christian Counseling? According to the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC), Christian Counselors provide all the services that non-Christian counselors do, as well as Biblical and Christian guidance. The Christian Care Network provides a referral network of licensed, certified, and credentialed Christian counselors. Christian counselors may work in specialized ministries operated by churches or other Christian organizations, according to the American Association of Christian Counselors. They may also practice in communities, as part of hospitals or clinics, or as independent therapists or counselors.

Education, Certification and Licensing

Christian counselors have two paths to beginning a career in the field. One path involves completing education in a secular, non-Christian counseling, psychology or therapy program. Then, the counselor must complete their practicum or internship under a certified supervising therapist or psychologist, and apply for and receive a counseling certification or license in their state. Then, they complete Christian Counseling training. The other pathway to becoming a Christian counselor is completing all therapeutic education and training through a Christian university or counseling training school. If a Christian counselor is only trained and certified by a Christian Counseling association, most states will not allow them to practice therapy outside a religious organization. A number of Christian universities and schools offer education that qualifies for secular licensing and certification in addition to certification that is limited only to religious practice.

Marriage and Family Counselors

Many Christian counselors work with families and children, either as part of faith-based ministries, or on their own in private practice. These counselors are generally licensed as Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Professional Counselors, or Clinical Social Workers in their state. They combine secular therapeutic training with Christian Counseling principles in working with marriage and divorce concerns, parenting issues, and family trauma.

Other Counseling Specialties

Many Christian organizations operate ministries serving specific segments of the community or needs. You could find a job working as a substance misuse counselor, also called addictions or drug and alcohol counselor. Teen, grief/bereavement, crisis, and aging counselors are other types of specialties. Art and music therapists can also be Christian counselors.

Advanced Professional Degrees

Christian universities offer psychology and psychiatry degrees for counselors wishing to pursue higher education and certification. A psychiatrist has both a PhD and a medical degree, and can prescribe medication. Psychologists have doctoral degrees, and are able to conduct clinical research. You can pursue these degrees and work within a Christian ministry or organization. Secular organizations, including large hospital networks, colleges and universities, are also beginning to offer jobs for faith-based counselors, including Christian and other religiously-informed therapists.

The American Association of Christian Counselors has more than 50,000 members. Its job resource listings cover hundreds of Christian counseling positions in nearly every state. Christian counselors combine the expertise and education of secular, licensed counselors with a deep knowledge and background of Christian teachings and Biblical knowledge. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, projects that 30,000 more counselors will be needed between now and 2024. With a 19% projected growth rate, the general counseling field is projected to grow much faster than many other fields.

Related Resource: What Careers are in Educational Counseling?

What are careers in Christian Counseling? You can be a faith-based counselor working for a Christian organization, in private practice, or work at a secular hospital or clinic.