Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

A pastoral counseling degree program can train you to preach messages from the Bible and provide religious guidance. Continue reading to find out what courses can train you in pastoral administration and spiritual development. Schools offering Christian Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs Are Available?

Pastoral counseling is an area of study offered in bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. Programs at all levels consist of classroom coursework and hands-on internships designed to train you to provide spiritual, social and psychological therapy. Your program can also train you to interpret the Bible and provide religious guidance to others. If you would like to complete your program online, you may only be able to find master's and doctoral programs.

Program Levels Bachelor's degree, master's degree, doctorate
Common Courses Bachelor's: Counseling ethics, childhood development, crisis intervention, pastor administration, counseling issues
Master's: Human relations, pastoral fundamentals, developing treatment plans, spiritual guidance, career counseling
Doctorate: Religious counseling methods, psychopharmacology, diagnosis and treatment methods, human sexuality
Career Options Minister, counselor, pastor, marriage and family therapist (education requirements vary)
Certification CPC credential is available from the American Association of Pastoral Counselors

What Courses Can I Expect?

Developed to prepare students to work in the ministry and in counseling, a bachelor's degree program in pastoral counseling is a 4-year degree program that includes general education courses, along with major courses, such as pastor administration, counseling ethics, crisis intervention, counseling issues, Christian education and childhood development. The program may also include a practicum in which you would have the opportunity to work with adult and Christian youths in a church setting. Composed of about 120 credits of coursework, this program is also adequate preparation for graduate study.

A master's degree program can help you develop skills in human development, career counseling, pastoral fundamentals, group and individual development, human relations and psychopathology. With a major focus on research and practice, this option provides the clinical background needed to become licensed to work as a counselor. You may learn to supervise, assess and diagnose patients; use Christian counseling techniques to provide spiritual guidance; and develop treatment plans for patients who suffer from emotional disorders and addictions. The program may also conclude with a practicum or internship.

While pursuing a doctoral degree, your program may explore topics in sociocultural, personal, ecclesiastical, interpersonal and ethical dimensions. You may learn how to put a religious and theological spin on understanding and interpreting counseling results. Courses covered during these programs may include counseling techniques, sexuality, psychopharmacology, diagnosis and treatment. Doctoral programs typically culminate in a doctoral dissertation.

What Can I Do With My Education?

Although a bachelor's degree would prepare you for some careers, you may need a graduate degree to work as a counselor in some states. You are more likely to find a minister, pastor or counselor position with a graduate degree education. A graduate degree will prepare you to counsel married couples, troubled families, premarital couples and people in crisis. If you have earned a master's or doctoral degree, you may also meet the education requirements to become a Certified Pastoral Counselor (CPC) through the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that a master's degree is the minimum educational requirement to become a licensed marriage and family therapist. According to the BLS, marriage and family therapists earned a median annual salary of $48,600 in 2015.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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