Earning a Master’s Degree in Christian Counseling has never been easier than it is today. The availability of online learning from reputable, Christ-centered institutions is growing every year. With so many options, choosing a Christian college that also offers the top advanced counseling degrees can be challenging. Fortunately, all the hard work has been done for you with our list of the Top Ten Online Master’s Degree Programs in Christian Counseling.
These programs were chosen based on the following criteria:
* Accreditation from nationally recognized accrediting bodies.
* National and state licensure requirements fulfilled by the program.
* Number of counseling degree programs offered online and their scope.
* Reputation of the overall institution, graduate degrees, and online programs.
* Percentage of online courses offered toward a degree (full or hybrid).
* Commitment to Christian values by the institution, faculty, and students.
As with any graduate degree-related career that requires a license to practice, reputable accreditation and quality of the program offered is a top concern. To work as a professional counselor, an advanced degree in counseling along with the required state licenses will be required. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is considered the most trusted accrediting agency that oversees counseling degree programs in the U.S. While CACREP accreditation is not required for a counseling degree, it is recognized by the American Counseling Association, and all CACREP programs meet the state standards for licensure.
The overall reputation of the institution, ease and quality of their online program, and core Christian values are also important factors to consider when choosing a degree in counseling. These factors were gathered from a variety of sources, including U.S. News & World Report.
Bob Jones University is a private, nondenominational Christian university located in Greenville, SC. The college is known for its conservative values, and its degree programs are based on a unique combination of Biblical and liberal arts courses. They offer a Master of Arts degree in Biblical Counseling (MABC) that is Christ-focused and taught with an ecclesiastical and practical approach to Christian counseling and ministry. This is a hybrid program with the majority of classes available online and the remainder required on campus. The College offers a robust level of career support and networking opportunities with both local employers and national organizations. Their online job boards, job/ministry fairs and campus recruitment activities connect students with more than 200 Christian businesses, schools, missions, and organizations. The college is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS). Notable alumni include Billy Graham.
The University of the Southwest is a private, nondenominational Christian university located in Hobbs, NM. It is a Christ-centered institution dedicated to developing graduates who spend a lifetime in leadership with faith, responsibility, and initiative. They offer a Master of Science degree in Education (MSEd) in School Counseling. This program is fully online and was developed to prepare a student for a meaningful career as a licensed school counselor at the high school, middle school, elementary school, or primary school level. The main academic focus is to train graduates with the professional tools and experience necessary to assist in child, family, and group counseling methods. Students will also learn how to help young adults with identifying their career or life goals and serving as an advocate for their future successes. Online students must also complete a practicum and internship requirements in their local community. The University of the Southwest is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and all courses meet licensure requirements in the state of New Mexico. Online courses are offered in an anytime, anywhere format.
Dallas Theological Seminary is an evangelical, theological seminary school located in Dallas, TX. They offer a Master of Arts degree in Biblical Counseling (MABC). At three years and 90 credit hours, this is one of the longest and most Biblically intensive degree programs offered. The MABC degree is a true hybrid program with 42 hours of counseling and psychology training being completed online and 48 hours of intensive biblical and theological training being taught on campus in Texas. The main goal of the degree is to prepare students for a counseling career from a biblical perspective in a church, institution, or private practice setting. The program meets all licensure requirements for the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. The seminary is fully accredited by SACSCOC, and the degree program is approved by the Association of Theological Schools. One of the extra benefits students will receive for free upon admission is $14,000 worth of Logos Bible Software. Dallas Theological Seminary’s main goal is to teach all 66 books of the Bible to each of their students before graduation. Every student who graduates with a degree will have access to these biblical and theological resources for life to use in their Christ-centered careers.
Grand Canyon University is a private, for-profit Christian university located in Phoenix, AZ. They offer six Masters of Science degrees with a variety of counseling focuses, including Christian, addiction, and general psychology. Coursework is 100% online with practicum and internship hours required in a locally approved facility. Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and individual degree programs hold additional degree-specified accreditation. This online program offers students a graduate studies education that integrates Christian principles with the professional counseling training that is necessary to help clients who are searching for Christian-based assistance and services. As part of the coursework, students will study biblical knowledge and theological wisdom to counsel clients from a Christian perspective. Paired with nationally accepted counseling and psychological practices, Grand Canyon University graduates are uniquely prepared to assist clients with a variety of methods. Graduates of this program will be able to create a career in many professional areas, including behavioral disorders, substance addictions, emotional and psychological disabilities, trauma and abuse, or marriage and family counseling. The program meets all academic requirements to sit for national certification and licensure exams, but additional state requirements may vary.
LeTourneau University is a private, nondenominational Christian university located in Longview, TX. It is ranked #32 for the Best Regional University (West) by U.S. News and World Report. They offer a Master of Arts degree in Counseling (MAC), which is a hybrid program that is taught mostly online with a three-day intensive learning course on campus in Texas. All programs are faith-based, and the University is accredited by SACSCOC. These faith-based counseling programs teach students how to use scripture and prayer, along with professionally trained counseling skills to help people with their problems, challenges, and personal issues. Three program tracks are available that are specifically designed to meet the academic requirements necessary for state licensure and a career as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). These degrees can be applied to work in a wide variety of professional counseling careers, including employment counselor, mental health counselor, or school counselor. Students can also join the school’s psychology club, Kappa Psi Delta (KPD).
Abilene Christian University is a private, Christian university located in Abilene, TX. It affiliated with the Church of Christ and is SACSCOC accredited. It is ranked #17 for the Best Regional University (West), #15 for the Best College for Veterans, and #2 for the Most Innovative School in terms of curriculum, faculty, and technology by U.S. News and World Report. They offer a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (MMFT) degree that is taught 100% online. A clinical internship of 500 client contact hours and 100 hours of supervision is also required, but can be completed locally at an approved facility. In addition to the Marriage and Family Therapy degree, students can choose to complete an additional 15 credit hours to earn a post-graduate Certificate in Medical Family Therapy (MedFT). This additional training will teach students more advanced counseling techniques that can be used in a variety of medical settings. While the courses are all taught online, two additional residency experiences are required in Dallas for completion.
Colorado Christian University is a private, nondenominational Christian university located in Lakewood, CO. They offer a Master of Arts Counseling (MAC) degree which is CACREP accredited. Students will earn their degree by focusing on a Christian framework that treats the whole person, including spiritual, psychological, and physiological. Online courses are taught in 7-week or 14-week blocks, and full-time coursework can be completed in 30 months. In addition to online training, students are required to attend three separate 5-day intensive training courses throughout the program, which is taught on site at the Lakewood campus. Students will also continue to expand on their training through practicum and internship experiences in locally approved facilities. This real-world training prepares students to make a positive impact on their community, church, family, and social circles. A basic Bible and theology core of coursework form the foundation of the degree, paired with a clinical mental health counseling curriculum that prepares students to sit for the National Counselor Exam. Nearly 90% of counseling jobs in the U.S. are filled by students holding MAC degrees, including those in high school counseling, substance abuse facilities, and human resources departments.
Liberty University is a private, Christian university located in Lynchburg, VA. Founded by Jerry Falwell, it is the largest private, non-profit university in the nation and the largest evangelical Christian university in the world. It is ranked #80 for the Best Regional University (South), #79 for the Best Online Bachelor’s Program, and #112 for the Best Online Graduate Education Program by U.S. News & World Report. Liberty offers three online Master of Arts degrees in Pastoral Counseling, Professional Counseling, and Marriage and Family Counseling. The university holds CACREP accreditation and the online programs are geared to meet the requirements needed to acquire licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) in most states. A comprehensive online support system is available to distance learners, including academic advising, online writing center, and 24/7 access to free tutoring. Liberty is dedicated to encouraging, engaging, and connecting with their online students as well by providing live streaming campus events, private Bible-centered chatrooms, and online ministry services. Notable alumni include Shannon Bream (Fox News Channel).
Indiana Wesleyan University is a private, evangelical Christian liberal arts university located in Marion, IN. It is the largest private university in Indiana and is affiliated with Wesleyan Church. It is ranked #30 for the Best Regional University (Midwest), #25 for Best Colleges for Veterans, and #12 for the Best Value School based on net cost of attendance by U.S. News & World Report. The University offers multiple Master of Arts degrees in Counseling, with specializations in Addictions, Clinical Mental Health, Community, School, Marriage and Family, and Student Development. Programs are offered online with practicums and internships required. Online students can choose locally approved facilities where they will engage in real-world counseling training. They also offer certificate programs and a hybrid degree that is taught online with two-weekend intensive courses required on campus. Indiana Wesleyan is accredited by CACREP and approved by NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals. The Christ-centered academic community strives to provide easily accessible educational programs to students who want to prepare for leadership and mentoring roles in their community.
Regent University is a private, nondenominational Christian research university located in Virginia Beach, VA. It was founded by Pat Robertson in 1977 and is accredited by SACSCOC. It is ranked #11 for Best Online Bachelor’s Program and #21 for Best Online Graduate Education Program (Nationally) by U.S. News & World Report. The offer four online Master of Arts degrees in Counseling with specializations in Clinical Mental Health, Human Services, and Marriage and Family. They also offer one Master of Science degree in General Psychology. In addition, they have an online Doctoral Degree program available in Counselor Education and Supervision. All degrees are hybrid programs with online classes as well as summer or weekend residencies required. Regent University offers the wide range of Christian counseling programs that can lead to professional counseling careers in mental health facilities, church counseling centers, government agencies, or private practice. The program’s highly regarded contemporary counseling techniques are taught from a Christian-based, multicultural perspective. Degree programs are CACREP accredited, and each track fully prepares students to sit for the state licensing in clinical mental health, school, and marriage and family counseling. The college strives to provide high-quality, faith-based education from a Christian perspective in order prepare students for desirable careers around the world. Regent Univesity was chosen for the top spot on this list due to its excellent professional reputation, accreditations and affiliations with nationally recognized counseling organizations, recognition as a provider of the highest quality degree programs in the areas of counseling, as well as its overall strengths as a Christian-based institution in mission and vision.