- Mental Health Counselor
- Teen Counselor
- Substance Abuse Counselor
- Church Counselor
- Education Director in a church
- Church Outreach Director
- Social Worker
- Victim Advocate
So, you’re considering a degree in Christian counseling. You’re a Christian, so you know what that part means. And you have some idea of what counseling is.
But what does a career in Christian counseling look like?
The answer is, it can look very different depending on what route you take. This list gives you just a sample of the many possibilities this career path holds.
Mental Health Counselor
Wherever you are, your Christian counseling education will have taught you how to put hope for the hopeless into action.
This may seem like an obvious place to start, but this term is actually pretty broad. So broad, it can easily be confused with similar professions.
In general, a Christian therapist or mental health counselor works with individuals, couples, families or groups to facilitate “talk” therapy with a spiritual perspective. While these terms sometimes encompass more specific professions like psychiatry, for example, the terms aren’t interchangeable.
You can become some kind of mental health counselor with a bachelor’s or master’s degree. But to be a psychiatrist means you can also prescribe medication for clients. For that, you would need to pursue a medical track and earn a doctorate in the profession. If this is your goal, an accelerated counseling degree can help you get there faster.
You might want to work specifically with teens. As a teen counselor, your work setting might not look like an office. It might be a camp. Or a school. Or a teen ministry center.
A Christian teen counselor focuses on issues common among adolescents while actively using the Bible as a resource for spiritual guidance. The program you would work in would usually have a close relationship with a church or Christian ministry organization.
Coursework required to earn a degree in Christian counseling would teach you how to utilize both the best practices for adolescent mental health and the word of God to offer teens hope and healing. The right school will ensure your counseling is firmly based on biblical truth.
Substance Abuse Counselor
Working with people who struggle with addiction or who are in recovery means being a part of a recovery community. You might be doing individual or group therapy in a hospital, jail or recovery house.
A Christian substance abuse counselor offers support to clients and teaches them how to modify their behavior while drawing from the biblical message of redemption to offer spiritual hope.
If you are interested in helping people through their challenges with drugs and alcohol, you will choose substance abuse electives that will teach you how to guide people toward recovery.
You might see yourself working in a church where your clients are your fellow congregants. There is a lot of need for church counselors. The larger the church, the more the pastor needs excellent professionals around him to care for the needs of people. And besides, mental health counseling and pastoring are not the same thing.
A church counselor uses evidence-based (proven) practices to help people through life’s challenges while speaking openly about Christian faith. Your job won’t be to preach or to lead. Primarily, it will be to create a safe space for others to speak and for you to listen.
A degree in Christian counseling will make it even clearer how your role and the pastor’s role complement each other. You’ll be a great blessing to the church.
Education Director in a church
Another role you might take in a larger church is one that manages its educational programming. Your degree in Christian counseling could make you a good fit for this because of the overlap in skillsets with educators.
A church education director provides curricula (like instruction books) and guidance to volunteer leaders on how to both instruct and provide informal counseling to congregants. You can help small group leaders understand their roles as informal support group leaders, for example.
Your education will make you far more qualified to occupy a paid role in directing these efforts than someone with the heart to lead, but who does not have the knowledge to effectively help others grow.
Church Outreach Director
The mission of the church is not only to serve its members but to reach out and serve the entire community in the name of Jesus Christ. It may be your gift to run a mental health outreach ministry as part of this mission.
A church outreach director oversees programs open to the community, many of which focus on some aspect of community mental health. Your church may utilize volunteers to offer a substance abuse recovery program, for example. You would train those volunteers and ensure they meet standards.
The mission of the church is not only to serve its members but to reach out and serve the entire community in the name of Jesus Christ.
While this might require education beyond a bachelor’s degree, a Christian counseling degree is the first step toward reaching your long-term goal. Some are called to provide direct counseling. Your calling may be to oversee the counseling of many.
This is another term that’s pretty broad. If you see yourself as a social worker, you may be interested in helping traumatized children find a stable environment, helping people with disabilities develop life skills, helping people find jobs or something else entirely.
A social worker with a Christian counseling degree can draw from a variety of resources, including spiritual resources, to help people in many ways.
If you’re serious about social work, start with your bachelor’s degree, and then go on to get a master’s degree, then a license in whatever state you live in. Here in Pennsylvania, you first become an LGSW (licensed graduate social worker), then an LCSW (licensed certified social worker) with more experience. This opens many more doors to paid positions.
Do you see yourself as an advocate for those who are underrepresented in society? As a victim advocate (which is often a type of social worker, but not always), you could specialize in doing just that.
A Christian victim advocate provides assistance to adults and children who have been abused or neglected in the name of Jesus Christ. You might help a victim of domestic violence find a safe place to stay, legal representation and basic necessities, for example.
Jobs like this vary quite a bit. You might be a public employee working for a police department, or work for a Christian organization that places you in a school or even for a church. Wherever you are, your Christian counseling education will have taught you how to put hope for the hopeless into action.
Whether you work for a specifically Christian organization or in the public sector, a Christian counseling degree will solidify the compassion and best practices you need to reach all people.
WITH A DEGREE IN CHRISTIAN COUNSELING, YOU’LL BE EMPOWERED TO HELP
There are so many more paths you can take to help all people. As a Christian counselor, you will view the world through the eyes of Jesus, the ultimate eyes of hope.
You’re a Christian, so you already believe there is no one who is beyond redemption. As a counselor, you will know how to work from the foundation of that deep belief and make a difference through excellence in mental, emotional and spiritual health care.
As noted above, many careers require licensure in addition to your degree, and Clarks Summit University will prepare you to earn it. Since the program’s inception, every graduate of CSU’s Master of Science in Counseling program who went on to take the National Counselor Exam for licensure passed on the first try.
Become empowered to help. Contact us today to learn more about earning your degree in Christian counseling.