If you consider yourself empathetic and a good listener, a career in counseling might be a good career choice. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of new jobs for counselors will grow by 18 percent by 2018. Some counselors base their job practices in their own Christian faith, using it to attract like-minded clients and as the basis for advice.
The requirements to become a Christian counselor are essentially the same as those needed to become a counselor whose practice is not faith-based. The one possible exception to this rule is pastors or other clergy, who offer guidance and counseling as part of their job as spiritual leaders.
Education requirements to become a counselor vary from state to state, but most states require you have a master's degree in counseling to obtain a license. Many Christian universities and seminaries offer faith-based counseling programs. A bachelor's degree program in psychology can provide you with the necessary prerequisites for a master's degree program, but a bachelor's degree in any field will usually suffice for entry. The curriculum for a Christian counseling degree usually requires additional courses in biblical studies and theology.
Licensing requirements for Christian counselors are the same as non-Christian counselors. The BLS notes that 49 states and the District of Columbia have their own requirements for counselor licensure, which can vary greatly from state to state. The BLS also indicates some similarities among the different licensing requirements. In most states, you must have about 3,000 hours of supervised practice beyond the master's degree. To continue practicing, you also must pass the state licensing exam and meet continuing education requirements. Most states have a code of ethics you must follow.
According to the BLS, the median annual salary for mental health counselors was $36,810 in May 2008. The bureau notes that counselors who operate their own practices or work for group practices usually make the most money. Christian counselors made $38,167 to $62,352 per year in October 2010, according to Payscale.com. Those who obtain their Ph.D. and work as Christian psychologists made between $41,509 and $70,281 per year.
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