A biblical counseling certification can help you fulfill your desire to counsel others from a Christian and biblical perspective. Traditional counseling and biblical counseling share many of the same basic tenets, including providing an atmosphere where your clients feel comfortable working through their feelings and concerns. However, there are several aspects of the counseling profession that may be counter to the fundamental spiritual beliefs of some Christians. Pursuing training and certification as a biblical counselor can enable you to stick to your religious roots while also providing emotional, behavioral and spiritual health to your clients.
Biblical Counseling Training Programs
Before embarking on a career as a biblical counselor, you must first locate the right program. Because biblical counseling operates from a different framework than traditional counseling, you must locate a program of study approved by the Board of Christian and Pastoral Counselors. If you have a current counseling license or degree, a biblical training program gives you the opportunity to earn a pastoral counseling certification in addition to your professional license. This training may be completed online or in a traditional classroom setting.
After completing an approved program of study, you can apply for one of four counseling certifications offered by the Board of Christian and Pastoral Counselors. These certifications can offer different rights of practice to eligible counselors. Counselors who have earned a professional counseling program and are licensed by their state to practice can apply for the Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor (BCPCC) certification. Non-licensed counselors can apply for the Board Certified Christian Counselor (BCCC), provided that they have completed a professional counseling program and are currently in the process of earning state licensure. Ordained ministers and pastors may be eligible for the Board Certified Pastoral Counselor certification, while individuals with an undergraduate degree and 90 hours of Christian counseling training are eligible to earn a Board Certified Biblical Counselor certification.
Recognition of Your Training
According to the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, there are only six states that honor biblical counseling certifications on their own. These states are Arkansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Tennessee. All other states require that counselors, biblical and secular alike, comply with their state board of licensed professional counselors, or equivalent, to practice counseling in that state. While individual states have unique licensing rules, many states require that counselors be graduates of an accredited graduate degree in counseling, have a minimum amount of supervised counseling hours, and successfully pass the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification prior to practicing as a professional or biblical counselor.
Pastoral Training and Guidance
Biblical counselors operate under the supervision and jurisdiction of a church, ministry or religious-based organization. While you do not have to be a pastor to practice biblical or pastoral counseling, biblical counselors must be supervised by a board certified Christian Counseling Supervisor to ensure they provide for their clients' emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.
- American Association of Pastoral Counselors: State Licensing For Pastoral Counselors
- Board of Christian Professional and Pastoral Counselors: BCPCC – Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor
- Board of Christian Professional and Pastoral Counselors: BCCC – Board Certified Christian Counselor
- Board of Christian Professional and Pastoral Counselors: BCPC – Board Certified Pastoral Counselor
- Board of Christian Professional and Pastoral Counselors: BCBC – Board Certified Biblical Counselor
- The National Board for Certified Counselors: The National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification
Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.