Are you interested in pursuing a career as a pastoral counselor? Are you slightly hesitant because you really aren’t sure just what this occupation involves? If you said yes, then you’ve come to the right place! Keep reading to learn what you need to know about this potential career path. As a pastoral counselor you will be providing services similar to that of a mental health counselor, but with more of an emphasis and a perspective in the spiritual direction. It is important to understand that to work in this capacity you are not required to be an ordained individual; however, if you are ordained this is likely to be a great career path for you, too. No matter if you are ordained or just a lay person, you will spend the majority of your time working to help individuals create healthy interpersonal bonds that exist in Christian based communities.
In order to be qualified to work as a pastoral counselor you will have the option of obtaining a bachelor’s degree, a master’s level degree, or a doctorate level degree. Should you decide to obtain your bachelor’s degree with a focus in pastoral ministry you will be studying evangelism, psychology, and the Gospels. In addition to learning about different communities of faith and how to help your patients develop a lasting sense of emotional and health development throughout their life, you will also be expected to complete business related courses. Your business administration and management courses are intended to help you handle the business end of your profession in a more efficient manner.
Within your undergraduate curriculum you can expect to be taught a variety of counseling approaches that you can apply, which will be centered on the teachings of Jesus Christ and your patient’s personal reflections. You will likely be required to complete courses such as: theology, Christian apologetics, developmental psychology, reconciliation, and crisis counseling. Take a few minutes and check out the schools that are listed on our site, paying particular attention to any that are particularly appealing to you. Feel free to request a complimentary information packet so that you will be aware of what they can offer you in your educational pursuits. As a degree graduate in pastoral counseling you will also be able to seek employment in positions like: outreach director, church administrator, liturgical editor, youth minister, or para-church leader. Of course, with your formal training and degree you will also be able to work in many different religious organizations, hospitals, or churches. Find out if any of the Christian schools below offer pastoral counseling training.