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  • 20 Best Online Master’s in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs 2018

    Top Counseling Schools - Best Online Degrees-01
    In this article, we profile the 20 best online master’s in pastoral counseling degree programs from accredited colleges and universities in 2018.

    A master’s in pastoral counseling, or closely related discipline, can lead to a variety of jobs within the church–from counselors to ministers. Pastoral counselors are not required to hold licensing credentials, but most hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Many online programs from accredited colleges and universities are now available and are open for students who want to hold daytime jobs while seeking a master’s in pastoral care or counseling.

    Ranking the Best Pastoral Counseling Master’s Programs Online
    For the purpose of this list, we looked at approximately 50 regionally accredited institutions that offer online master’s programs in pastoral counseling, pastoral care, pastoral ministry, or some form of divinity-related counseling program. Of the schools listed, few lead to certification, but all are accredited, and many are ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Since each state has its own requirements for licensing, it is important to check the program website to verify that classes align with your career goals.

    Below is our list of the 20 best online master’s in pastoral counseling degree programs listed in order of raw affordability.

    #20 – Fordham University

    Online Master’s in Pastoral Care

    Bronx, New York

    Website

    Fordham University - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    Fordham University offers a 36-credit hour online master’s in pastoral care – counseling.

    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $32,651
    Fordham University’s online master’s in pastoral counseling and care is a 36-credit hour program that is designed to prepare students engaged in ministerial work to be competent pastoral caregivers. The program requires the completion of the courses in pastoral counseling skills, which are only offered on campus. Online courses include human growth and development, pastoral counseling theory, professional ethics in pastoral counseling, social and cultural foundations of pastoral counseling, and theology of pastoral counseling and spiritual care. The degree may also be used for those interested in seeking certification in chaplaincy from the National Association of Catholic Chaplains or the Association of Professional Chaplains. Fordham is ranked with U.S. News and World Report as the 61st best national university in the country.

    #19 – Loyola University

    Online Master’s in Pastoral Counseling

    Chicago, Illinois

    Website

    Loyola University - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    Meets licensure requirements! Loyola’s online master’s in pastoral counseling.

    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $19,442
    Loyola University’s pastoral counseling master’s programs online are designed to prepare pastoral clinicians to provide therapeutic services like pastoral counseling in faith-based contexts. The three-year, 60-credit hour design meets the current licensure requirements of the state of Illinois. Students also have the option of completing the degree on a half-time basis over four to five years. Some of the courses offered include addictions and modes of therapy, fundamentals of pastoral counseling, human relation skills, models of pastoral counseling, and theology of the developing person. Admission to the program requires official transcripts showing an earned bachelor’s degree or a bachelor’s in progress, two letters of recommendation, and a completed statement of purpose. The institution is a top-ranked and accredited school. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks Loyola as the 103rd top national university and 58th best value school.

    #18 – Houston Baptist University

    Online Master’s in Pastoral Counseling

    Houston, Texas

    Website

    Houston Baptist University - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    GRE scores required for Houston Baptist University’s online master’s in pastoral counseling.

    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,966
    Houston Baptist University offers an online master’s in pastoral counseling degree with several completion plans, which include areas of emphasis. Some of the specialization programs include addiction and recovery, crisis response, human sexuality, marriage and family, and professional life coaching. Admission to the program requires official transcripts, two recommendation letters, a resume or CV, and official GRE scores. The institution is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Houston Baptist is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 70th best regional university in the West.[/caption]

    #17 – Aquinas Institute of Theology

    Online Master’s in Pastoral Ministry

    Saint Louis, Missouri

    Website

    Aquinas Institute - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    Aquinas Institute offers an online master’s in pastoral ministry with pastoral care classes.

    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,350
    Aquinas Institute of Theology offers pastoral counseling master’s programs online designed for individuals seeking pastoral ministry degrees. The program offers an MAPM degree – a 48-credit hour program that consists of 15 courses in academic theology and ministry, with a four-month intensive internship in the supervised practice of ministry. Similar to pastoral counseling programs, the pastoral ministry degree at Aquinas requires courses in the practice of ministry and pastoral care. Some of the courses include foundations of morality of Catholic social teaching, foundations of pastoral care, and theology of worship and sacraments. Admission to the program requires a bachelor’s degree, three letters of recommendation, an autobiographical essay, and satisfactory scores on the Miller Analogies Test.

    #16 – Dallas Baptist University

    Online Master’s in Christian Counseling

    Dallas, Texas

    Website

    Dallas Baptist University - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    Dallas Baptist University offers an online master’s in Christian counseling.


    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,208
    One of the top pastoral counseling master’s programs online on our list is the master’s in Christian counseling from Dallas Baptist University. This 36-credit hour, non-licensure program is designed to prepare leaders for the ministry of Christian counseling. Courses are available online, hybrid, or as evening studies. Some of the required courses include abnormal psychology, Christian counseling skills, and introduction to Christian counseling. Advanced certificates and dual degrees are also available. Dallas Baptist is accredited and ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school as the 202nd best national university, and several of the master’s online programs have also received recognition.

    #15 – Colorado Christian University

    Online Master’s in Counseling

    Lakewood, Colorado

    Website

    Colorado Christian University - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    Colorado Christian University’s online master’s in counseling includes Bible and theology classes.


    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,407
    Colorado Christian University offers a CACREP-accredited online master’s in pastoral counseling degree program that may be completed entirely online. Admission to the program requires a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 2.5, two letters of recommendation, and a criminal background check completed online. The program is specifically for individuals seeking careers as counselors or pastoral counselors and for those seeking licensure as a counselor. Some of the required courses include Bible and theology, counseling core, and nine hours of a practicum or internship. Colorado Christian is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top regional university in the West.

    #14 – Regent University

    Online Master’s in Pastoral Counseling

    Virginia Beach, Virginia

    Website

    Regent University - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    Regent’s online master’s in pastoral counseling requires 33 credits.


    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,226
    Regent University’s pastoral counseling master’s programs online offer training in pastoral counseling for those seeking a graduate pastoral degree. Delivery is entirely online, and the program consists of 33 credits. Courses are taught by Regent professors and include addictive behavior and substance abuse, counseling skills and techniques, helping skills and techniques, issues in pastoral counseling, marriage and relationship counseling, and pastoral care – counseling and conflict. Regent is ranked among some of the best national universities in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report. In fact, several of the school’s online graduate programs have also received recognition. Regent offers one of the more affordable online master’s in pastoral counseling degree programs on our list.

    #13 – Amridge University

    Online Master of Divinity in Professional Counseling

    Montgomery, Alabama

    Website

    Amridge University - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    Amridge University’s online professional counseling master’s degree is for those seeking full-time ministry opportunities.


    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,090
    One of the more affordable pastoral counseling master’s programs online on our list is offered at Amridge University. The program is designed for individuals interested in entering or continuing careers in full-time ministry and requires both professional counseling and non-counseling courses. Some of the courses offered include advanced therapy, community and social systems, counseling techniques and helping relationships, marriage and family development, and systemic treatment of substance related disorders. Before graduation, students must pass a comprehensive examination and earn at least a grade of a B- in all courses. Amridge is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 106th best regional university in the South.

    #12 – Mid-America Christian University

    Online Master’s in Counseling – Pastoral and Spiritual Direction

    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    Website

    Mid American Christian University - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    Mid-American Christian University’s online master’s in counseling is for future pastors and ministers.


    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,992
    One of the most affordable pastoral counseling master’s programs online include the master’s in counseling from Mid-America Christian University. This 42-credit hour degree provides a broad-based education in the discipline of preparing students for pastoral care and counseling. Courses are delivered online and include advanced principles and techniques of pastoral counseling, human development, individual counseling and psychotherapy techniques, spiritual direction and spiritual formation, and theories of counseling and psychotherapy. The school is accredited and has earned recognition from several major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top regional university in the West.

    #11 – Hampton University

    Online Master’s in Counseling

    Hampton, Virginia

    Website

    Hampton University - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    Hampton University’s online master’s in counseling is for those seeking licensure in counseling.


    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,811
    Hampton University offers a pastoral counseling master’s program online that emphasizes general counseling. The program is designed for individuals seeking licensure as a professional counselor. The program is available entirely online and requires a total of 30 credits and a comprehensive examination. Classes include assessment and appraisal in counseling, introduction to research and program evaluation, and treating the substance abuser. Admission to the program requires an earned bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0, GRE scores received within the last five years, college or university transcripts, and a writing sample. While not considered a pastoral degree, the program does provide courses applicable to any field of counseling. Hampton is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 21st best regional university in the South and the 47th best value school.

    #10 – Grand Canyon University

    Online Master’s in Christian Counseling

    Phoenix, Arizona

    Website

    Grand Canyon University - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    Grand Canyon University’s online Christian counseling master’s is an affordable program.


    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,612
    Grand Canyon University’s pastoral counseling master’s programs online include the master’s in Christian counseling. This program is accredited and affordable, consisting of 74 program credits. Courses are delivered online and run approximately eight weeks in length. These courses include counseling skills in the helping relationships, counseling theories, human growth and development, introduction to graduate studies in the health sciences, marriage and family therapy, social and cultural diversity issues in counseling, and tests and appraisal in counsel. Program admission requires college transcripts and a completed online application. Grand Canyon University has received recognition in recent years from major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top national university.

    #9 – Liberty University

    Online Master’s in Pastoral Counseling

    Lynchburg, Virginia

    Website

    Liberty University -20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    Liberty University’s online master’s in pastoral counseling is 100% online.


    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,430
    Liberty University offers pastoral counseling master’s programs online that are designed prepare students to serve as staff servant-leaders in non-professional counseling of church members and other ministry settings. The 36-credit hour program is 100% online and offers several specialization areas so that students may tailor their degree toward areas of interest or to meet career goals. These specializations include addictions and recovery, crisis response and trauma, leadership, life coaching, marriage and family, pastoral counseling, and theology. The pastoral counseling specialty does not lead to licensure but does prepare students in areas of counseling women, gerontology, health sexuality, and theology and spirituality in counseling. U.S. News and World Report has recognized Liberty as a top national university in recent years.

    #8 – Ohio Christian University

    Online Master’s in Ministry

    Circleville, Ohio

    Website

    Ohio Christian University - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    Ohio Christian University’s online master’s in ministry is for those interested in pastoral care and counseling.


    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,930
    One of the most affordable pastoral counseling master’s programs online on our list is the online master’s in ministry from Ohio Christian University. This 34-credit hour program is designed to equip students to analyze situations and choose proper interventions to help others cope with crises, exploring pastoral care and counseling topics. Some of the classes offered include history of Christian thought, ministry essentials, Old Testament history and interpretation, pastoral care giver, and worship in the church. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Association for Biblical Higher Education. The school is also ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top regional college in the Midwest.

    #7 – Maranatha Baptist University

    Online Master’s in Biblical Counseling

    Watertown, Wisconsin

    Website

    Maranatha Baptist University - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    One of the most affordable online master’s in biblical counseling degrees on our list is found at Maranatha Baptist University.


    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,760
    Maranatha Baptist University’s online master’s in pastoral counseling is a biblical counseling program for those interested in full-time ministry or other counseling careers. To be eligible for admission, students must hold a bachelor’s degree from an approved institution with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better. Courses are taught online and include biblical counseling, counseling addictive behavior, counseling problems and procedures, crisis counseling, marriage and family counseling, methods of biblical change, and theology and practice of pastoral counseling. Maranatha is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 56th best regional college in the Midwest.

    #6 – Shasta Bible College and Graduate School

    Online Master’s in Biblical Counseling

    Redding, California

    Website

    Shasta Bible College - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    Shasta Bible College offers an online master’s in biblical counseling for those interested in pastoral care and counseling.


    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,160
    Shasta Bible College and Graduate School offers an accredited online master’s in pastoral counseling/biblical counseling that is designed for working students who wish to pursue ministry or ministry-related counseling. The program may be completed through the school’s distance education learning option with classes delivered online and taught by qualified instructors. Courses for the biblical counseling program include addiction counseling, counseling children and adolescents, foundations of interpersonal relations and conflict resolution, principles of biblical counseling, and theology of biblical counseling. Classrooms can be accessed at any time, day or night, and students may carry out research through the school’s online library.

    #5 – Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

    Online Master’s in Theological Studies

    Kansas City, Missouri

    Website

    Midwestern Baptist Theological - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary offers an online master’s in theological studies with classes in counseling.


    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,900
    Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary offers a 45-credit hour online master’s in pastoral counseling type of degree program. While study leads to a master’s in theological studies, a counseling emphasis (12 credit hours) is available for those interested in pursuing a career in pastoral counseling. All classes are delivered online and are taught by the same professors and instructors who teach on campus. These courses include counseling theories, diagnosis and treatment of addiction disorders, marriage and family counseling, and the helping relationship. Several Bible history and theology classes are also required. The program and school are accredited and maintain professional and academic accreditation with two accrediting bodies.

    #4 – Holy Apostles College and Seminary

    Online Master’s in Pastoral Studies

    Cromwell, Connecticut

    Website

    Holy Apostles College and Seminary - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    Holy Apostles College offers an affordable online master’s in pastoral studies.


    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,830
    One of the most affordable pastoral counseling master’s programs online on our list is the pastoral studies degree from Holy Apostles College and Seminary. The school offers a master’s in pastoral studies with concentration courses that explore pastoral care and counseling. Some of the courses offered include fundamentals of practical theology, intercultural competencies, methods in teaching, pastoral care of marriage and family, and spiritual direction skills and practice. Graduate students must complete their program of study by taking and passing a comprehensive examination. Holy Apostles is recognized by major publications like U.S. News and World Report and is accredited. It is one of our most affordable schools on the list.

    #3 – Kentucky Christian University

    Online Master’s in Christian Leadership

    Grayson, Kentucky

    Website

    Kentucky Christian University - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    Kentucky Christian University’s online master’s in Christian leadership has counseling courses.


    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,200
    Kentucky Christian University offers one of the most affordable pastoral counseling master’s programs online on our list. The master’s in Christian leadership program presents a foundation of core requirements and a series of leadership, ministry, and pastoral care (counseling) studies. Classes are delivered online and include conflict management, ethical foundations for Christian leadership, leadership development, Old and New Testament research, pastoral care and counseling, spiritual leadership, and theology of preaching. The institution is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 48th best regional college in the South and is also accredited. The university lands a #3 spot on our list for offering the most affordable online master’s in pastoral counseling degree, or closely related programs.

    #2 – Luther Rice College and Seminary

    Online Master’s in Biblical Counseling

    Lithonia, Georgia

    Website

    Luther Rice - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    100% online – Luther Rice’s online master’s in biblical counseling.


    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,046
    Luther Rice College and Seminary’s pastoral counseling master’s programs online include the master’s in biblical counseling. This 36-credit hour degree is available 100% online or through a combination of online and on-campus classes. The program is designed to train students to serve as a church counselor or attain some counseling role in other ministry settings. An accelerated completion option allows students to finish their degree in just 18-24 months. Some of the courses offered include crisis counseling and pastoral care, foundations of biblical counseling, introduction to psychology and counseling theories, marriage and family counseling, methodology for biblical counseling, and spiritual formation. The school is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education.

    #1 – Apex School of Theology

    Online Master’s in Christian Counseling

    Durham, North Carolina

    Website

    Apex School of Theology - 20 Best Online Master's in Pastoral Counseling Degree Programs

    Apex School of Theology is our #1 most affordable online master’s in pastoral counseling (Christian counseling) school.


    Graduate Tuition/Fees: $4,500
    Apex School of Theology offers an accredited online master’s in pastoral counseling type of program that is designed to train counselors to provide counseling to persons in the church and general public. The online Christian counseling master’s degree program delivers online courses taught by experienced instructors. These courses include advanced developmental psychology, counseling theories and techniques, cross-cultural counseling, individual and systems assessment, physiological bases of behavior, research methods and data collection, and theories of personality. There are also two professional tracks in professional counseling and marriage and family therapy, designed to equip students with additional and specific counseling skills. Apex School of Theology is our #1 pick for offering the most affordable online master’s in pastoral counseling degree programs.

    TCS Staff
    October 2017

    This concludes our list of the 20 best online master’s in pastoral counseling degree programs for 2018.