2020 Most Affordable Online Master's in Christian Counseling

By the OnlineU team | Updated 3/13/2020
2020 Most Affordable Christian Counseling Masters Degrees Badge
By the OnlineU team | Updated 3/13/2020

The 16 schools in this list represent the most affordable options for obtaining an online master's degree in Christian counseling. At #1, Amberton University offers an online Master of Science in Family Studies - Christian Counseling for only $4,770 per year. Liberty University comes in second place, with an affordable tuition rate of $5,500 per year. Courses include Crisis Intervention in Pastoral Counseling, Foundational Doctrines for Pastoral Counselors, Multicultural Issues in Pastoral Counseling, and Small Group Ministries.

You can read more about our ranked schools below or browse our rankings of the most affordable online master's programs. View our methodology or learn more about OnlineU.

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Rank School Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 Amberton University $4,770
# 2 #2 Liberty University $5,500
# 3 #3 Ohio Christian University $5,746
# 4 #4 Holy Apostles $6,480
# 5 #5 Maranatha Baptist University $7,225
# 6 #6 San Diego Christian College $8,136
# 7 #7 Ottawa University Online $9,525
# 8 #8 Faulkner University $10,980
# 9 #9 Missouri Baptist University $12,740
# 10 #10 Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary $13,035
# 11 #11 Bob Jones University $14,025
# 12 #12 Crown College $15,660
# 13 #13 Regent University Online $17,850
# 14 #14 Dallas Baptist University $18,072
# 15 #15 Southwestern Assemblies of God University $21,420
# 16 #16 Amridge University $21,600
#1
#1

Amberton University

Garland (TX)
Annual Tuition: $4,770
Annual Tuition: $4,770
Annual Tuition: $4,770

Amberton University is a Christian college designed to meet the needs of working adults. It's Master of Science in Family Studies with a Specialization in Christian Counseling is designed to prepare graduates to apply faith-based counseling theory and principles to the practice of counseling individuals, couples, and families, especially those in crisis. The 36-credit interdisciplinary program merges the fields of counseling and human behavior with Christian studies and is taught by faculty who are... all active practitioners. Courses include Theories and Methods of Counseling, Family Life, Lifespan Development, Crisis Counseling, and Human Sexuality.

Amberton University is dedicated to making college affordable for the working adult. They offer several different payment plans and encourage students to find and use tuition assistance programs, veterans benefits, and other types of loans and scholarships. Online students have access to resources, including student advisors, a library and computer lab, research assistance, and technical support.

Students interested in applying should have work experience and a bachelor's degree from an accredited college. Applicants can apply online and must submit their transcripts; there is no fee to apply.

  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 143
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 544
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (972) 279-6511

Example Classes: Christian Counseling, Counseling Ethics, Family Life Ministry, Family Studies, Life Span Development, Practical Experience in Christian Counseling

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Family Studies - Christian Counseling
#2
#2

Liberty University

Lynchburg (VA)
Annual Tuition: $5,500
Annual Tuition: $5,500
Annual Tuition: $5,500

At Liberty University, the online Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling is designed to train pastors to provide guidance and support to people in all life stages, especially those struggling with trauma, marital issues, or other challenges. The program, which is not intended to prepare students to become licensed therapists or counselors, requires 36 credit hours to complete. Most students finish the program in about one and a half to two years.

The core curriculum for the online master’s degree in... pastoral counseling integrates ministerial training with modern psychology. Graduate students who opt for the specialization in Pastoral Counseling will take courses in Theology and Spirituality in Counseling, Healthy Sexuality, Gerontology and Counseling, and Counseling Women. Many faculty members are active counseling practitioners working in church and agency settings, so they can incorporate real experiences into their teaching. Distance learners are supported by many resources, including an online writing center, career services, library resources, and free tutoring.

To be admitted, applicants must have earned an accredited bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Prospective students will need to submit their official transcripts after submitting their application. If accepted, an admission fee will be added to the initial payment. Active military and veterans are eligible for tuition discounts and other benefits.

  • Online Degrees: 18
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Acceptance Rate: 30%
  • Average SATs: 1040 -1260
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 34,092
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 36,337
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (434) 582-2000

Example Classes: Crisis Intervention in Pastoral Counseling, Family Discipleship, Foundational Doctrines for Pastoral Counselors, Leading the Healthy, Growing, Multiplying Church, Multicultural Issues in Pastoral Counseling, Small Group Ministries

Online Master's Degrees

  • MA: Divinity: Pastoral Counseling
  • MA: Human Services Counseling: Christian Ministry Counseling
  • MA: Pastoral Counseling
  • MA: Pastoral Counseling: Community Chaplaincy
  • MA: Pastoral Counseling: Crisis Response & Trauma
  • MA: Pastoral Counseling: Dobson Center Family Advocacy, Public Policy, & the Future
#3
#3

Ohio Christian University

Circleville (OH)
Annual Tuition: $5,746
Annual Tuition: $5,746
Annual Tuition: $5,746

Ohio Christian University offers a Master of Arts in Ministry with a concentration in Pastoral Care and Counseling. Online graduate students are encouraged to participate in a host of optional, credit-bearing activities in the “Online Plus” program. These activities present distance learners with opportunities to develop valuable, practical skills through real-world experiences, such as global or U.S.-based internships, academic camps, and on-campus summer programs.

The Master of Arts in Ministry... online program trains students for roles as paid or lay ministers by providing them with a foundation in theology and Biblical studies and developing their preaching, caregiving, and church administration skills. The curriculum includes core courses and a capstone project, and the concentration in Pastoral Care and Counseling requires four additional classes: Methods of Pastoral Counseling, Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling, Spiritual Issues in Counseling, and Crisis Intervention. The program is designed to enhance students’ abilities to provide pastoral care, not to prepare them to become licensed therapists or counselors. Students can earn credit for prior learning, and scholarships are also available. Distance learners have access to tutoring and mentoring.

Admission to the master’s in ministry online degree program begins by filling out an online application found on the school's website. Applicants will be asked to provide official transcripts from their undergraduate degree programs and other documentation.

  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 32%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,264
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 246
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (740) 474-8896

Example Classes: Ethical and Legal Issues in Pastoral Counseling, Methods of Pastoral Counseling, New Testament History and Interpretation, Pastoral Intervention in Crisis, Spiritual Issues in Pastoral Counseling

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Ministry - Pastoral Care and Counseling
#4
#4

Holy Apostles

Cromwell (CT)
Annual Tuition: $6,480
Annual Tuition: $6,480
Annual Tuition: $6,480
  • Online Degrees: 3
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 50%
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 156
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 344
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE
  • Phone #: (860) 632-3010

Example Classes: Catholic Social Teaching, Mission and Evangelization, Morals and Psychology, Nature and Grace, Pastoral Counseling 1: Spiritual Helping & Accompaniment, Pastoral Issues with Human Sexuality

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies - Marriage and Family Studies
  • Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies - Pastoral Counseling
  • Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies - Spiritual Direction
#5
#5
Annual Tuition: $7,225
Annual Tuition: $7,225
Annual Tuition: $7,225
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 93%
  • Graduation Rate: 55%
  • Acceptance Rate: 73%
  • Average SATs: 1006 -1205
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 147
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 123
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (920) 261-9300

Example Classes: Biblical Theology of the Old Testament, Counseling Addictive Behavior, Counseling Survivors of Abuse, Holy Land Tour, Proverbs and Counseling, Theology and Practice of Pastoral Counseling

Online Master's Degrees

  • M.A. in Biblical Counseling
#6
#6
Annual Tuition: $8,136
Annual Tuition: $8,136
Annual Tuition: $8,136
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Acceptance Rate: 62%
  • Average SATs: 930 -1170
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 97
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 45
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: WSCUC
  • Phone #: (619) 201-8700

Example Classes: Advanced Counseling Theories and Techniques, Biblical Foundations for Counselors, Counseling for Crisis, Abuse, and Addiction, Data-Driven Decisions

Online Master's Degrees

  • MS - Leadership - Christian Counseling
#7
#7
Annual Tuition: $9,525
Annual Tuition: $9,525
Annual Tuition: $9,525
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Graduation Rate: 34%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 205
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 56
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (785) 242-5200

Example Classes: Addictive Disorders, Counseling Adults from Dysfunctional and Abusive Families, Counseling Skills, Human Sexuality: A Christian View, Integration of Psychology and Christianity, Trauma, Loss and Grief

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Counseling - Christian Counseling
#8
#8

Faulkner University

Montgomery (AL) (and 2 others)
Annual Tuition: $10,980
Annual Tuition: $10,980
Annual Tuition: $10,980
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Graduation Rate: 33%
  • Acceptance Rate: 57%
  • Average SATs: 1000 -1160
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 648
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 499
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Example Classes: Analysis of the Helping Relationship, Family Research Methods, Integrations of Theology and Counseling, Life Span Development, Substance Abuse Counseling, Suicide Intervention and Counseling

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Christian Counseling and Family Ministry
#9
#9
Annual Tuition: $12,740
Annual Tuition: $12,740
Annual Tuition: $12,740
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Acceptance Rate: 55%
  • Average SATs: 920 -1100
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 258
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 373
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (877) 434-1115

Example Classes: Christian Ethics, Following God, Knowing God, Philosophy of Religion, Psychology of Moral and Spiritual Development, Urban Church Planting

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Christian Ministry - Biblical Counseling
#10
#10
Annual Tuition: $13,035
Annual Tuition: $13,035
Annual Tuition: $13,035
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 90%
  • Graduation Rate: 79%
  • Acceptance Rate: 95%
  • Average SATs: 1030 -1200
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 300
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 803
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (816) 414-3700

Example Classes: Christian Ethics, Diagnosis & Treatment of Addiction Disorders, Evangelism and Discipleship, History of Christianity, Marriage and Family Counseling, The Helping Relationship

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Theological Studies in Biblical Counseling
#11
#11

Bob Jones University

Greenville (SC)
Annual Tuition: $14,025
Annual Tuition: $14,025
Annual Tuition: $14,025
  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 91%
  • Graduation Rate: 66%
  • Acceptance Rate: 86%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 150
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 106
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (864) 242-5100

Example Classes: Biblical Sanctification, Church Leadership & Administration, Counseling Applications, Counseling Issues Seminar, Crisis Counseling, Systematic Theology

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling
  • Master of Divinity - Biblical Counseling
#12
#12

Crown College

Saint Bonifacius (MN)
Annual Tuition: $15,660
Annual Tuition: $15,660
Annual Tuition: $15,660
  • Online Degrees: 6
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Acceptance Rate: 51%
  • Average SATs: 980 -1200
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 601
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 362
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (952) 446-4100

Example Classes: Human Growth and Lifespan Development, Pastoral Counseling, Theories and Practices of Counseling

Online Master's Degrees

  • Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Psychology & Counseling/Master of Arts in Counseling
  • Master of Arts in Christian Studies - Pastoral Counseling
  • Master of Arts in Global Leadership - Pastoral Counseling
  • Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership - Pastoral Counseling
  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Pastoral Counseling
  • Master of Divinity - Pastoral Counseling
#13
#13

Regent University Online

Virginia Beach (VA)
Annual Tuition: $17,850
Annual Tuition: $17,850
Annual Tuition: $17,850
  • Online Degrees: 8
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Graduation Rate: 57%
  • Acceptance Rate: 78%
  • Average SATs: 990 -1220
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 3,146
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 5,092
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (757) 352-4127

Example Classes: Community & Crisis Counseling, Counseling Models & Strategies, Helping Skills & Techniques, Multicultural Awareness & Individual Diversity, Professional Ethics in the Human Services Fields, Survey of Christianity

Online Master's Degrees

  • M.A. in Human Services - Biblical Counseling
  • M.A. in Human Services - Christian Counseling
  • M.A. in Pastoral Counseling
  • M.A. in Human Services
  • M.A. in Practical Theology - Missiology
  • Master of Divinity - Missiology
#14
#14
Annual Tuition: $18,072
Annual Tuition: $18,072
Annual Tuition: $18,072
  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 58%
  • Acceptance Rate: 39%
  • Average SATs: 1030 -1250
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 290
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 372
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (214) 333-7100

Example Classes: Abnormal Psychology, Addictive and Compulsive Disorders, Career Counseling and Lifestyle Development, Christian Counseling Skills, Faith Formation in Life Stages, Theological Perspectives in Christian Counseling

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Christian Ministry - Counseling Ministry
  • Master of Arts in Family Ministry - Christian Counseling
#15
#15
Annual Tuition: $21,420
Annual Tuition: $21,420
Annual Tuition: $21,420
  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Acceptance Rate: 28%
  • Average SATs: 918 -1103
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 739
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 338
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (888) 937-7248

Example Classes: Crisis Intervention, Ethical and Legal Issues, Human Growth and Life Span Development, Integration Issues in Behavioral Sciences, Methods and Techniques in Counseling

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity - Counseling
  • Master of Divinity - Family Ministry
#16
#16

Amridge University

Montgomery (AL)
Annual Tuition: $21,600
Annual Tuition: $21,600
Annual Tuition: $21,600
  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 33%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 365
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 468
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (334) 387-3877 x7550

Example Classes: Community and Social Systems, Ethics and Professional Identity, Hermeneutics, Homiletics, Marital and Family Systems, Spiritual Leadership

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Master of Divinity in Professional Counseling

Common Master’s Degree in Christian Counseling Courses

Master's degrees in Christian counseling are typically offered at Christian seminaries. Programs allow students to develop essential skills in assessing and treating clients, all from a Christ-centered perspective. Some of the courses often included in an online master's program are:

  • Christian Counseling: This course explores the professional principles and clinical procedures used to counsel patients through the lens of biblical teachings. Students learn effective methods for assessing patients, gathering information, and counseling. Coursework often covers appropriate Christian approaches for dealing with some of the most common challenges, such as grief, anxiety, depression, and conflict.
  • Aging and End-of-Life Issues: Many older adults, as well as their families, need counseling support as they experience late-life changes and begin to contemplate the end of life. This course teaches students to address these issues from the viewpoint of a Christian belief system.
  • Crisis Counseling: In this course, students learn Christian-based methods for counseling clients in crisis situations, such as divorce or the sudden loss of a loved one. Students also learn the process for crisis intervention, as well as biblical principles applicable to crisis situations.
  • Human Sexuality: At a Christian school, a course on human sexuality examines sexual relationships from a biblical perspective. Coursework also explores the influence of culture, family and peers, psychology, and biology on an individual's sexuality. Students learn how to help individuals deal with a broad range of questions surrounding sexual identity and behavior.
  • Marital Counseling: Students in this course learn to counsel couples at all relationship stages. Coursework looks at common issues such as finances, parenthood, family dynamics, communication, and conflict resolution from a Bible-centered view, and trains students to work through these issues with their clients.

Funding an Online Master’s Degree in Christian Counseling

Individuals who feel called to earn an online master's degree in Christian counseling can turn to a number of different sources for financial aid. Scholarships, fellowships, and grants for counseling and behavioral health students are available from federal, state, school, and private sources.

The benefit of receiving any of these types of aid is that they do not have to be paid back, unlike loans that must be repaid with interest. Student loans are also available from a variety of sources, but federal loans are generally preferred because they typically have lower interest rates and better repayment terms.

Students who plan to enroll in an accredited, online Christian counseling program can apply for most types of financial aid by completing a Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) form. The federal government and all higher education institutions use the information provided on this form to decide whether a student is eligible for financial aid, and if so, how much aid to provide. Students are typically notified by the schools they've applied to regarding any offers of financial assistance. As long as students are attending an accredited online program, they should be eligible for the same types of aid as on-campus students.

Many individual churches and larger church organizations provide funding for members.

In addition to the typical forms of financial aid, Christian counseling students can apply for a number of other funding sources. Many individual churches and larger church organizations, such as the National Association of the Church of God and the Antiochian Church, provide funding for church members. Other professional and non-profit organizations, such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association, the National Board for Certified Counselors Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health, promote mental health by assisting counseling students with college expenses. Finally, online Christian counseling students may be eligible for some of the following community service-oriented scholarships:

Is an Online Master’s Degree in Christian Counseling Worth it?

A master's degree is a big investment without a guaranteed payoff no matter what subject you study. Each individual should weigh the benefits and costs according to their own circumstances and goals, but an online master's degree in Christian counseling may be worthwhile for those who want to help others in their faith communities and who also have the means to pursue the degree.

Potential benefits

  • Although the BLS doesn't distinguish Christian counselors from other types of mental health counselors, the field in general is projected to grow 25% through 2029. This indicates that graduates will likely have good job security.
  • A master's in the field prepares students for licensure and certification. Depending on the program, graduates may be qualified to pursue licensing through the National Association of Christian Counselors or specialty certification through the International Board of Christian Care.
  • Evidence suggests that faith-based counseling is helpful to clients who share the counselor or therapist's Christian beliefs.

Potential drawbacks

  • Mental health counselors are prone to compassion fatigue and professional burnout from helping people in crisis day after day.
  • Counselors' median annual salary of $47,660 is less than that commanded by alumni of many other degree programs.

One aspect of online programs that students might find helpful is the flexibility to complete classwork at convenient times. The majority of master's degree students work at least part-time, so this flexibility can be crucial. Drawbacks include a lack of social interaction among classmates and fewer chances to network and develop useful professional contacts. Online students need to be especially proactive about seeking help from their school's career center and other campus resources.