Christian Counseling: Obtaining a License from a Religious Organization
By obtaining a counseling license from a Christian organization, Christian Counselors must adhere to the rules of a Christian organization rather than those of the state government. Since state governments often require that counseling be secular as part of the mandatory separation of church and state, many Christian counselors choose to acquire licensing through a ministerial organization. Christian counselors with licenses from religious organizations receive the same average annual salary as that of secular counselors with state licenses. Licensing organizations for those seeking to provide Christian counseling have different rules and regulations than the state. Prominent licensing organizations like the National Christian Counselors Association (NCCA) and the International Board of Christian Counselors offer a variety of credentials, including Board Certified Biblical Counselor (BCBC), Board Certified Pastoral Counselor (BCPC), Board Certified Christian Counselor (BCCC), and Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor (BCPCC). Some credentials, like the BCPCC, are restricted to state licensed professional counselors who identify and practice as Christian counselors. Others, like BCPC, require licensing from one of the following organizations: NANC, NCCA, and other CPE organizations.
NANC is the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors. Founded in 1976, the NANC is an association of pastors and laymen dedicated to providing Christian counseling. Prospective Christian counselors must complete an approved training course, examinations in theological and practical counseling, provide references, and complete a minimum of 50 hours of supervised experience.
NCCA is a non-profit organization that trains and certifies Christian counselors. One of the tenents of the NCCA is that counseling is in vain unless it is based upon Biblical teachings. NCCA offers both online and textbook based courses. NCCA works jointly with Bacone College, which offers degrees in Christian Ministry.
Whichever Christian Counseling licensing organization you choose to obtain certification from, a Christian counselor should provide faith-based advice. Like a state employee is required to provide secular counseling, a Christian counselor must be an individual of Christian conviction who provides religious counseling. Each organization is a ministerial organization that adheres to the tenets of the church. Christian counselors seek licensing from these organizations because they feel that counseling is in vain unless founded upon the word of the Lord. Christian licensing organizations are founded upon the same convictions. Those committed to providing faith-based counseling are better off seeking licensing from a religious institution rather than a secular one, such as the state. Some credentials require state licensing before applying for Christian licensing. Those who have obtained licenses to practice secular counseling who wish to provide faith-based counseling may seek expedited certification from the IBCC.