There are many things to consider before deciding to become a Christian counselor. The first question to ask yourself is, “Am I qualified to counsel others?” Professional counselors require years of training before they are ready to provide proper counsel. If you do not have any college education yet, then you must begin your work on a degree in Christian counseling. In any case, you should know that a great deal of psychology education is necessary for any counseling profession.
Another question to ask yourself is, “Am I a Christian?” Becoming a Christian counselor will not be possible if you do not “practice what you preach”. Knowledge of the Bible is essential to a Christian counselor, as is the practical application of that knowledge. You cannot instruct a person in the ways of Christianity if that life is not exemplified by you, the counselor.
Once you have the learning and certification necessary to begin a career as a Christian counselor, you will need to begin a job search that focuses your talents in the Christian community. Churches often have associate pastors or staff members who counsel congregates on a professional level. Hospitals also hire Christian counselors to staff hospital chapels. These individuals minister to the sick as well as to the families of the ill or deceased. Funeral homes also hire Christian counselors to comfort the grieving friends and families that utilize their services.
You may want to specialize your Christian counseling occupation, targeting a specific age group or classification of people. Some Christian counselors cater specifically to married people having problems with their relationships. Other Christian counselors work primarily with children or teens. Still other Christian counselors focus their attention on the elderly, ministering to senior citizens in nursing homes or hospitals.
Another option open to the modern Christian counselor is Internet counseling. Offering Christian counseling services via online correspondence is a new way that Christian counselors can reach many people. Anyone anywhere in the world can access the services of an online Christian counselor. Making use of video phone technology, virtual Christian counselors can even arrange a face to face session over the Internet. Payment can be made electronically, making it possible to establish your own Christian counseling practice online. Confidentiality may be more difficult with this scenario, and some clients may feel uncomfortable opening up to a computer screen with their problems. On the other hand, some clients may find it easier to interact with a virtual counselor, as the relationship between client and counselor would seem less personal and thus less intimidating.
Regardless of your special talent, your decision to become a Christian counselor has the power to change many lives; you will also discover that it's easy to keep your skills and education relevant by periodically attending online continuing education courses in counseling. As you navigate this occupation over the years, you may just find that the most important life that was changed was your own.