Are you drawn to helping others sort through problems? Do you want to incorporate your Christian faith into a rewarding profession? Liberty University Online's master's degree programs in professional and marriage and family counseling center on Christian teachings and train students for a career improving the lives of others.
The Counseling Profession
When life becomes stressful, many people turn to counselors to receive professional help. The stigma associated with therapy and counseling has decreased drastically in recent years, leading to increased demand for counselors. More than ever, schools, churches, and corporations are hiring counselors to improve the quality of life for their students, constituents, and employees. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the counseling profession to grow by 21 percent between 2006 and 2016, much faster than the national average for other occupations. Demand for marriage and family therapists is expected to be especially high, growing by 30 percent.
For those who wish to become a counselor but don't have the option of returning to school full time, an online counseling program may be a good fit.
Liberty University Online Offers a Christian Counseling Program with Devoted Faculty
Members of the Liberty University Online faculty are committed to inspiring their students through both classroom learning and leading by example. Professors Mary Pangle and Sandra Beazeale are just two of the many professors teaching online that exemplify these ideals.
Dr. Mary Pangle, graduate professor of Group Dynamics, Introduction to Human Services, and Studies in Interpersonal Communication, considers teaching to be a gift from God, calling it her "passion in life." Dr. Pangle uses this gift both online and in the classroom. When she's not teaching, she sets an example for students through her work as a nationally certified counselor dedicated to women's issues. Dr. Pangle's latest literary work is Journal Through Cancer: The Michele Lynn Queen Story and chronicles her oldest daughter's five-year battle with cancer.
"As a way of giving back, I offer my counseling services [pro bono] to women who are struggling with such issues as depression, sexual abuse, marital issues, eating disorders, and substance abuse," says Dr. Pangle.
Another professor making a difference in students' lives is Dr. Sandra Beazeale. With 20 years of teaching experience, Dr. Beazeale continues to make her students a priority and establish an effective teaching environment.
"I value students first and feel it is a privilege to be part of their lives," Dr. Beazeale says. "I try to set an atmosphere of warmth and acceptance without compromising the expectation of academic excellence and spiritual growth."
A veteran of both traditional and online teaching, Dr. Beazeale loves teaching in the classroom and finds "the same satisfaction in teaching via computer." She believes the advantages of Liberty University Online's Christian counseling program spring from the university's dedication to warmth, integrity, and accountability. Faculty and students are held to high academic standards and expected to understand counseling from both a secular and religious point of view. The result is a supportive community of scholars unique in online counseling programs.
Liberty University Online Offers Master's in Counseling Degrees with a Purpose
At Liberty University Online, students are expected to pursue their degree with academic rigor, moral integrity, and reverence for the Word of God. Liberty University Online's Christian graduate school offers two master's degree in counseling programs: the Master of Arts in Professional Counseling and Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. Both degree programs prepare students for licensure in most states.
Master of Arts in Professional Counseling
Liberty University Online's Master of Arts degree in Professional Counseling prepares students for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). LPCs work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, counseling centers, ministry-related programs, and private practice. The Liberty University Online program prepares students by emphasizing a combination of modern counseling techniques, human development courses, and biblical principles. Requirements include:
- Coursework: Students must complete 48 units of coursework, including a 3-unit internship and 3-unit practicum. Central courses include human development, counseling techniques, counseling theory, theology and spirituality in counseling, psychopathology, ethics, and clinical diagnosis.
- Residency: Students must study on campus 3 times for intensive, 1-week periods.
- Comprehensive Exam: Before graduating, students are given a comprehensive exam to ensure full subject matter knowledge.
Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
A Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Liberty University Online prepares students for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) in most states. The Liberty University Online program trains future MFTs to reduce and prevent family conflicts through counseling techniques, clinical practice, and teachings on incorporating faith into counseling. Requirements include:
- Coursework: Students must complete 60 units of required courses, including a 3-unit internship and 3-unit practicum. Courses include human development, counseling techniques, theology and spirituality in counseling, marriage and family counseling, pre-marital and marital counseling, human sexuality, and ethics
- Residency: In addition to online coursework, students come to campus 4 times for intensive, 1-week periods
- Comprehensive Exam: Students are given a comprehensive exam to ensure thorough knowledge of subject matter
Taking a Step Toward Serving Others
If you're interested in combining your faith with a master's in counseling, Christian graduate school may be the right path. The following features of Liberty University Online's format allow students who are unable to attend expensive, full-time graduate programs to earn their degree:
- Flexibility: Liberty University Online's degree programs allow students to take classes and do coursework at times that work for them
- Affordability: Not only does a Liberty University Online degree allow students to continue working, financial aid and scholarships are available to ease the financial burden. In a study of online Masters of Business Administration degrees, Liberty University Online cost $5,000-$15,000 less than other leading online schools.
Before selecting a program, be sure to research your state's licensure requirements. If you have a bachelor's degree and live in a state that recognizes out-of-state and distance degrees, consider Liberty University Online to help you fulfill your life's purpose.