Is there better job security for secular counselors than there is for Christian counselors?
I want to be a counselor, but I am unsure of which route to take that will be more beneficial. #psychology #counselor #counseling #clinical-psychology #life-coach #counseling-psychology #mental-health-counseling #family-counseling
It all depends on what your goals are as a counselor. A Christian counselor may be more rewarding for you personally but religious organizations, as rule, doesn't pay much. I'm not sure about job security. That would be based on where you live and the opportunities available in that area. You would need to go to a religiously affiliated school to get a degree in Christian counseling, and private schools tend to be more expensive than state secular colleges and universities. There seem to be many colleges online that offer advance degrees in Christian couneling but I would advise you to check on how legitimate they are and whether their degrees have any value. But I would encourage you to speak to your pastor or priest about Christian counseling and get that person's perspective. It's possible that your church would be able to sponsor you and help with your education if you are serious and indicate that you may be willing to work with the parishoners there. If there are volunteer opportunities in your church you should to try some of those. Finally, this again has to do with what your goals are. As a secular counselor you would have a broader base of possible clients and patients, people from different religious and theological backgrounds and some who are not believers. So you would have to be prepared to deal with all sorts of issues, some of which you might find personally distasteful or unsettling.
If you are a Christian counselor who followed a licensing curriculum, you can always change your mind and practice as a secular counselor. While there are generally no licensing requirements that differ for either practice, i.e. a secular counselor could call himself/herself a Christian counselor, they may lack the theological background to be effective. I have separate degrees in both but that is probably more than is necessary.
Yes, there are more job openings for mental health/secular counselors. However, most Christian counselors start out as mental health counselors. Afterward, they normally establish their own Christian practices or counseling ministries.
I take a blended approach to counseling (faith-based and mental health). This makes it easier for me to fit in either field. Yet, I am more comfortable in providing Christian/spiritual counseling because of my religious/spiritual values are stronger. It all depend on your own religious belief, passion or religious calling. Good question!
I think there are far more job opportunities for secular counselors that religious counselors. However, as Scott mentioned a Christian counselor could always work as a secular counselor provided she met the criteria for licensing as some sort of mental health professional. How secure jobs of either type would be, in the sense of not being subject to layoffs or funding cuts I don't know.
I also agree with Scott that a Christian counselor might need additional training in theology or pastoral counseling to be effective.
Good luck with your career.
Ray Finn, Ph.D.