Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding our Master of Arts in Counseling program. If you have questions regarding converting CCEF non-accredited courses to Biblical Seminary accredited courses, click here. You may also call our helpful staff at 800.235.4021 at any time.

Does this program help me achieve professional counseling licensure (LPC)?

The primary license for master's level counselors in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential (enacted in 1998). To obtain this license, individuals need to complete 60 graduate hours in a counseling related program of study, 3000 hours of postgraduate supervised work, and pass a national counseling exam. More information can be found in the "Licensure" section.

BTS Graduate School of Counseling has designed its 60-hour degree program to fulfill the academic requirements listed in Pennsylvania's published LPC rules. However, no graduate program can guarantee licensure upon graduation. We encourage students to consult the appropriate agency to determine exact requirements and to ensure that Biblical's program meets their specific needs. Biblical makes every effort to stay abreast of licensing changes but our primary goal is to train and educate wise, godly counselors for kingdom work.

Is the program biblical/nouthetic?

photo by Ryk Neethling

Nouthetic counseling is a label for a biblical counseling movement begun by Dr. Jay Adams in the late 1960s in response to secular psychotherapy models of that time. Dr. Adams used the Greek word, noutheteo (translated as admonish, correct, and instruct), to describe his goal of helping others change through loving concern and confrontation. This movement gained significant popularity in the 1970s and 80s because it gave room for Bible-believing Christians to explore how the bible speaks deeply to the struggles of living in a fallen world. By the late 1980s, many sympathetic with this counseling model adopted the name "biblical counseling" as it avoided the possibility of overemphasizing the confrontational aspects of counseling.

Our program teaches important principles of biblical change but goes beyond the limits of this instructional approach to counseling. Students in our program find the skills for Christ-centered change and the art of counseling in one program. Biblical's counseling program encourages students to carve out and consider broader territory, as noted in our program's purpose:

  • To prepare Christian counselors for professional and non-professional ministry who love people in all their God-given diversity, who engage science and culture with wisdom and discernment, and who skillfully apply the grace and truth of the Gospel first to their own lives and then to their counselees.

How long will it take to complete the program?

Students complete the 60-hour degree program in 36 months by attending class one night a week and one Saturday a month in the fall and spring, plus various formats in winter and summer.

Cohort students are full time. Is there a part-time option?

Students who are not yet able to join a cohort and become a full-time student may apply for the Certificate in Biblical Counseling and complete 15 hours of graduate study in counseling. If accepted, students may then enter the degree program having already completed approximately half of the first year credits.

The seminary also now offers a MA in Counseling 48-hour non-licensure track and a MA in Ministry with a counseling concentration that may meet the needs of part-time students. You can find out more about all of our degree options.

I already have a degree in counseling but lack required courses needed for licensure. Can I take courses I need from Biblical?

Most likely! Biblical offers a Certificate of Advanced Professional Counseling (CAPC) for those needing additional coursework after their master’s degree. Information about the CAPC and the application process can be found here.

Does Biblical offer online counseling courses/program?

Biblical offers some courses in an online format, especially electives and courses within the CAPC. While we know that students find online courses convenient, we also know that there is no substitute for face to face training of students learning counseling skills. As a result, Biblical does not offer full counseling degrees via the Internet.

Photo by Joe Houghton, flickr

What is our counseling approach?

Although we value learning from all of the social sciences, we give the Bible and Christian theology a place of precedence both in theory building and in resolving conflicting truth claims. We do not believe that the Bible intends to be taken as a textbook on psychology or counseling, and thus does not provide all there is to know about these topics. But we do believe it has a lot to say about human nature, motivation, and relationships both with God and with others.

We begin with the study of the biblical narrative and then use this paradigm to critique information gleaned from other sources and to provide wisdom on how this material can be used to further the kingdom of God. Because of this desire to shape our program according to the Bible, we do not favor any specific counseling approach (or method of joining faith and practice), but seek to learn from all of them. Our primary goal is to train up wise counselors (Proverbs 2:2).

Where do graduates use their degrees?

In recent surveys, our alumni told us they were using their degrees in the following paid positions:

  • Private practice
  • Psychiatric and Residential Facilities
  • Church-based counseling
  • Educational Institutions
  • Social Services
  • Pastoral Care

Many of our alumni take paid positions at their fieldwork placements after graduation. Some use the degree in a volunteer capacity such as lay counseling and teaching. They counsel people across the lifespan--children to the elderly--as well as couples and families. Working in cross-cultural environments, they counsel people dealing with issues such as substance abuse, mental illness, low income, crisis intervention, and general life concerns.

Will I be completing any fieldwork?

The program includes nine credit hours of practicum and internship courses and the student will complete 700 hours of fieldwork. The fieldwork coordinator maintains a database of sites, relationships with sites and supervisors and assists in obtaining new sites. However, the student is responsible for securing their fieldwork placements based on interests and desired outcome (i.e. licensure, a paid position in a specific population after graduating etc.)

Do you have other options in counseling education?

We have several options including an MA in Counseling 48-hour non-licensure track degree, the Masters of Divinity with a counseling concentration, MA in Ministry with a counseling concentration, certificates in christian counseling, and advanced professional counseling.

Am I Eligible?

The MAC degree and certificate programs are open to students who have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0. Students must complete all elements of the application forms and process.

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