Pastoral Counseling Certificate
Credit Hours
Years (Avg.)
Class Type
100% online, 8-week courses
Transfer Credits
Transfer in up to 50% of the certificate total
Next Start Date
Jan 15, 2024
Liberty University is accredited by SACSCOC

Help Bring Healing to Your Community with a Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Counseling

Do you want to help hurting people find healing and hope? Are you passionate about discovering lasting solutions to mental and emotional problems? Do you believe in the power of the Gospel to transform people’s lives?

If so, then a career in pastoral counseling may be right for you! Liberty’s Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Counseling can equip you for a variety of ministry-related roles by developing your skills in Christian counseling, pastoral leadership, and biblical studies. Our program provides an in-depth look at biblical, research-based counseling practices that can be applied to many situations.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, at Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics: Religious Workers, All Other, 2020 (viewed online June 21, 2021). Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Partner with us and gain the tools you’ll need to serve as an unlicensed counselor in your church and community.

Potential Career Options with a Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Counseling

Our pastoral counseling certificate can help you prepare for several career paths. Depending on your current knowledge, education level, and experience, there are many different positions that could benefit from our accredited certificate:

  • Associate pastor
  • Church counselor
  • Lay pastor
  • Non-licensed counselor

The counseling and mental health skills that you gain from our certificate in pastoral counseling can be an asset in many other aspects of the ministry world as you pursue positions of added responsibility. Additionally, the credits from this certificate may transfer directly into the master’s in pastoral counseling. Take the next step towards your personal and professional goals with a pastoral counseling certificate from Liberty University.

Additional education or training may be required for some jobs or occupations. Conferral of a certificate does not guarantee job placement.


What’s the difference between clinical mental health counseling and pastoral counseling?

Pastoral counselors offer a unique, well-rounded approach to counseling and human suffering. While regular counselors focus on people’s mental and emotional needs, pastoral counselors also recognize the importance of spiritual matters. They help people find lasting healing by offering biblical guidance that addresses spiritual, mental, and emotional issues. As religious leaders trained in ministry and mental health, they provide a valuable service to their communities.

Why Choose Liberty’s Pastoral Counseling Certificate Online Program?

Complete your coursework when and where it’s most convenient for you. As pioneers in distance learning, we have designed this certificate program to be affordable and 100% online. You can stay invested in your family, job, church, and community while earning a certificate that can take your career to the next level.

You are continuing your education because you have a passion for serving others. To support you in this endeavor, we offer training from seasoned professors who are committed to your success. They can equip you to become a Champion for Christ in the field of pastoral counseling. Our faculty are knowledgeable in their field, passionate about what they do, and dedicated to helping you reach your full potential.

Our graduate certificate program is an excellent alternative to a full-length master’s degree. You can hone your skills and achieve career readiness without the cost and commitment of a master’s program. Through our pastoral counseling courses, you can learn how to offer lasting help to hurting people in the midst of tragedy or hardship.

Join us and prepare to serve with humility and Christlike love as a pastoral counselor.



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What Will You Learn in Our Pastoral Counseling Certificate Program?

Explore a holistic approach to treatment that combines cognitive-behavioral theory, biblical teaching, and leading mental health research.

Our pastoral counseling courses can equip you to counsel individuals in your community from a biblical perspective. As a pastoral counselor, you can serve in many Christian, non-licensed roles, including as a marriage and family therapist, mental health counselor, crisis counselor, or substance abuse therapist. By learning how to treat problems and illnesses within a spiritual context, you can help people find peace, healing, and meaning in life.

Pastoral counselors offer hope through the truth of the Gospel. In our graduate certificate program, you’ll gain both practical skills and biblical knowledge while preparing to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus in our broken world. After completing this certificate, you’ll have a firm foundation in mental health practices and biblical counseling, allowing you to effectively help those who are struggling or suffering.

Explore how psychology and theology intertwine. In this program, you can learn how to use counseling methods that are both clinically and biblically sound. You’ll also examine counseling theories that have been developed by prominent Christian counselors. Our faculty can help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches, so you can offer quality pastoral care to people in your religious community.

Required Courses
  • PACO 500 – Introduction to Pastoral Counseling
  • PACO 506 – Integration of Psychology and Theology
  • PACO 507 – Theology and Spirituality in Counseling 
Certificate Information
Military Benefits
Admission Requirements

Online Pastoral Counseling Certificate Information

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Highlights of Liberty’s Christian Counseling Certificate Online Program

  • We are recognized by multiple institutions for our academic quality, affordability, and accessibility. Our commitment to excellence also helped us rank in the top 10% of’s best online schools in America. Earning your online Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Counseling from a nonprofit university with this kind of recognition can help set you apart from others in your field.
  • Your success is our success, which is why we’re committed to providing quality academics at an affordable tuition rate. While other colleges are increasing their tuition, we’ve frozen tuition rates for our undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs for the past 9 years – and counting.
  • You can complete your Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Counseling in as little as 1 semester.
  • After finishing this certificate, you can apply the credits you have earned toward our Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling degree.
  • Our online courses are only 8 weeks long with 8 different start dates offered each year and no set login times.

Military Benefits for Our Pastoral Education Program

Liberty University is dedicated to providing world-class educational experiences to military students across the globe. Whether you are a current service member, discharged or retired from service, or the spouse of a service member or veteran, we are here to support you every step of the journey.

As a thank-you for your dedication and service to our country, Liberty is honored to serve and support you in your pursuit of online education by offering the following benefits: 

  • Tuition discounts – $275 per credit hour for graduate courses
  • Discounted divinity tuition block rate: $2,475 per semester (for 9-15 credit hours*) – only $165/credit at 15 credit hours!
  • 8-week courses, 8 different start dates each year, and no set login times (may exclude certain courses such as practicums, internships, or field experiences)

*Credits taken below 9 and above 15 credit hours per semester are charged at the part-time tuition rate.

Admission Requirements for the Online Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Counseling Program

A regionally or nationally accredited bachelor’s degree with a 2.0 or above cumulative GPA is required for admission in good standing. Please visit our admission requirements page for more detailed admissions-related information.

All applicants must submit the following:

  • Admission application
  • Application fee*
  • Official college transcripts**
  • Proof of English proficiency (for applicants whose native language is other than English)

*There is no upfront application fee; however, a deferred $50 application fee will be assessed during Financial Check-In. This fee is waived for qualifying service members, veterans, and military spouses – documentation verifying military status is required.

**Please note: You cannot be accepted into this program until Liberty has your official transcripts.