Prepare to Lead in Christian Counseling with Our Doctor of Ministry (DMin) in Pastoral Counseling Degree
Our 100% online Doctor of Ministry (DMin) in Pastoral Counseling degree is designed to equip you to advance your ministry. This program can help you gain practical, gospel-centered ministry skills. Our online doctorate in pastoral counseling provides advanced training in Christian counseling and pastoral care. This training will help you incorporate biblical counseling practices into your ministry.
If you want to be better equipped to minister to the spiritual and mental health of your congregation, our DMin in Pastoral Counseling degree will give you the skills and knowledge you need.
Liberty University’s John W. Rawlings School of Divinity is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). Your divinity degree is approved by ATS and has met rigorous accreditation standards, so you can feel confident that your degree is both academically excellent and well-respected among churches, ministries, and nonprofit organizations.
What is the difference between pastoral care and pastoral counseling?
Pastoral care is something that can be provided by every pastor or church leader. This involves listening to the problems of your congregation, asking questions, and helping them find practical solutions. Pastoral counseling goes a step further because it is a type of therapy. With pastoral counseling, you may psychologically evaluate a person in your congregation and provide other mental health assistance.
A program like a DMin or PhD in pastoral counseling online can provide you with the training to conduct pastoral counseling with your church members.
Can a pastor be a counselor?
Pastors can absolutely be counselors, but it requires specialized training beyond traditional seminary programs. A DMin or PhD in clinical pastoral counseling online can help. If you are already working in ministry full time, then an online program can provide you with the flexibility you need. With the training and knowledge provided in a program like a PhD in pastoral psychology, you can start providing counseling and care to your congregation.
How much do pastoral counselors make?
As you’re considering a DMin or PhD in Christian counseling, you may be wondering if it is financially worthwhile. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for members of the clergy is $50,400.* However, the median annual salary for mental health counselors is $42,840.** If you are just starting out in the field, you can expect a salary similar to this.
Experienced ministry professionals may want to pursue a DMin or PhD in biblical counseling for additional skills. With this experience and additional training, you may earn a higher salary for your field – up to $90,000.*
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, at Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2019: 21-2011 Clergy (viewed online August 19, 2020). Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.
**Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, at Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2016: 21-1014 Mental Health Counselors (viewed online August 19, 2020). Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.
What are the benefits of earning Liberty’s online Doctor of Ministry (DMin)?
- Unlike many online Bible colleges and seminaries, Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
- This program is a practice-focused degree that emphasizes solving real-world ministry problems with advanced practice and research.
- Our online DMin degree’s specializations allow you to focus directly on your area of ministry. Additionally, the thesis provides an opportunity to dig into research under the mentorship of Liberty’s Christian scholars.
- You will complete an integrated dissertation project that will demonstrate your expertise and ability to apply advanced counseling theories to practical problems.
Why Choose Liberty’s Online DMin in Counseling Degree?
Our online Doctor of Ministry degree program is focused on practical ministry training. This is so you can gain the skills and knowledge you need for use in your specific ministry context. If you are already a ministry professional and want to help people struggling with spiritual and mental health crises, our program can give you the foundation of knowledge you need.
Throughout this Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Counseling program, you will focus on understanding practical solutions to ministry challenges in addition to theoretical research. This ensures that you can use the skills and knowledge you will gain to solve real-world problems.
This program is designed to build on your ministry experience in support of Christian counseling and pastoral care as well as provide you with important ministry-specific counseling skills. If you want to branch out into a Christian counseling role, the field-specific training and biblical counseling techniques in this pastoral counseling doctoral degree will provide valuable tools for a variety of ministry settings.
Military Tuition Discount
Lead your field with the doctoral degree you want — at a price you’ve earned. As a thank-you for your military service, Liberty University offers current and former service members like you or your spouse multiple pathways to earn a doctoral degree for only $300/credit hour. Find out how you can take advantage of this unique opportunity and reach the pinnacle of your profession — for less.
What Will You Learn in Our Doctorate in Biblical Counseling?
The core content of our online DMin program provides the basis for advanced doctoral-level academic research and writing. These skills will carry into the rest of the ministry-specific curriculum and thesis project. In your doctorate degree in pastoral counseling, you will learn advanced biblical counseling techniques and explore current issues in society as they relate to counseling. Your online pastoral counseling classes will provide diverse training that will allow you to address many different modern-day problems.
All of the courses in the DMin degree program are designed and delivered in a way to help you develop your research for the final thesis project. Your thesis will focus on a ministry topic of your choice.
- PACO 825 – Growth and Development of the Contemporary Minister
- PACO 830 – Individual and Family Issues in Pastoral Counseling
- PACO 835 – Premarital and Marital Issues in Pastoral Counseling
- PACO 840 – Crises and Current Issues in Pastoral Counseling
Doctorate in Pastoral Care and Counseling Degree Information
- This D.Min. program falls under the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity.
- Download and review the Degree Completion Plan for this program.
- View the Graduate Divinity Course Guides (login required).
Potential Career Options with a Doctor of Clinical Pastoral Counseling
- Christian university professor
- Church counselor
- Church planter
- Community chaplain
- Counselor at a Christian practice
- Lead/associate pastor
- Senior church administrator
- Senior pastor
- Worship leader
- Youth pastor
Please note: Many clinical counseling roles will require individual state licensure.
Highlights of Liberty University’s Pastoral Counseling Doctoral Degree
- Liberty is ranked in the top 1% of more than 2,100 online colleges and universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility by BestColleges.com — and one of the top 10 online schools in America by Niche.com. Earning your online DMin in pastoral counseling from a nonprofit university with this kind of recognition will set you apart from others in your field.
- You are pursuing your degree because you want to serve God and others with excellence. We want to honor that goal by making your degree as affordable as possible. While other colleges are increasing their tuition, we have a set block rate of $2,750 a semester if you take 7-15 credit hours. This can save you up to $6,000 a semester if you are a full-time doctoral student!
- To continue our mission of providing affordable education, electronic textbooks are included for all divinity courses* at no cost to you. As a full-time student, this could save you an estimated $800-2,000 per year on textbooks!
- You can complete this online DMin program in pastoral counseling in as little as 2 years.
- Our online seminary programs within the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity are led by experienced Christian counselors and ministry professionals who teach practical ministry skills while imparting deep theological knowledge.
- Learn from content developed by renowned biblical studies scholars in Liberty University’s John W. Rawlings School of Divinity, such as Dr. Elmer L. Towns and Dr. Gary R. Habermas.
Develop broad experience in Christian counseling and pastoral care to address mental and spiritual health issues in your biblical counseling practice.
*Please note: Electronic textbooks are not provided for pastoral counseling (PACO) courses, which fall under the School of Behavioral Sciences.
Admission Requirements for Our Online DMin in Pastoral Counseling Degree
Applicants must have a regionally or nationally accredited Master of Divinity degree (or its equivalent) with at least a 3.0 GPA 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*
- School of Divinity Questionnaire
- Contact information for 2 pastoral recommenders
- Official transcripts showing a Master of Divinity or its equivalent
- 3 years of ministry experience
- Ecclesiastical endorsement
- Statement of purpose
- Professional vita
- Proof of English proficiency
*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.
Military Benefits for our Doctorate in Christian Counseling
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:
- The discounted tuition rate of $275 per credit hour for part-time enrollment
- Discounted divinity block rate: $2,475 per semester — only $165/credit at 15 credit hours*
- Additional discount for veterans who serve in a civilian capacity as a First Responder (less than $625 per course)
*Credits taken above 15 credit hours for the Doctor of Ministry – Pastoral Counseling online are charged at the part-time rate.