Pastoral Counseling & Specialized Ministries
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Pastoral Counseling & Specialized Ministries Overview

A major in Pastoral Counseling and Specialized Ministries prepares you to provide spiritual guidance and other services to members of your congregation. Along with spiritual counseling, this degree will teach students to provide crisis management, theological counseling and education, and religious instruction to others. Classes in theology, ministry, world religions, history, literature, counseling psychology, and biblical studies will prepare students to counsel others or lead specialized religious organizations as a minister.

Along with the option to major in general Pastoral Studies and Counseling, students have the option to specialize in areas like Youth Ministry, Urban Ministry, Women's Ministry, Lay Ministry. These specialized areas allow students to focus on a unique group of people and ensure everyone is welcome into religious organization and has a safe place to practice their faith.

Required Skills

Pastoral Counseling and Specialized Ministries students are likely to pursue careers where they will be working closely with others. Strong interpersonal and communication skills along with compassion and understanding are important when helping counsel others through difficult times or when leading services. Students who excel in this field have a passion for their religion and enjoy helping others understand their religion and their relationship to it.

A degree in Pastoral Counseling and Specialized Ministries will often lead to a full time job as a member of a religious organization. Some graduates will provide non-clinical counseling services to congregation members while others will decide to become ministers and preach. These careers can lead to atypical work hours both on the weekends and in the evenings during the week.

Students who are interested in pursuing a degree in Pastoral Counseling and Specialized Ministries should find a summer job or internship with their congregation. This will allow them to work closely with a professional and gain hands-on experience in the field. The experience will also help students decide what they would like to do with their degree after graduation.


Graduates with a degree in Pastoral Counseling or Specialized Ministries pursue careers that are affiliated with a church or religious organization. They find work as spiritual counselors or religious leaders, and have gone on to be ordained as ministers. This degree prepares students to work closely with other members of religious organization and help them understand the word of God and their relationship to religion. This field is growing at an average rate. However, graduates who are willing to relocate will have a better chance at finding a job after graduation.

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Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Pastoral Counseling & Specialized Ministries might open up.

Directors, Religious Activities and Education
Philosophy and Religion Teachers, Postsecondary
Religious Workers, All Other
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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