The counseling field is projected to grow 29% between 2012 and 2022 which is almost three times the national average of total job growth (United States Bureau of Labor Statistics). Churches and ministries recognize the need to partner with trained and licensed counselors to care for their people.
Could I be a counselor?
Answering the following questions will provide insight if the counseling field will be a good fit for you:
- Are you passionate about helping hurting people find hope in a broken world?
- Do you want to help individuals and families through difficult times?
- Does your heart break for the pain that people experience in daily life?
- Are you excited to share the love of Christ with those who need it most?
- Do you like to listen and help individuals work through big decisions?
- Are you interested in helping those with mental illness learn how to thrive?
At the heart of a counselor is the desire to help people overcome brokenness and pursue wholeness in life. As a student in the MA Counseling program you will integrate a biblical and theological framework into foundational counseling practice to enhance your career.
Our top-ranked counseling program prepares you to serve others and thrive as a professional. Highlights include:
- 69 credits (including 18 credits in Bible and Theology)
- Choose from 7 areas of counseling and ministry specialization
- Complete 700 hours of Practicum and Internship experience
- Eligibility to receive your Limited License as a Professional Counselor (LLPC) upon graduation
- Choose a diploma from either Cornerstone University or Grand Rapids Theological Seminary
- Flexible scheduling
- Complete up to 24 credits of your degree online
- Complete your program while working full-time
- 77% students receive financial aid
Our program checklist breaks this program into modules and lists the courses required for each module. Depending on how many classes you want to take each semester, the average MA Counseling student completes the program in 2-4 years. The average full-time student takes 12 credits per semester; the average part-time student takes 6 credits per semester.
Degree Completion Plan
The following document is a sample of how you might arrange courses for the Master of Arts in Counseling degree program. We encourage you to arrange your course plan in a way that will fit your own desired course loads, interests and available dates and times. Depending on how many classes you want to take each semester, the average MA Counseling student completes the program in 2-4 years. The average full-time student takes 12 credits per semester; the average part-time student takes 6 credits per semester.
The Master of Arts in Counseling program is also available in an online format through Cornerstone University.
Internships & Practicums
What practicum and internship opportunities exist in Grand Rapids?
We have provided below a list of sites where you may complete your practicum and internship requirements. Most of the listed sites have accepted GRTS students in the past, however you do not have to choose a site from this list. We allow students at GRTS to find their area of passion and pursue a site that provides the most hands on experience for their needs. You must fill out and submit a Site Proposal Form to ensure that the site you have chosen fulfills our guidelines for approval.
Practicum will include 100 hours of experience where you will gain a greater understanding of the work of a counselor. You will complete at least 40 direct client contact hours as you begin working with clients. The other 60 hours of practicum will include supplemental work (research, reading, case notes, supervision, etc.).
Internship will include 600 hours of experience where you will be doing the work of a counselor. You will complete at least 240 direct client hours (individual therapy, group therapy, assessments). The other 360 hours will include supplemental work (research, reading, case notes, supervision, etc.).
All practicum and internship students must have their own student professional liability insurance in place before they can register for these classes. You must maintain insurance coverage from the semester you register for your practicum or internship until you complete your program. We have provided below links to sample mental health insurance organizations. We do not endorse any one company, and you are free to secure insurance from other providers.
- Healthcare Providers Service Organization – This website has a quick search function for insurance prices. Select Michigan in the "Quick Quote – Individual" box, then select "Licensed Professional Counselor" from the professions drop menu and check the "Student" box under status.
- National Board for Certified Counselors Insurance Center
- CPH and Associates
- American Professional Agency Inc.
STUDENT LEARNING OBJECTIVES
- Conduct basic biblical interpretation and application with reference to the English Bible texts.
- State a basic understanding of the primary elements of Christian theology.
- Demonstrate knowledge, values and practices essential to personal spiritual formation.
- State a personal philosophy of counseling that reflects awareness of personal beliefs, foundational theories, and worldview integration.
- Facilitate the counseling process for individuals, groups and/or families by providing consultations that foster awareness, growth and restoration that is based on established client centered goals and a sound systemic framework.
- Articulate and apply effective counseling strategies reflecting practical techniques and multicultural applications.
- Demonstrate understanding and competency in the use of testing instruments and research interpretation in appraisal and diagnosis.
- Demonstrate theoretical understanding and basic competency in career development counseling.
- Exhibit understanding and compliance with the legal requirements and ethical codes of the counseling profession.