Counseling program gains track for certification

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Counseling program gains track for certification

Senior Sarabeth Shalala and junior Lily Simmons counsel together in the Student Center mall. Photo: Esther John

Starting May 2018, the Association of Biblical Counselors (ABC) will grant certification to Bob Jones University biblical counseling graduates who apply for membership.

A committee comprising members of the biblical counseling faculty, Student Life staff, and representatives from other seminaries with counseling programs made the decision to pursue the certification.

They made the choice after assembling during the summer of 2016 to consider ways to improve BJU’s biblical counseling program.

Dr. Jim Berg, BJU Seminary faculty, selected the Association of Biblical Counselors when tasked to investigate options for certification.

There will be a difference between the certification granted to  graduates of BJU’s biblical counseling programs and the state licenses granted to psychologists, according to Berg.

“State licensure means that the training program meets the qualifications of state boards governing that particular preparation program,” Berg said.

“Certification means that a credentialing agency for biblical counseling has examined the individual’s competencies to see if he or she meets certain standards.”

The Association of Biblical Counselors will grant different levels of certification to graduates of various counseling programs based on the student’s educational level.

After completing an undergraduate degree in biblical counseling at BJU, a student will have met the ABC’s requirements for Level 1 certification and must only apply to receive certification.

Students who graduate BJU Seminary with a master of arts degree in biblical counseling can apply for Level 3 advanced certification through ABC.

Berg said advanced certification signifies that in addition to completing a basic counseling course, “The student has gone through a supervised counseling process as part of his grad courses.”

To apply for certification, the BJU counseling student needs only to show proof of graduation and pay the application fee and annual membership dues.

Any level of this certification that represents recognition by a nationally accredited body is an impressive credential to show potential employers. It will also make a valuable addition to a biblical counseling student’s resume and credentials.

Berg encouraged graduates to additionally pursue individual certification with the Association of Biblical Counselors to further enhance their credibility.

Berg said individual certification requires annual training for professional development.

This training includes attendance to conferences, reading and continuing in educaiton which helps the counselor  to improve in effective ministry.