The page between chapters
The short story:
I’m transferring from BCS and pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Christian counseling, beginning on January 18th.
And for those who want more details, here’s the long story:
It was around the end of November this past semester when I really started pondering a change. All of this ties back to last summer, when some of you will remember that I was pondering some big changes, as well. I want to say clearly that I have nothing against Bethlehem College – nothing against the faculty, students, or the program itself. But as the semester progressed, it became clearer in my mind that the major that I was pursuing (a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies) was not for me. And since I had been thinking about counseling for some time, I began to wonder if it would behoove me to start over on my Bachelor’s degree (which I’ve been working on for one semester), and pursue counseling for the rest of my academic career.
I have a lot of commitments and interests here in MN, so I knew that I wanted to stay local to pursue a Bachelor’s degree. I loved what I had heard about the FOCUS (adult degree completion) program at Northwestern, when I spoke with their department last summer. So naturally, that was one of the first places I looked when I knew I would not be coming back to BCS. I met with an academic advisor and visited a class, and I knew it was a fit for me. I loved the small group atmosphere, and the discussion-based, writing-heavy structure. I applied and was recently accepted.
FOCUS offers two options for Christian counseling: a twenty month Bachelor of Science program, and a sixteen week certification program. The former is what I’m after eventually, but they don’t have enough people to begin the B.S. cohort until this summer at the earliest. The cohorts meet once a week, on Wednesday nights, and you come out with a B.S. or certificate or whatever you’re after. Right now, I’m planning to pursue a certificate in Christian counseling. What’s the difference? The certificate program is merely training, such as you might get at CCEF or NANC (although the philosophies between these institutions may differ some). Churches recognize your certificate as proof that you’ve had training and are qualified to get involved in their counseling ministry. Most churches don’t offer a paid counseling position, however; and if a person wants to be a paid counselor, they ultimately need to pursue higher education. A B.S. in Christian counseling, then, primarily serves as the backbone to a masters or Ph.D., or whatever it is one wants to pursue. After that begins the licensure process with the state in order to be recognized in a clinical setting.
So, my plan is to finish the certificate program at Northwestern by May of this year, jump into the B.S. program when it starts up, and then pursue a masters, followed by licensure in MN, so that I can be a paid counselor in a clinical setting. I am still passionate about teaching the Bible to youth, and I will probably do that in a volunteer capacity. All of that is not completely set in stone, but that’s what I’m thinking right now. I’m not sure when I will graduate with my B.S.; that depends on when the cohort starts up.
What an adventure this past month has been… but I have seen the Lord’s hand in it all, and I can’t wait to see what He has for me down the road! Hello, Northwestern College! It’s gonna be a good time.