If you are a current pastor looking to strengthen your counseling ministry or are a church member not interested in vocational gospel ministry but would like to be better equipped and trained at helping others with God’s Word, consider pursuing the non-degree ACBC certification track for Biblical Counseling at DBTS. If you are wondering what that might look like, here are the steps you would need to take.
To begin the process, complete the “counseling certification” application here. Once you are accepted, you can register for the upcoming Foundations for Biblical Counseling course meeting this spring on Monday evenings from 6:30 – 8:20 p.m. This course will work through core biblical and theological truths that are important for biblical counseling, covering principles of biblical interpretation and key truths about Scripture, God, man, sin, and salvation.
After completing the Foundations course, you can register for the Basics of Biblical Counseling course offered over three weekends next summer: Friday evening and Saturday, May 14–15, June 18–19, and July 16–17. This course covers the instructional material in Phase 1 of the ACBC certification process, including an orientation to biblical counseling, various theories of counseling, family relations, frequent issues, and medical issues.
During those two courses, you will complete the required reading and close to half of the exam questions for Phase 2 of the ACBC certification process. You can then finish the exam questions and the required counseling observation in the fall of 2021 by taking the course Biblical Counseling Observation and Exams.
Once you have completed the exams and observation, you would be ready to begin the third and final phase for certification. This phase consists of 50 sessions of counseling under the supervision of an ACBC fellow. You could complete this phase at DBTS by taking Biblical Counseling Practicum I and II in the spring and fall of 2022, respectively.*
You would not need to complete the steps at the pace laid out above, though you would need to take the courses in that order (e.g., only after completing Basics of Biblical Counseling would you be able to take Biblical Counseling Observations and Exams). After completing any course, you could wait a year or more before starting the next one. There are, however, two hard time requirements: You need to apply for Phase 3 within four years of completing the Basics of Biblical Counseling course, and you need to complete the 50 sessions of supervised counseling for Phase 3 within one year.
The cost for the counseling certification track is $220 per course, and $1100 if you complete all 5 courses at DBTS.**
*Because these courses require personal supervision, the number of students each semester will be limited. Thus, a student may need to wait until the following semester or year to begin these courses.
**This does not include the cost of books or the fees from ACBC for application and membership. DBTS graduates may complete the first two courses using their free audit per semester but would need to pay for the final three courses.