The fact remains that the NCCA is a money making marketing ploy founded by a man with no legitimate degree in any field who has his program taught at a handful of schools that have no accreditation whatsoever with faculty members who received their degrees from the school they are teaching at. For example, when I was sucked into the NCCA, I chose to attend Colorado Theological Seminary (which operates now out of Florida, BTW). The President and Founder of Colorado Theological Seminary is "Dr." Gary Tryzbiak. He received his doctorate (a Ph.D. no less) from...wait for it...wait for it...Colorado Theological Seminary.
And to insinuate that Church vs. State should imply that a degree in ministry is less demanding, I would say that most people in ministry who find themselves in a Senior Pastor position have a RA Bachelor's and a RA or ATS Master of Divinity (which requires 93 hours and three years of full time study). The next step, a Doctor of Ministry degree, usually equires another three years of full time study plus three years of ministry experience. Basically all told, a total of 10 years of full time postsecondary study.
You could get a Bachelor's - Doctorate in about a year from someplace like Andersonville Theological Seminary, another NCCA affiliate. I received a Master of Ministry degree from them in about 4 months. Then one day I realized my pursuit of that degree was about pride, tore it up, and went back to school for real. I haven't turned back since and I've enjoyed every bit of the journey.
Sorry if I ranted a bit. :)
NCCA and its accreditor ACI appear to share the same office building at 5260 Paylor Lane, in Sarasota, FL.
Didn't mean to stir the Hornets nest... I am all for online education and legit accreditation. I advise people to check accreditation first before selecting a school. That should be first priority, then you look at the price and "fit-ability" (does the school's schedule fit your schedule, etc).
My personal experience with the NCCA is through my mom's education. That's when I first heard of them. I'll admit that I did not research the organization, thus I cannot speak of its qualities, core values, etc. I shared my mom's story just to say that her education is valid when its through church-related areas or activities. Her degree is not accepted (because the school is not regionally accredited), but she is acknowledged (meaning, people refer to her as a 'Dr.') everywhere she goes.
I did not want to make education in the Christian realm seem "irrelevant", if you will, in the mainstream or that Christian education operates "illegally". I was just stating that the Church, and probably other non-profit organizations, operate slightly different from other organizations and institutions.
I would like to comment on some of the comments I am reading here. I am pursuing state licensure in professional counseling in Louisiana. I have three RA degrees....BA in Christian Studies, MA in General Psychology and MSCE in Counseling and Psychology, so I believe in getting a solid RA degree. The NCCA, however, is not a state-based institution. There is a legitimate expression of counseling theology that is unique to the Church, and will never be expressed in state-licensed counseling offices. There is a spiritual dimension of humanity which traditional secular counseling does not adequately address. The NCCA does a great job at putting together Christian counseling programs that address spiritual issues. There are many Christian churches who have a philosophy of ministry which allows for strictly biblically-based counseling, and an NCCA graduate would be very well equipped. I think that religious organizations have a right to follow their theological persuasions and develop programs that address spiritual need according to their theological point of view. Many of these fine folks simply believe that becoming state-licensed would be a compromise of their beliefs. Any pastor can get proper spiritual equipping to adequately counsel a person biblically. To presume that no church anywhere would hire an NCCA graduate might not be true. There is a place for Christians who do not believe in state licensure to have their own thing apart from the stipulations of the state as it relates to theology, spirituality, and bible in counseling. I do also believe, however, that a Christian who earns an RA degree and does pursue state licensure will have ample, ethical, and appropriate opportunity to express spirituality in his/her counseling practice. The average person not in Academia is not able to distinguish PhD's from Colorado Theological Seminary or Liberty. What is important is that a Christian counselor not misrepresent himself and address only spiritual issues. To call CTS a diploma mill is really short-sighted. In the Christian world, a degree from this institution would go quite far. The teaching is biblically solid, but it certainly is not an RA school. I just think there is plenty of room for faith-based schools to do their thing without calling them diploma mills. Just because the business world may not be excited about such a degree doesn't mean that the school does not have integrity, or that the student will not learn an incredible amount of biblical precedents to help counsel people. NCCA offers a Christian counseling license. it should be viewed as an addendum to state-based licensure, much like the AACC. It communicates to the general public that this person is equipped to deal with faith-based issues.
I don't call CTS a diploma mill because it's not RA. I call it a diploma mill because it doesn't have reasonable academic requirements to offer a degree at the particular level. As far as spiritual issues go, I have my MA in Counseling from Liberty. They do a great job integrating spirituality with secular counseling, however, the point is that it is an actual counseling degree. The AACC is a solid organization. NCCA is very deceptive in their practices, such as encouraging their members to place LPC after their names for "Licensed Pastoral Counselor." You and I both know what LPC will mean to others and you and I both know that NCCA can't license counselors. Neither can AACC, and they don't claim to. However there are many Licensed Counselors that belong to AACC and take certificate courses with them to enrich their Christian counseling practice.
[QUOTE=rev313;433553]I am all for online education and legit accreditation.[QUOTE]
See, we both agree on something! :)
Have a great evening,
Lance, the NCCA can offer a Christian license. This means something to Christians. I am not arguing about Liberty, it is phenomenal! But yes, putting LPC there is not the right thing to do for sure. Are they being intentionally deceptive? Not really sure about that....
Do I think a Christian will be better equipped at Liberty or GCU? Absolutely! But if someone does not want state licensure, NCCA would be good solid biblical training in my opinion.
I think an issue here is: as far as licensure goes, is state licensure the only legitimate licensure for counseling?
When I first saw this thread, my original thought was to forget it and let it go since it was just a rant by someone. The fact is, my name and my seminary have been impugned before. But, I took it to the Lord in prayer. I concluded that there are many
Christians new in their faith or weak in it and they could be influenced in their future decision making. Therefore, I decided to give a metered and balanced response from my point of view. In these kind of posts, I find that the writer has either never been a student at Colorado Theological Seminary (www.seminary.ws), or, if they had been, they may have completed a single course in their program before disappearing.
Colorado Theological Seminary (CTS) is still head quartered in Colorado, ably run by our Chancellor. The administration office is in Florida because I am in Florida and I am the administrator. I relocated several years ago to take care of my elderly parents whom have since gone to be with the Lord. I couldn't go back to Colorado if I wanted to since my home is financially underwater. At sixty-five years of age, I am not sure that I am up for another relocation anyway. I will probably retire here in the Sunshine State, like so many others have done.
Some years ago, while searching for educational material for a new Christian counseling program for the seminary, I met the founder of the National Christian Counseling Association (NCCA), Dr. Arno. I was very impressed by him and his organization, which had been in existence for over thirty years and placed over three thousand Christian counselors in the field. I took a few courses to get a better feel for the course work and was impressed enough to complete the requirements for a Ph.D. That education changed my life. Additionally, it gave me the in depth knowledge to assist in prospective student inquiries and for me to be a resource for my adjunct professors. Previously, I have received degrees from the College of Emporia, Webster
University and Florida Theological Seminary. I have also attended New Mexico State University, Golden Gate University and Georgetown University.
As with all of our course work, the NCCA material is robust, comprehensive and time tested. In addition, NCCA exams must be proctored. Believe me, without concentrated study, you will not pass the exams. Since co-founding the seminary fourteen years ago, we have never had anyone graduate with a degree in four months. Students in a certificate program don't do it. There is rigor in all of our work so that students will be prepared to be a positive influence in the Kingdom and prepared to lead and counsel His flock. Integrity is the key.
Many students enroll to find that there is work involved in completing a course with CTS. Many soon evaporate into the ether of space, or withdraw for what seem to be very good reasons. I suspect they find another seminary where they can earn a degree in four months or so.
I hope the NCCA is making some money. We purchase some of their material. CTS is affordable, but not cheap. You can't conduct Kingdom business and not make enough money to sustain yourself. We essentially do not receive donations and survive year after year on the excess of our low margins. I am still determining where all the money is that people keep talking about.
There are many Christian seminaries and bible colleges in the country. If you desire to go to one sanctioned by the government, do so with my blessing. If you are raising a family and on limited funds, consider a school such as ours which is affordable, credible and accessible.
If you are reading this and contemplating where to receive your education, let me give you some advice. First, evaluate your motives for earning your degree. Second, take it to the Lord in prayer. If you have learned anything, I hope it is that if you want a cheap, easily attained degree, you will now know where and where not to acquire one.
Thanks so much for your contribution. I want to go on record here by saying that I believe in the mission, work, and product that CTS offers its students. I have done pastoral counseling for years and use Dr. Arno's profile with many people. Your seminary has a legitimate and respected place in Christian education. I have investigated your seminary many times and have been impressed with what you offer. Christians working in ministry today would be thoroughly equipped by attending your seminary. Blessings to you...
BA, Grand Canyon University
MA, University of the Rockies
MSCE, University of West Alabama
First, a quick perusal of the CTS website should confirm your position that CTS "doesn't have reasonable academic requirements to offer a degree at the particular level." Consider the CTS Doctor of Theology that may be obtained by completing 11 courses. The dissertation is not the standard scholarly work required at this level, but a compilation of APS case studies. And what of the Second PhD in Clinical Pastoral Counseling for those who have already obtained one doctorate. This second PhD can be obtained by completing four courses and no dissertation. What? No dissertation? The dissertation is what defines a legitimate doctoral program.
Second, there is no comparison between AACC and NCCA. The former is by far the most stellar of the two. And yes, there is--shall we say--questionable practices in promoting the use of letters after one's name.
I would respectfully submit the possibility that you are overlooking a couple of very important things. First, if you are talking about ATS or RA accreditation as the standard by which you are measuring the value of the degrees at CTS, then standard of comparison, that would be true. My career path requires an RA PhD and this is part of the reason I have not signed up at CTS. However, if you are measuring the validity of their degrees by sheer virtue of biblical content and theological value to the student, as well as value to the church ministry career path, I would say you are wrong in your assessment. These degrees enrich the student's understanding of scripture and counseling from a biblical perspective. I am a Board Certified Christian Counselor through the AACC, so I do believe AACC has an awesome program. But even AACC is not RA accredited! I would just like to say (again very respectfully) that unless you have a degree in Christian studies (which I do), a career in Christian ministry (which I have for a number of years), or some background in theology (which you may), you may not be qualified to assess the theological or Christian ministry career-related value of these degrees.
Thank you for your courteous response. Please allow me to address your various comments.
First, yes, the standard by which I am measuring CTS is regional accreditation. National (ATS, ABHE, TRACS or DETC) accreditation is an asset in that CHEA/USDOE recognizes the accreditors, but RA is the norm.
Second, I understand that neither AACC or NCCA hold RA status. Neither would qualify in that they are organizations and not academic institutions. The difference in the two is that AACC encourages legitimately accredited degrees, many of the persons within the AACC administration, board, etc., hold tenured faculty positions at RA schools. Many/most are involved in the field of counseling, whether in terms of a professional practice or in a chaplaincy/pastoral role. NCCA, on the other hand, encourages/promotes degrees from its own schools, none of which hold RA status. As Lance stated, there is confusion over the use certain professional designations (e.g., LPC, etc.), which, from all appearances, sends the message of questionable ethics. I don't questions the motive/sincerity of Arno or NCCA, or of the many people who have associated with the organization. They may indeed have the best of intentions. However, as we both know, good intentions are not the equivalent of legitimacy of credibility. Also, NCCA's association with ACI is enough to question their integrity.
Third, for the most part unaccredited schools in the USA actually do a disservice to the field of study, their students, and those whom their graduates will engage. This is especially true of those schools that offer graduate and doctoral programs. Since there is no standard of oversight (legitimate accreditation), and since many of their faculty (sometimes all the faculty) hold unaccredited degrees themselves, the rigor and substance of their degree programs range from blatant degree mills, to sincere but substandard attempts at providing theological training, to an extremely small group (2-3%) of schools that may offer RA equivalent programs, yet the lack of accreditation severely limits the utility of the degree.
Fourth, I commend you for your association with AACC and your pursuit of RA credentials. May this path take you far in life, your profession and ministry.