Higher Certificate in Christian Counselling


The HCCC is an outstanding programme for training lay counsellors. It is designed for pastoral counsellors and for lay counsellors serving in the context of churches or parachurch organisations. The programme was written by Prof. Mervin van der Spuy, the former head of the Association of Christian Counsellors in South Africa. The programme is extremely comprehensive. Prof. van der Spuy believes that counsellors are best trained through an integration of theology and psychology.

To register for the HCCL, you need to have a school-leaving certificate. In South Africa, this is a National Senior Certificate (NSC). If you have an accredited tertiary qualification, we accept that in lieu of a school-leaving certificate.

If you do not have a school-leaving certificate, you may be admitted to the HCCC on the basis of RPL. You will be asked to complete the first five courses on probation as stand-alone subjects. If you pass them, demonstrating that the ability to study at this level, you may enrol for the HCCC.

If you complete the HCCC and wish to enrol for the BTh, 60 credits from the HCCC may be transferred to the BTh

The HCCC requires you to earn 132 credits on NQF level 5. Since all the courses are 12 credits, you must complete 11 courses to earn your certificate.

The courses are divided into compulsory (84 credits) and elective (48 credits) categories. You must do all the compulsory courses and make up the remainder of your curriculum by choosing electives.

Unless otherwise indicated, the pass mark for all assessment tasks is 50 per cent. A distinction is 80 per cent. To pass a course, you must complete all the required assessment tasks, maintain a grade average of 50 per cent or above, and score at least 40 per cent for the examination.

Whereas most SATS programmes do not require you to purchase textbooks, the HCCC is written around these books, which you will use in all the courses:

Students are required to purchase the following textbooks. Please acquire them before you start your first counselling course:

  • Collins, G. 2007. Christian Counseling: a Comprehensive Guide (Third Edition). Thomas Nelson.
  • McMinn, M.R. & Campbell, C.D. (2007) Integrative Psychotherapy: toward a Comprehensive Christian Approach. IVP Academic
  • Meier, Minirth, Wichern & Ratcliff. 1999. Introduction to Psychology and Counseling: Christian Perspectives and Applications. 2nd Ed. Baker Books.
  • Tan, S. & Scalise, E.T. 2016. Lay Counseling: Equipping Christians for a Helping Ministry. (Revised & Updated). Zondervan.
  • Tan, Siang-Yang, 2011. Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Christian Perspective. Baker Publishing.

Courses — 120 Credits

All Six Core Courses (72 Credits) must be completed:

  • CCC1120 The Biblical Basis of Christian Counselling
  • CCC1121 Human Development and Christian Counselling
  • CCC1122 Counselling Skills
  • CCC2120 Ethical and Legal Issues for Pastoral and Lay Counsellors
  • CCC2121 Psychopathology and Spiritual Conflicts
  • CCC2122 Relationships, Marriage and Family Counselling

Four Electives (48 Credits):

Students may select any four of the following courses

  • CCC1123 Crisis Intervention and Trauma Counselling
  • CCC1124 Counselling — Abuse and Domestic Violence
  • CCC1125 Wellness — Personal and Spiritual Growth
  • CCC1126 Addictions and Co-dependency
  • CCC2123 Congregational Care and Lay Counselling
  • CCC2124 Gerontology and Counselling the Terminally Ill
  • CCC2126 Advanced Counselling Skills Practicum
  • CCC2127 Medicine, Health and Healing

Minimum study requirements: You are required to complete 48 credits of study every 12 months (commencing with date of enrolment).

The minimum duration is one year, but the average completion time for part-time students is two years. You have a maximum of three years to finish.

Please note: You are required to complete 48 credits every twelve months, commencing with the date of enrolment.

Click here to see the Higher Certificate in Christian Counselling course Pricing

Kindly note that all fees paid to SATS are non-refundable and that prices are increased annually.

Students enrolling for this programme will first need to complete the compulsory course for all SATS students: THE1120 Introduction to Theology

Your Course, Your Time, Your Pace