Each State in the United States has their own unique laws governing the requirements for becoming a licensed psychologist. For the most part they are usually somewhat similar, with California being the most strict.
Typically the states require graduation from a school approved by the American Psychology Association. This can take anywhere from 4 to 7 years, depending upon the student requiring a bachelors, masters or doctorate degree . After graduation a 1 to 2 year professionally supervised work training program is required. This is followed by national and local examinations.
Pastoral counseling is a successful alternative to the state controlled field of psychological counseling. It is considered by some to be a mixture of a sense of spirituality with the science of psychology. It is because the First Amendment to the constitution states in part, that congress shall make no law respecting the free exercise of religion, that pastoral counseling exists today.
There are affordable 2 and 3 year online universities that offer a program in pastoral counseling.