PhD Counseling & Therapy Programs Overview
Pursuing a PhD in Counseling reflects a student’s decision and commitment to go deeper into one area of this complex and broad field. Across the United States, professional counselors are licensed on the basis of a master’s degree. Many professionals, though, opt to study at the doctoral level, since this is a requirement for those interested in practicing as a clinical, counseling and research psychologist.
Both Ph.D. in Counseling and PhD in Psychology degree programs with a counseling specialization are offered. These degree programs instruct students to provide psychological counseling for a variety of issues, including mental health and addiction.
The average length of a Counseling PhD program is 3 to 5 years of study, and students must already hold a hold a master's degree in counseling or a related field. In some programs, a yearlong residency or internship is required for hands-on experience. Most doctorate programs also call for a dissertation.
In terms of licensing, these requirements vary from state to state and may depend upon the type of counseling being done. Most states call for a master's degree, clinical experience and successful completion of a certification exam. Professionals usually have to take continuing education courses are generally required to retain the license.
FUN FACT: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall, candidates with a doctoral or education specialist degree and post-doctoral work experience will have the best job opportunities in clinical, counseling, or school psychology positions. Candidates with a master’s degree will face competition for most positions, and many of them will find jobs with alternative titles, as nearly all states restrict the use of the title “psychologist” to Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree holders.