Salt Lake City Doctorate in Counseling Degrees

PhD Doctorate in Counseling & Therapy Programs Overview

Pursuing a Doctorate 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.

Masters in Counseling and Therapy Degree program informationBoth 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[i].

How to Select a Doctorate in Counseling Therapy Program: Choose a Learning Format

GradSchools.com has search tools that may help you simplify your search for the right Counseling PhD program. One of the things you might wan to consider is the program format. If you live close to an accredited university, or are interested in relocating, search through on-campus programs. You might find that the classes are held evenings and weekends to accommodate busy adults. In this case, initiate a location search using the city, state or country tabs.

There are also many schools that offer web-based Ph.D. programs in counseling, either completely through online education courses or as a combination of distance-learning and on-campus work, called a hybrid program. Many online Ph.D. programs in Counseling are designed to accommodate currently working students, allowing them to log into their classes as their schedules permit, within certain guidelines.

Some of the listings you might encounter may include PhD in Pastoral Counseling, PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision-Consultation, and PhD Counseling Psychology programs. It is useful to request information from each school to verify their admissions procedures and other details.

PhD Counseling Potential Curriculum

The curriculum of a Ph.D. in Counseling is usually formed of core courses, electives and (if applicable) specialization courses. Additional credit hours are from dissertation research and field experience, such as a practicum or internship.

Students may encounter topics including:

  • Psychological Assessment
  • Research methodology
  • Group dynamics
  • Psychotherapy
  • Counseling Research Methods and Designs
  • Professional Ethics

Different Types of Doctorate Degrees in Counseling

At the doctorate degree level, it is common that students already have an understanding of counseling as a discipline and are pursuing advanced studies in order to focus their career path. Some of the different types of degrees include:

The Doctor of Psychology Degree in Counseling (PsyD) is often used as the credential for an academic or research career.

The Doctor of Education in Counseling Psychology (EdD or EdS) may be a good option for graduates who aspire to teach or work in educational administration. School psychologists need an advanced degree and certification or licensure to work. This typically requires a minimum of 60 graduate semester credit hours and a 1,200-hour supervised internship

The PhD in Counselor Education/Supervision is a program designed to prepare students to become expert counselors who are not only good at what they do, but are ready to become leaders in their organizations.

The Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT) is designed for counselors who want to work with couples and families.

The PhD in Pastoral Counseling is designed for counselors who want to work with faith groups or use a Christian faith perspective in their counseling practice.

Potential Career for Doctorate in Counseling Graduates

Psychologists are employed in a variety of industries, from schools, and government to offices of mental health practitioners and hospitals as well as in private practice. While the median wage for psychologists in 2014 was $70,700, the top earners reported a pay of more than $114,290. The job outlook for clinical, counseling and school psychologists is quite favorable, with a projected overall growth of 20% between 2014 and 2024.[ii]

Ready to Pursue a Doctorate in Counseling?

If you are looking to excel in your field, potentially have an edge over the competition, or you aspire to a career where a doctorate is required, achieving a Counseling PhD is the next step. Why not search for the right doctorate program in therapy and counseling on GradSchools.com today!


Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm

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