District of Columbia PhD in Counseling Psychology | Counseling Psychology Schools

Looking for a PhD in Counseling Psychology? There are a variety of accredited counseling psychology schools that offer graduate students the opportunity to earn a doctorate in counseling psychology on college campus. As terminal degrees in the field of counseling psychology, obtaining a doctoral degree is one of the steps that prepares students for practicing as licensed counseling psychologists[i]. Counseling psychology, rehabilitation psychology and family psychology are recognized specialties in professional psychology which require advanced knowledge and skills.[ii] Whether you prefer clinical practice or research, finding a graduate school for counseling psychology that is recognized by the American Psychological Association is an important step and decision.

PhD in Counseling Psychology: Degree Basics

Aspiring counseling psychologists have the option of earning a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counseling Psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). Doctoral programs usually involve a 1-2-year internship, approximately 2-3 years of advanced coursework and 1-3 years for completing a dissertation based on original research. Students may also have a clinical training and supervised practicum. The average program length is about 5 years. Generally those with a Bachelor’s degree spend 4 years of study and one year of internship (based on full-time study) while students with a Master’s degree spend less time on coursework.

DID YOU KNOW? Most clinical and counseling psychologists need a doctorate in psychology, an internship, at least 1 to 2 years of supervised professional experience, and to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology[iii]

 Graduate Schools for Counseling Psychology: Applications

In terms of prerequisites and application, counseling psychology schools may have different procedures, and it can be time intensive to find the PhD in Counseling Psychology program and school that align with your needs. One of the helpful things to do could be to create a timeline along with a checklist of what each school requires. Usually, future doctoral students need to obtain letters of recommendation, study for and take the GRE, write personal statements and wait for an interview. Some graduate schools accept both Bachelor’s and Master’s students, but this is not always the case. However, a common requirement is that applicants must have completed their degree at an accredited institution of higher learning.

Location, Location!

The other thing that is helpful in searching for universities with PhD Counseling Psychology Programs is to consider location. Are you willing to relocate? Do you prefer to study locally? Does studying abroad appeal to you. Use the location setting to find doctorate degrees by city, state and country. Then request more information from these schools for your timeline and checklist.

Types of Counseling Psychology PhD Programs

In terms of Counseling Psychology, there are PhD in Counseling Psychology programs and other doctorate degrees in counseling to consider. Taken from the subject selection, these include:

  • PhD in Art Therapy
  • PhD in Counseling and Therapy
  • PhD in Marriage and Family Counseling
  • PhD in Rehabilitation Counseling

PsyD or PhD in Counseling Psychology?

Do you enjoy working with individuals and groups? Are you interested in conducting experiments, writing, a career in academia and research? In terms of programs, the PhD is a scientist-practitioner model whereas the PsyD is a practitioner-scholar model.

PhD in Counseling Psychology

If you are more inclined to working with others whether one-one, with families, couples, or groups in counseling and psychotherapy, the Doctor of Psychology, (PsyD) is considered a clinical degree. Often these programs are based on practical work and examinations rather than on a research dissertation.

PsyD in Counseling Psychology

On the other hand, if you enjoy test construction, research methodologies and scientific investigations, the PhD in Counseling Psychology is considered a research degree. Students usually take courses in advanced statistics and experimental procedures as well as write a dissertation based on original research. Determining which type of degree works best for you may help refine your search for graduate schools for counseling psychology.

Why Study Counseling Psychology On-Campus?

Choosing a counseling psychology graduate school with an on-campus program means that you get to learn from your professors and mentors in real time. Counseling Psychology PhD programs may be research intensive, with much time devoted to either the library or the laboratory. Being on campus gives doctoral students access to the facilities as well as the opportunity to engage in activities through their student associations. Often a program will require a student to work closely as a research assistant to a faculty member or meet with their mentor over their dissertation. The opportunity to study in a social learning setting is something that may be appealing to students who want the human component and face-to-face interaction with others.

Accreditation for Counseling Psychology Schools

Likely if you are ready to find a PhD in Counseling Psychology, you are familiar with the term ‘accredited’. However, being an undergraduate or even a Master’s student, now is the time to familiarize yourself with your state licensure requirements for practicing as “psychologists” in your field. After graduation, doctoral students must pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) in order to be considered ‘licensed for practice’[iv]. Regardless of what type of program you choose, the program will need to be accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA Commission on Accreditation (APA-CoA) is recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the national accrediting agency for professional education and training in psychology.[v] They accredit doctoral graduate programs, internship programs and postdoctoral residency programs however they do not accredit schools or universities at either the Bachelor’s or Master’s levels.

Take the Next Step

The overall demand for psychologists is growing, and candidates with a doctoral degree and post-doctoral work experience are likely to have the best job opportunities[vi]. Why not begin reviewing accredited graduate schools with PsyD or PhD in Counseling Psychology Programs? Some of the sponsored program listings might include PsyD Marital and Family Therapy, PhD Counseling Psychology and Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy. Don’t forget to request more information from prospective universities as they each have unique features.


sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm |[ii] apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/recognized.aspx |[iii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm |[iv] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm |[v] apa.org/ed/accreditation/about/index.aspx |[vi] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm 

Campus counseling psychology doctorate degree program information

 

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