25 Best PhD in Counseling Online Programs [2020 Guide]

We've ranked the 25 Best PhD in Counseling Online Programs for 2020. Compare doctoral counseling programs & schools. Accelerated courses are also available.

PhD in Counseling student talkingWe’ve ranked the 25 Best PhD in Counseling Online Programs for 2020. Compare doctoral counseling programs & schools. Accelerated courses are also available.

After acquiring your master’s degree in counseling, one of the best options for advancing your future professional goals comes in the form of pursuing a PhD in this field. However, there’s quite a bit you might not know when it comes to successfully acquiring this advanced degree.

To ensure that you’re on a path for success and prepared to handle the rigors that come with this educational commitment, you’re going to want to make that you’re well informed about what it means to become a doctor of philosophy with a specialization in counseling.

Online PhD in Counseling Programs

If you’ve given serious thought about registering for this program, the type of concentration you’d like to pursue has probably also crossed your mind. Ultimately that choice is going to rely on what you’d like to do in terms of a career after you receive your doctorate. The concentrations available for the doctor of philosophy in counseling are listed below.

Online PhD in Counseling Programs:

  • PhD in Marriage & Family Therapy – Child and Adolescent Therapy
  • PhD in Marriage & Family Therapy – Couple Therapy
  • PhD in Marriage & Family Therapy – General Family Therapy
  • PhD in Marriage & Family Therapy – Medical Family Therapy
  • PhD in Marriage & Family Therapy – Therapy with Military Families
  • PhD in Pastoral Care and Counseling
  • PhD in Psychology – Counseling Psychology

Online Psychology Programs:

  • PhD in Psychology – Educational Psychology
  • PhD in Psychology – Forensic Psychology
  • PhD in Psychology – General Psychology
  • PhD in Psychology – Health Psychology
  • PhD in Psychology – Social Psychology

Again, these concentrations can – and will – vary from institution to institution, so be prepared to do a little extra research as you start trimming schools off of your shortlist.

How do You Get a PhD in Counseling?

If you’re interested in pursuing this PhD, you can do so through numerous online and public schools that offer the program. Often, having the flexibility of online schooling and distance learning on your side can help ease the strain that comes with this process as you juggle your other responsibilities.

Additionally, some employers may also present this type of educational opportunity as part of employee improvement programs, thereby giving you even more incentive to sign up for classes.

Differences between a PhD Philosophy in Counseling and a PhD in Educational Administration

If you’re like most other potential candidates in this field, chances are that you’re considering potential career paths in related areas – like educational administration. While both do require strong leadership and management skills, there are plenty of important differences that you need to be aware of as you compare and contrast these disciplines.

As far as careers go, a PhD in Counseling provides you with the opportunity to work in rehabilitation, clinical counseling, and even counseling in schools. On the other hand, a PhD in Educational Administration focuses instead on your ability to build relationships and manage personnel as a dean of students, director of affairs, or even a director of financial services. In addition, there is a professional psychology degree, an online PsyD doctorate degree that covers both Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology. While a PsyD program does include a number of research-based courses, the primary focus is on clinical practice and hands-on experience.

Before discussing salaries, it’s important to note that there are no guarantees. Salaries are dependent on regional location, work experience, academic performance, as well as other factors. That being said, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual compensation between these two related filed is surprisingly close. A PhD in Educational Administration will net you a salary of about $79,125, while a PhD in Counseling tips the scales at around $79,680.

PhD in Counseling Curriculum

In a program such as this, the core curriculum is going to cover a multitude of areas of study in order to ensure that students develop the skill sets needed for careers in the field. If you sign up for this kind of program, you can expect classes related to:

  • Advanced Appraisal Techniques
  • Qualitative Methodology
  • Practice of Counseling Supervision
  • Methods of Counseling Research
  • Theories of Counselor Supervision
  • Advanced Counselor Practicum and Techniques
  • Statistical Methods for Counselor Education Research
  • Advanced Counselor Theories
  • Multivariate Methods for Counselor Education Research
  • Applications of Counseling Research

Most doctorate degrees require a dissertation, but more and more colleges are offering PhD programs without a dissertation. Instead, students work on a capstone project.

Naturally, this list can grow or shrink based on the particulars of your target PhD program. However, having an accurate baseline for what to expect when your class schedule roles out can give you a much-needed boost as you prepare for the rigors of this program.

PhD in Counseling Admission Requirements

In terms of the admissions requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling program, you’ll typically need to have a master’s degree that is nationally or regionally accredited. Most schools also request a GRE score report with a total quantitative and verbal score of 4.0 and 300 on the section that pertains to analytic writing. If you’re taking the GMAT, expect to score a 400 or higher to meet the minimum admissions requirements of many schools.

Written commendations from professors, a letter of intent, or a personal interview with the core members of the institute’s PhD faculty can also pop up in the admissions process from time to time, so keep an eye for these more specialized metrics and requirements.

PhD in Counseling Career Outlook and Salary Information

As mentioned before, salaries vary depending on a number of factors. We are merely stating the BLS statistics to give you a rough estimate of potential earnings in this field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most careers that require a PhD in Counseling provide an average yearly salary between $70,000 and $73,000, with clinical counseling careers making slightly more than those who are working as counselors in elementary and secondary schools.

The BLS also lists the projected job growth of PhD counseling careers as being 11 percent from 2012 to 2022, showing a healthy upward trend in the number of career opportunities in this field.

What is a PhD in Counseling Degree?

If you’ve already completed your master’s degree in counseling, you probably have a very good idea of just what gaining a doctorate will include. However, there are some areas of study that you may not have considered or realized were available as opportunities. The Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling program is meant to groom graduates for positions in academia, as well as careers in rehabilitation, supervision, and education.

To obtain a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling, you’ll typically need to complete 66 credit hours of post-master, PhD level coursework. This often covers your dissertation research, an internship, and the qualifying exam, as well as your core coursework and any relevant electives.

A PhD in this field can open doors into careers in research, patient supervision, and academia. Some people may even choose to become clinical practitioners or work as a college mental health counselor/social worker. Additionally, people interested in these types of career paths typically exhibit a desire to assist others as they battle with a variety of developmental or mental health obstacles.

Is a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Worth It?

As part of planning for your future, you’ll want to compare the various career paths that come with obtaining a PhD or a master’s degree. Typically a master’s degree will land you in a teaching career where you’ll be educating people on the different aspects of counseling. Having a PhD, on the other hand, will open up the possibility of providing clinical counseling, as well as the opportunity to reach a supervisor position.

Of course, the type of jobs available to you is only part of the discussion when it comes to determining the worth of this process. Some people may choose to stop their education at a master’s degree because they’re satisfied with completing this challenge. However, others are driven to pursue their education to the highest level and as such will want to earn their PhD.

When weighing the decision about whether to stay with a master’s degree or go for a doctorate, ultimately the choice will hinge on what you feel will give you the most satisfaction as you take this next major step in your life.

This article is brought to you by
Joy Mays
Joy Mays
Daniel Nguyen
Daniel Nguyen
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