The demand for mental health services has grown exponentially in recent years, and earning a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision may help place you at the forefront of this growing field.
While completing a doctorate in counseling education, you can have the chance to gain advanced leadership, counseling, and research skills. These abilities are essential to work as a counseling supervisor, researcher, educator, or administrator.
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If you have a passion for counseling and want to shape the future of the field, earning a doctoral program in counselor education and supervision could be the next step in your professional journey.
PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision Programs Online
A Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision helps prepare current and future counselors to serve in administrative, research, and academic roles.
Doctoral degrees in this discipline are designed to help you become more knowledgeable about all aspects of counseling so that you can serve as a leader to other members of the field.
Common topics that you might study and research include:
- Current counseling theories and methods
- Strategies for supervising counselors
- Pedagogical best practices for counseling educators
- Program analysis
- Advanced statistics
- Cultural concerns in counseling
In addition to your coursework, you may also be required to complete a practicum or internship that allows you to gain hands-on experience.
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Most counselor education and supervision PhD programs also involve a dissertation, which is a research project often completed over a period of 2 years or more. After conducting original research and writing your dissertation, you’ll defend it before a panel of faculty.
Graduating with a doctoral degree may help you qualify for positions with a variety of employers, such as:
- Psychiatric facilities
- Outpatient clinics
- Colleges and universities
- Research labs
- Government agencies
- Private businesses
These organizations might hire PhD professionals to work as researchers who study emerging issues in counseling and publish books and articles revealing their findings. Advanced credentials may also help you qualify to work as a manager or supervisor who oversees a team of counseling professionals.
Another common career pursuit for counselor education and supervision PhDs is in higher education. A doctoral degree is a requirement to work as a professor at most colleges, with some positions focused more on teaching and others more on research.
Some licensed counselors also earn their doctorates so that they can specialize in a particular practice area, such as marriage and family therapy or adolescent development. You might choose to open a private practice to serve a more focused client population.
Common PhD in Counselor Education Specializations
When you begin a doctoral degree in counselor education and supervision, you may have the option to choose a degree specialization that has coursework designed to help you prepare for a specific career. These are some of the most common specializations:
- Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling. A marriage and family counseling specialization involves the study of family dynamics, relationships, and parenting.
- Trauma and Crisis. Students enrolled in this specialization learn how to support individuals who have experienced a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster or an act of violence.
- School Counseling. With a degree specialization in school counseling, students learn more about individual and group counseling in school environments and cognitive, educational, and behavioral issues in children and adolescents.
- Addiction Counseling. Students pursuing specialized degrees focused on addiction learn about treatment and intervention methods as well as how to teach future addiction counselors.
- Clinical Mental Health Counseling. This specialization helps prepare students to train the next generation of clinical mental health counselors in areas like diagnoses, pharmaceuticals, and psychopathology.
If you want to receive a broader overview of the field, you can also choose to enroll in a general program.
Counselor Education and Supervision Careers and Salaries
Earning a doctorate in counselor education and supervision may offer many opportunities to advance your career and expand into different roles.
Many graduates of these programs become clinical supervisors, medical managers, and administrators at healthcare facilities like hospitals, long-term care facilities, and outpatient clinics. They also work as specialized counselors in their areas of interest.
Many of these positions offer competitive salaries that are higher than the average for all occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following are among the potential career paths for counselor education and supervision professionals.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Training and Development Managers||$120,000|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$104,830|
|Administrative Services Managers||$103,330|
|Postsecondary Education Administrators||$99,940|
|Social and Community Service Managers||$74,240|
|Postsecondary Education Teachers||$66,930|
|Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors||$60,140|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||$56,570|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||$49,710|
After completing a PhD program, it could also be possible to work as a college professor or researcher. These roles could grant you the opportunity to uncover the latest developments in the field of counseling and design groundbreaking methodologies.
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Several of these areas of employment are projected to grow at very fast rates over the next ten years. For example, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that the projected growth rate for medical and health services managers is 28%. This is significantly higher than the average growth rate for all occupations, which is 5%.
Counselor Education & Supervision PhD Curriculum
The curriculum of PhD programs in counselor education and supervision generally revolves around advanced-level counseling techniques, research methods, and qualities of leadership. Possible courses include:
- Research Theory and Philosophy: In this course, you’ll learn advanced research methods for counseling professionals, including quantitative and qualitative strategies.
- Leadership and Advocacy in Counseling: Students in this class can develop leadership skills that allow them to serve as effective counseling supervisors.
- College Teaching in Counseling: This course focuses on pedagogical techniques for teaching counseling to undergraduate and graduate students.
- Program Evaluation: During this class, you’ll discover how to conduct a thorough evaluation of a counseling program, looking for strengths, issues with compliance, and areas for improvement.
- Multicultural Counseling: Counselors often work with patients from many different backgrounds, so this course teaches you how to navigate issues that may be affected by cultural differences.
- Counseling Strategies for Family Relationships: This course is designed to educate professionals who offer marriage and family counseling services about current theories and practices in the field.
- Lifespan Development: In this class, you’ll discuss the cognitive, emotional, and psychological changes that humans experience during their lifespans, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
- Statistical Methods: Statistical analysis is a common feature of research studies, and this class helps students develop a deep understanding of different statistical methods.
- Personality and Advanced Counseling Theories: Students taking this course learn about advanced theories of counseling, particularly in terms of addressing conflicts and challenges related to certain personality traits.
- Case Studies: In this course, you’ll learn how to conduct case studies during your research and incorporate them honestly and effectively into your findings.
Depending on your degree specialization, you may also take electives in courses like addiction, trauma, and educational environments.
Choosing an Online PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision Program
Deciding where to complete your PhD can be challenging, especially if you aren’t sure exactly what sets each program apart. As you consider your options, you might want to look at these specific factors:
- Program length. You can consider whether you want to enroll in an accelerated program that you can complete more quickly or a part-time program that allows you to schedule classes around other obligations, like work or childcare.
- Cost. It’s helpful to research not only the cost of tuition and fees but also any available scholarships or financial aid programs that might help reduce your out-of-pocket cost.
- Program format. Some programs are available fully online, while others have limited residential requirements.
- Faculty. During your PhD program, you will work closely with department faculty, so it’s beneficial to find a university with respected faculty who have extensive experience in the field.
- Degree specialization. If you have a particular career path in mind, you could look for a school that offers a specialized degree that aligns with your goals and interests.
To determine whether a school will help you build the career that you want, it may also be worthwhile to look at metrics like job placement and graduation rates. You could also research recent notable alumni from the program.
During the application process, doctoral programs will examine several criteria, such as:
- GRE scores. Many schools no longer require standardized test scores.
- Resume or CV. You can display all your professional and academic experience, including publications and professional memberships.
- Recommendations. You can ask former supervisors and professors to write letters describing why you are well-suited to the program.
- Transcripts. You’ll send official transcripts from all prior schools to each prospective college.
- Personal statement. You can explain your interest in the program and how it relates to your career plans.
You may also be required to pay a fee with your application.
Counselor Education PhD Programs Accreditation
Before applying to a counselor education and supervision doctoral program, it’s strategic to determine whether it is regionally accredited. To receive accreditation status, colleges and universities must demonstrate that they have met high standards for academic quality.
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Graduating from a regionally accredited institution may make you a more appealing candidate to potential employers. Receiving an accredited education can also be a stipulation for various licensure, employers, and financial aid programs.
In addition to a school receiving regional accreditation, counselor education and supervision programs can also be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
CACREP focuses exclusively on accrediting masters and doctoral programs in counseling. This helps ensure that you receive a high-quality education from qualified faculty. Attending a CACREP accredited program also helps ensure that your degree will satisfy relevant licensure or employment requirements.
Counselor Education Licensure & Certifications
Students enrolled in doctoral programs in counseling are often already licensed counselors, but they also have the opportunity to pursue certifications that strengthen their qualifications.
Popular certification options include:
- Principal investigator: With this certification, you may be better positioned to serve as a principal investigator on a research project.
- Clinical supervisor: This certification reflects that you have extensive clinical supervision training.
- Project manager: Earning this certification may help you become a project manager within a clinical research department.
Most certifications require students to prove that they have earned a degree, completed relevant work hours, and taken a comprehensive exam.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Financial aid opportunities can help reduce the upfront cost of tuition and fees for PhD programs. You can begin the financial aid process by filing a FAFSA to determine whether you are eligible for federal loans or grants.
If you are enrolled as an in-state student, your state government may also offer separate financial aid programs. You could also use an online database to search for scholarships that are designed for your major or personal circumstances. If you are currently working, you can speak to your supervisor about whether your employer offers tuition assistance or reimbursement.
What Is a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision Degree?
A PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision degree is a doctoral degree that helps counseling professionals become qualified to oversee professional programs and teach students at the college level.
Although students in this PhD program can gain practical skills and often participate in clinical experiences, much of the focus is on research skills. Students learn different research theories and methodologies, including case studies and statistical analysis.
Most counselor education PhDs culminate with a dissertation, an extensive research project completed under the supervision of a faculty member. Your dissertation gives you the opportunity to fully explore an area of interest.
What Do You Learn in a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision?
While earning a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision, you will have the chance to develop advanced research, leadership, and counseling skills.
Courses in these programs focus on subjects like:
- Counseling strategies and techniques
- Counselor supervision
- Counselor education
- Leadership and advocacy
- Research theories
- Quantitative and qualitative analysis
In combination, these areas of study help prepare students to serve as effective clinical supervisors, educators, researchers, counselors, and consultants. The exact curriculum of your degree program will depend on whether you select a degree specialization.
What Can You Do with a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision?
After completing your doctorate in counselor education and supervision, you may be qualified to work as an executive or administrator. Possible roles include administrative services, health services, and social and community service managers. You may also choose to teach upcoming counselors at the undergraduate or graduate level as a postsecondary teacher.
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If you enjoy working as a practicing counselor, earning a doctorate may help you focus your services on a particular client population. A terminal degree could also help you advance your professional qualifications and earning potential.
Can I Get a Doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision Online?
Yes, it is possible to earn a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision online through an accredited college or university. Courses may be asynchronous, allowing you to view prerecorded lectures at any time, or synchronous, requiring you to attend sessions at a specific time each week.
You can review materials, submit assignments, take exams, and communicate with professors and classmates through a digital platform. This allows you to complete your degree in the location that works best for you. Some programs require internships or practicums. In many cases, students are allowed to complete their on-site experiences at approved sites within their local communities.
How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision Online?
The timeframe for a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision depends on your enrollment status and the program requirements.
Full-time students can often complete doctoral programs in 3 years if there is no dissertation requirement. Traditional programs with dissertations typically require between 3 and 5 years of study. Practicums or internships may also extend the completion time for a doctoral degree.
Part-time students may need additional time to take their courses and finish writing their dissertations. When researching programs, you can discover whether part-time enrollment is allowed and whether there is a cap on the number of years allowed to complete a dissertation.
What’s the Difference Between a PhD vs. EdD in Counselor Education and Supervision?
Here are some key distinctions between a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision and an EdD in Counselor Education and Supervision:
- Focus: The primary focus of a PhD is based in research and theory, while an EdD is more practice oriented.
- Curriculum: Both degrees involve coursework in advanced counseling theories, but EdD programs emphasize skills for classroom educators.
- Career paths: Many PhD graduates become researchers and clinical supervisors, while EdD holders often go on to be postsecondary teachers and administrators.
Depending on your career path, one degree may be a better fit for your future work. A PhD is a Doctor of Philosophy, while an EdD is a Doctor of Education.
Is a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision Worth It?
Yes, a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision is worth it for many students. Graduating with a doctoral degree may open doors to advanced administrative, teaching, and research positions in the field.
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for counseling professionals will remain strong over the next ten years. Projected growth rates for postsecondary teachers (12%), marriage and family therapists (14%), and substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors (22%) are all much faster than average.
Universities Offering Online Doctorate in Counseling Education and Supervision Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Adams State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Antioch University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Barry University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Columbia International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Concordia University Irvine is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Denver Seminary is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Hampton University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
James Madison University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Kansas State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Loyola University Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Mount Mary University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
NLU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Oregon State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Saybrook University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Shippensburg University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Southern Connecticut State University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Texas A&M University – Commerce is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Trevecca Nazarene University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Holy Cross is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
The University of Northern Colorado is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of the Cumberlands is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Toledo is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of West Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Walden is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Western Michigan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Getting Your PhD in Counseling Education and Supervision Online
You might consider a PhD if your goal is to become a professor who publishes meaningful research, a clinical supervisor who oversees a team of counselors, or a policy analyst who designs the future of counseling.
During your doctoral program in counseling education and supervision, you will have the opportunity to become a better leader, teacher, and counselor. You may also have the chance to refocus your career on the area of the field that you find most engaging or important.
You can get started on this next step of your academic journey by researching online counseling education and supervision PhD programs from accredited universities.