At the top of the academic tier, doctorate degrees in counseling serve as one of the most respected and sought-after degrees in the country. So, naturally we came up with a list of the best online Doctorates in Counseling, for those who want to take on their education from the comforts of home.
Doctorate in counseling programs focus on cutting-edge counseling practices and psychology research to effectively help a variety of populations. Each program may vary; some are practice-focused, others are academic-focused, and some are a blend of the two. A doctoral degree in counseling prepares students for clinical, academic, and leadership roles in a variety of professional settings.
The growing demand for trained counselors and therapists is evident all over the world. In fact, The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that about 63,300 counseling jobs will be created between 2016 and 2026. For individuals who are already in the counseling and want to become respected leaders in the field, online doctorate degrees in counseling are a great option to pursue.
What Is a Doctorate in Counseling Degree?
Online doctoral counseling programs are typically geared towards one of three areas: academia, administration, or clinical practice.
Online programs for doctorate degrees in counseling provide the same quality of work that traditional programs provide. They offer a flexible setting that allows students to work when their schedules allow. However, because doctoral degrees are terminal degrees, meaning it is the highest degree one can earn in a field, the curriculum is rigorous.
The coursework for a doctorate in counseling degree can vary, but some of the common core classes include statistical methods, neuroscience, personality assessment, social psychology, and counseling various populations like children or the elderly. Most online doctoral degrees can be completed in 3-4 years.
Each university and program differs, but common qualifications to obtain a doctorate degree in counseling are a master’s degree in a related field such as counseling or psychology and previous counseling experience.
Careers for Doctorate in Counseling Majors
Doctoral counseling students can apply their expertise in a variety of different areas after they graduate. Typically, they will either work in the academic field, in administration, or clinical practice.
Those with doctorates in counseling may teach at a college or university at the undergraduate or graduate level. In addition, they may help develop curriculums and programs in the counseling field. Some end up writing textbooks or articles for academic journals.
With a doctorate in counseling, some become clinical supervisors in a hospital or other medical settings like a mental health or rehabilitation facility. Doctorates in counseling provide the leadership, knowledge, and skills necessary for administrative roles.
Perhaps the most common career path for those with doctorates in counseling is working in a public or private practice as a licensed professional counselor or a psychologist. Depending on the area of specialization, these professionals may work in mental health counseling, family and marriage counseling, school and career counseling, or other specialized areas.
Doctorate in Counseling Salary Potential
Graduates of counseling Ph.D. programs online have great chances to earn a lucrative salary. However, specific numbers for those with doctorates versus master’s degrees are hard to get, notably because most counseling psychologists need doctorates to work, and therefore there aren’t that many people working as counseling psychologists who only possess master’s degrees. Plus, the job requirements and salaries vary greatly according to institution, location, and specialty.
According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, psychologists make an average salary of $79,010 per year. Employment of psychologists and counselors is expected to grow 14 percent from 2018-2028. Post-secondary teachers make around $78,470 per year, and this field is expected to grow by 11% from 2018-2028.
The breakdown of salary for actual jobs is a little different, according to Payscale: those with doctoral degrees working as psychologists made an average of $125,000, while those working in academic institutions made $62,500. However, if we average these numbers, psychologists with a doctorate make, on average, about $93,750.
What are the Best Doctorate in Counseling Degrees?
We know that you have educational goals that you’re itching to pursue, but you may not know where to start. The editors of College Rank utilize a unique ranking methodology based on the following three aspects:
40% Potential Salary After Graduation: Average mid-career salary of school alumni
30% Institutional Accreditation: Regional and national accreditation for the 2019-2020 school year
30% Overall Degree Affordability: Average cost of undergraduate and graduate tuition per school
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Oregon State University
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Oregon State University, located in Corvallis, Oregon, offers over 70 programs for undergraduate and graduate degrees. Their online degrees have ranked in the top ten in the nation for five straight years in a row by the U.S. News and World Report.
OSU’s Ph.D. in counseling prepares students to work as advanced practitioners, clinical administrators, and professors of counseling in both clinical and academic settings. CACREP-accredited, this advanced degree aims to prepare students to become leaders and activists for innovative change in their workplaces. This program is 150 hours, but 56 hours may be transferred from the student’s master’s degree.
To qualify for OSU’s Ph.D. in counseling, students need a master’s degree in counseling or a related field and must have completed a 600-hour clinical internship. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for both undergraduate and graduate work. In addition, potential students need three letters of recommendation, including one from a recent or current clinical supervisor and a writing sample. The application deadline for summer 2020 is January 15, 2020.
While OSU’s Ph.D. in counseling is primarily online, this program requires students to meet for a face-to-face class twice each quarter for the first two years of the program at the downtown Portland classroom building. Once a student’s application is accepted, he or she will be assigned a cohort of other Ph.D. counseling students to work closely with during the program’s length. This program can be completed in three years, but most students finish in four years.
University of West Georgia
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Open since 1906, The University of West Georgia is the state’s sixth-largest university, offering 87 fields of study from bachelor’s degrees to doctoral degrees. The University of West Georgia offers an Ed.D. in professional counseling and supervision online. This advanced degree is geared towards counseling practitioners who want to build their practices while expanding skills in evaluation, advocacy, and leadership
The Ed.D. program begins each summer with a cohort of 12 to 15 students. A two and a half day orientation is required for new students, located on the main campus of UWG in Carrollton, Georgia. However, after the orientation, all course work, including the required dissertation, will be exclusively online.
Two doctoral-level courses are offered each term, and depending on the student’s previous education, he or she may finish this degree in as little as two years to as many as four years. If a student has an Ed.S. prior to admission, he or she will need 39 credits to achieve the Ed.D. counseling degree, whereas if a student does not have an Ed.S., he or she will need 60 credits to achieve the Ed.D.
To be eligible for the Ed.D. in professional counseling and supervision, candidates need to be licensed or licensable in counseling or a related field. They need a master’s degree in counseling or a related field and a minimum of three years of counseling experience. They need GRE scores from within the past five years. To be eligible for admission in the summer of 2020, students must submit their applications by February 1, 2020.
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Liberty University, located in Lynchburg, Virginia, offers an online Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision. This advanced degree helps equip students with knowledge and skills in advanced counseling, counselor education, supervision, leadership and advocacy, and research and scholarship. The courses integrate a biblical worldview into the curriculum while preparing students to effectively serve a diverse culture and population.
This degree, which is 60 credit hours, takes approximately four years to complete. It is intensives-based, meaning that students will attend a one-week portion where they meet with faculty members and other students in the program. It is divided into a 3-credit hour practicum, a 9-credit hour internship, and a 9-credit hour dissertation.
To apply for the Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision, students will need an accredited master’s degree in counseling or a related field with a GPA of 3.25 or above. The program is a post-licensure track, which means students will need to have an LPC licensure or be on track to receive one in order to graduate.
Students also need at least one year of clinical counseling experience, either MAT or GRE exam scores, proof of English proficiency, and two letters of recommendation from either academic or professional contacts. In addition, students need to submit a vignette, which is an APA-formatted research paper, 4-5 pages in length, on a topic related to clinical mental health counseling. To apply for the Fall 2020 start date, students need to have their applications completed by April 30, 2020.
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Capella University is another university that offers a Ph.D. in counseling education and supervision online. This program offers real-world application of theories, along with hands-on experience during the internship. The goal of this Ph.D. is to build the student’s skills in counseling, teaching, research, supervision, and advocacy. Those who graduate with this Ph.D. could explore careers such as a counseling educator or supervisor.
There are 21 required courses to take, along with a minimum of 100 practicum hours and 600 internship hours to complete this Ph.D. CU uses GuidedPath, which is a structured learning format online with an active peer community and faculty guidance. A factor that sets Capella apart in their Ph.D. program is that they offer the opportunity for students to start working on their dissertations early. They provide resources, including academic advisors and writing coaches, to closely work with the student on this project as early as the first year, rather than waiting until the last year as many other programs do.
To be eligible for CU’s Ph.D. in counseling education and supervision, students need a master’s degree from a CACREP-accredited University or institution and a minimum GPA of 3.25 or higher on all previous degrees. Note that the GRE and GMAT are not required for admission into CU.
CU PhD alumni have unanimously stated that they are satisfied with the skills and abilities they gained from this degree. They also stated that Capella gave them the most efficient direct path to completing their degree.
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Mississippi College, a Christian University, offers a Doctor of Professional Counseling (DPC) online that prepares counselors for leadership in clinical specialization in a variety of educational and healthcare settings. The DPC requires a minimum of 72 hours beyond an M.S. in marriage and family counseling, clinical mental health counseling, or another related professional degree.
The Doctor of Professional Counseling degree program includes courses in theory, research, and practice and requires students to be enrolled continuously and year-round once they have been admitted. The doctoral program consists of 27 credit hours of core classes, 12 credit hours of application courses, 12 credit hours of specialization courses, 15 credit hours of clinical courses, and 6 hours of concluding courses. This program is offered both online and in traditional classroom formats.
The Doctor of Professional Counseling degree program is accredited by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) but is not accredited by CACREP.
To qualify for MC’s DPC, students will need two years of experience in the counseling field, a minimum of 3.25 GPA on all graduate level work, three letters of recommendation, and an essay of 800 words describing personal and professional goals for obtaining the Doctor of Professional Counseling degree. In addition, potential students need to either already have an LPC or be eligible to obtain one. Note that all application material must be sent in the mail to Mississippi College rather than submitted online.
If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check out The 20 Best Online Psychology Degree Programs and The 25 Best Master’s in Social Work Degree Programs.