Doctoral Degree in Counseling


Counselors provide support services in a variety of public and private settings. Counseling includes a range of professions, and it’s possible to work without a PhD. For instance, entry-level counselors answer calls to crisis lines. It’s even possible to open a private practice with certain master’s degrees. However, a doctoral degree in counseling garners a higher salary than a master’s, and doctorates have greater potential for advancement in the field.

What doctoral degrees are available in counseling?

Three doctoral degrees are awarded in counseling: the PhD, the PsyD, and the EdD.

  • The PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy, places equal emphasis on research and clinical training.
  • The PsyD, or Doctor of Psychology, is a professional degree; it emphasizes clinical practice much more than research training.
  • The EdD is a Doctor of Education degree. It signifies expertise in educational counseling, vocational counseling, and other intersections of counseling and education.

What jobs are available to doctors of counseling?

Counselors have traditionally worked in community mental health agencies and other public settings. However, nowadays they are likely to open private offices or form partnerships with other counseling professionals.

In elementary and secondary schools, school counselors with doctorates can become supervisors of guidance departments and counseling services. They can also educate other counselors and may even become school administrators. At universities, doctors of counseling engage in research and teaching. In government, they can work as consultants to local and state departments of education.

How is the job market?

The job market is favorable. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job openings in counseling will grow faster than job openings in other fields until at least 2018. Specialists in substance abuse counseling are expected to have even more job prospects than others. The demand for vocational counselors is on the rise too; more people are changing careers in response to economic setbacks. Marriage and family therapy is also a growing field.

What schools offer online doctorates in counseling?

The following schools have online doctoral programs in counseling and related fields.

Argosy University

Capella University

Liberty University

Walden University

Regent University (counselor education & supervision)

University of the Rockies (mediation and conflict resolution)

University of the Rockies (mental health administration)

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