Qualifications for a Doctoral Degree
Considering a doctoral degree in counseling is a terminal degree, meaning it is the highest degree a counseling professional can earn, there are strict education qualifications just to get into a program at any university either online or on campus.
Below are the most common qualifications you should keep in mind. Remember that every university and program is different, so be sure to check with the admissions department of every school you are interested in and ask the right questions.
1. Undergraduate Degree (and a Master’s for many)
Individuals that apply to doctorate programs typically hold a related undergraduate degree. Most online doctorate programs in counseling require that applicants hold a Bachelor’s degree in Counseling, Psychology, or other mental health related field.
2. Existing Counseling Experience
Due to the in-depth nature of the degree program, students should have an existing knowledge of the counseling field prior to entry. During the program, students will be introduced to the research side of counseling.
3. Excellent Understanding of Counseling and Psychology
While taking courses that related to research in counseling, students will be expected to construct their own thesis, which is required prior to graduation.
4. Ability to Take Online Classes and Fulfill In-Person Requirements
Although doctorate programs are completed mostly online, these programs do require that students take part in an in-person practicum. The locations of these in-person requirements vary depending on the university.
It is important that students research these requirements prior to enrolling in a doctorate program. There are many options as to specialties at the doctorate level.
Expect a Rigorous Curriculum
Students interested in pursuing a career in education find that doctorate degrees such as General Mental Health Counseling or Counseling Education are a great fit.
For individuals interested in applied science, Mental Health Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and School Counseling are excellent choices. Depending on which path a student takes, the curriculum will weigh heavily upon the subjects at hand.
Most doctorate programs can be completed in 3-4 years, depending on whether or not a student has completed a master’s program prior to entry.
Licensure is required for graduates that plan to work with the public after graduation. Most state require that applicants for licensure graduate from an accredited university, pass a state board exam in counseling, and take part in 1-2 years of supervised employment.
When each of these steps has been completed, graduates are ready to work in the field. These online higher degree programs are designed to mold effective and helpful counseling professionals in the field.
Having a doctorate degree in counseling is the highest of accomplishments for individuals in this field. After receiving a degree and becoming licensed, counselors can work in hospitals, private practices, state agencies, or even start their own business.
There is no end to the possibilities for those that are willing to put in the time and effort required to be the best professional in the field. Doctorate level graduates are needed in research to help determine new techniques for effective counseling as well as testing current theories.
Applied counselors work with individuals that are suffering from emotional distress or mental disorders. Counselors are responsible for guiding patients to a better way of life through therapy and life planning. In schools, counselors provide assistance to our country’s most valuable assets – children.
By assisting with educational planning and providing advice about everyday struggles of youth, school counselors are preparing students for their futures. They are a valuable asset to the communities in which they work.
Doctorate level counselors are the most respected within their field. They have the education and experience in the field that is needed to be the most trusted psychological professionals available to the public.
As state agents, counselors can even be used as expert witnesses during important court trials, providing insight into mental awareness or competence. Earning potential for individuals in this field varies greatly depending on specialty and setting. With a national average wage of $76,040 per year, counseling is definitely a field to consider for a stable financial future (BLS, 2015).
Benefits of Working in Counseling with a Doctoral Degree
Life can sometimes be a battle for individuals with mental distress or challenging life circumstances. Counselors provide a helping hand to those needing guidance with leading normal everyday lives.
They are considered a teammate against stress and communication failures for individuals seeking normalcy. Individuals that are interested in getting the best degree available throughout the counseling field should consider online Doctorate degrees in Counseling.
The benefits of indulging in a higher degree program go well beyond financial gain. Counselors find satisfaction in helping people. A higher degree means more promotional opportunities as well as the opportunity to work in important field of research as well as government agencies.
Over time, the counseling field will only continue to grow in terms of respect and relevance in society. As the standards continue to rise, individuals throughout communities will look to counselors to make sense of their feelings and assist with effectively dealing with their emotions.
Regardless of which path is taken, counselors could find that the decision to obtain a higher degree could be one of the best decisions of their life. Accredited universities are ready and willing to accept determined candidates all over the country.
Counseling Degrees by State
If you have your master’s degree in school counseling, the next logical step in your education is earning your doctorate level degree. There are just as many reasons why you should consider this option as there are kinds of degrees you can choose from at this upper echelon of programs.
Doctorate in School Counseling Programs
Not only does it make sense from a career trajectory perspective, earning your PhD or EdD. With online options becoming more and more available from accredited institutions, why not take advantage of the convenience while continuing your current position in school counseling.
If you already have your master’s degree in this area, you may already be working at an elementary, secondary or higher education institution. If that’s the case you may be wondering what a doctorate level degree can do for you. If not, view Master’s in School Counseling programs here.
Doctorate of School Counseling Degrees
TOTAL PROGRAMS: 76 different Doctorate of School Counseling degrees
AVG SALARY: According to the BLS, Counselors who work at elementary and secondary schools can earn a median wage of $74,130
Specialized Doctoral Programs
Often, those who have their master’s enroll in a variety of counseling PhD or EdD programs. These kinds of programs can help you become a counseling specialist in areas that help you stand out from other applicants. The need for bilingual counselors, or those who can work with special needs children have helped create new degree programs in focused areas that were overlooked before.
You can also make a bigger impact and work with big picture counseling solutions with your doctorate level school counseling degree. Being trusted to lead and shape curriculum in your district is something PhD level students prepare for. Continue reading to learn more about the types of doctorate level degrees you can earn, as well as the opportunities that you may target upon completion. The best thing you can do after absorbing this information is contacting schools in your area, and those that offer 100% online programs to compare their benefits.
What Online Doctorate Degrees Are Available?
Professionals who have their master’s degree in school counseling often seek to earn their Doctor of Education in Professional Counseling and Supervision. This can be a great capstone to your school based education.
By earning this degree you can focus on the practitioner side of your counseling practice to go even more depth, to teach you the skills to work with your community, education system, and students more effectively.
PhD in Counseling
Other students earn their PhD in Counseling to sharpen their supervision, assessment, counseling, and group counseling skills. These programs often dive into topics, such as diversity training, and advanced theory and practice, giving you even more proficiency to bring to your school system.
These degrees can also be ways to help you branch out beyond educational institutions, if you want more career options. Many education focused counselors become consultants for education focused companies. You may also want to open your own private practice, helping struggling students of all ages cope with their difficulties and become successful individuals.
PhD in Counseling Psychology
A program that every student with their school counseling degree should also consider is one like the PhD in Counseling Psychology or School Psychology program at various schools of education throughout the United States. This can be the perfect program for those who want to work in universities, or help community based services where children may need psychological help outside their school. Sometimes you need to remember to keep an eye open for the Counseling Psychology programs, which some universities name their school counseling degrees.
What Specific Courses Should I Expect From a Doctorate Degree?
Since doctorate level degrees can be specific and focused, the coursework in these programs can vary greatly. But there are common themes in topics that students will become familiar with because they are core to the field of school psychology.
Students may take classes like statistical methods, personality assessment, neuroscience, social psychology, perspectives in school psychology, and counseling children and teens.
Working with Teachers and Administrators
You will also learn how to work with teachers, administrators and parents that are all related to your work environment and role shaping the lives of students. Most programs require some for of internship or research project to complete your degree.
Gaining Professional Experience
These requirements can include spending 100 hours at school settings working with counselors or performing research on a topic that you want to apply in your professional life.
When you speak with the various schools that you contact, make sure you discuss your professional aspirations with their degree program. They should be able to help you decide if their degree will work for you. This conversation should include accreditation and state requirements.
By the time you reach your doctorate level, you are most likely well equipped to submit your resume to most types of institutions, companies, and government agencies who need candidates with counseling experience.
Career Projections for School Counseling Doctorate Degree Holders
Counselors who work at elementary and secondary schools can earn a median wage of $74,130, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
You can also transition your career to other areas with your PhD, including hospitals, outpatient care centers, and colleges who are now offering more complete counseling services for their growing student populations.
On the top end of the scale, those who pursue work in child day care services can make an annual wage of $106,510. If you think about the growing number of children diagnosed with autism, or the growing awareness of how different children learn, and the variety of education systems that now create our landscape for child learners, you can see there are opportunities for skilled professionals to thrive in many areas of school counseling.
Organizations to Know for Doctoral School Counseling Students
Once you start working in the field you will probably have a growing network of peers and mentors that help you keep up with current trends, best practices, and changes in the field. You should also seek out organizations such as the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), which helps counselors reach the resources they need to make a positive impact in their school and community.
While you are reaching out to schools to compare their programs, you should also get in touch with the ASCA and see how they can help you as well. Sometimes there are scholarships and grants for students to take advantage of.
There many be professional development resources of all kinds that can keep you on track – and keep you moving ahead in school counseling, no matter what direction you go. Take the next step and contact colleges and universities that offer doctorate level school counseling programs today.