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