Counseling: Doctoral Degree Programs

Doctoral degree programs in counseling are for students interested in working as mental health providers, researchers or teachers. Review the prerequisites for enrolling in a doctoral degree program in counseling, and find out what you'd study. Check the availability of online or blended learning options for counseling doctorate programs and get information on your job options in the counseling field after earning your degree. Schools offering Mental Health Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Why Might I Attend a Counseling Doctoral Degree Program?

Most states only require that you have a master's degree to become a licensed counselor; however, a doctoral program in counseling provides you with advanced clinical and research skills that can be used in careers in administration, scholarship, research or leadership. Doctoral degrees also provide you with skills to use in clinical practice. Examples of positions that may require a doctoral degree include counselor educator or supervisor, researcher or director of counseling services. These programs may also prepare you for certification as a professional counselor.

Program Advantages Broader career opportunities, clinical practice skills, certification preparation
Program Prerequisites Master's degree in related field from an accredited school, GRE scores, and previous work experience
Program Requirements Research and subsequent dissertation, clinical practice, and specialized coursework
Career Opportunities Professor, researcher, academic or clinical manager, private counselor

What are the Typical Admissions Requirements?

For admission to a counseling doctoral program, you usually must have a master's degree in counseling or a related field from an institution accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs and work experience as a counselor. Most schools also require that you submit GRE scores. Some may even require a video in which you demonstrate your counseling skills.

What Will I Study?

Doctoral programs typically consist of three components: research culminating in a dissertation or portfolio, clinical rotations and coursework. The focus of clinical rotations and coursework differ depending on whether your program is a general counseling program or if it focuses on a school counseling or social intervention. Most programs take between five to six years to complete and are overseen by either a school's psychology or education departments.

Some programs are available in a mixed format, in which you complete some courses online and others on-campus. The curriculum for these programs is the same as in traditional on-campus programs. You must complete the clinical rotations in these programs in person.

What Can I Do With My Degree?

With a doctoral degree in counseling, you can teach undergraduate or graduate students, continue in private practice, work as a researcher in the field or manage other counselors in an academic or medical setting. According to a 2014 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for counselors were expected to grow 19% between 2014 and 2024 (

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Lesley University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford
  • Harvard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • Duke University

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Durham
  • University of Toledo

    Campus Locations:

    • Ohio: Toledo
  • University of Notre Dame

    Campus Locations:

    • Indiana: Notre Dame