Counselor Education and Supervision Doctoral Degree

Read about the requirements for earning a doctorate in counselor education and supervision, and explore some of the course topics you'd study. Find out what jobs you could pursue with a doctoral degree in this field. Check the availability of online or hybrid learning options for counselor education and supervision doctoral programs. Schools offering Mental Health Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Can I Expect from a Doctoral Degree Program in Counselor Education and Supervision?

Many colleges and universities award a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counselor Education and Supervision. These programs generally last from 2.5-4 years and can provide you with the training needed to design or conduct counseling research and improve your clinical skills. In addition to completing a dissertation, you'll take part in internships and clinical practicums that allow you to provide individual and group counseling services. You may also supervise other clinicians in training. You'll need a master's degree in counseling or a related field to be admitted to one of these programs.

Program Overview Doctoral program takes 2.5-4 years to finish and involves completing a dissertation and clinical components
Admission Requirements Master's degree in counseling or related field
Common Courses Learning theories, counseling ethics, consulting theory, psychotherapy
Online Programs Rare but available; residency and internships completed in person
Career Prospects Doctoral studies lead to work as a researcher, counselor educator or counselor supervisor at a university as well as a licensed professional counselor

What Kinds of Classes Might I Take?

Your classes can cover counseling theories in areas ranging from marriage and family counseling to school counseling and addictions counseling. These programs also require you to take several statistics and qualitative research classes. Some of the other topics you might study include:

  • Learning theories
  • Counseling ethics
  • Program implementation
  • Behavioral psychotherapy
  • Consulting theory

Can I Complete Any of These Programs Online?

There are counselor education and supervision Ph.D. programs available online, but these are rare. You can complete most of your coursework from home. However, you may need to attend one, week-long residency for each year of your program. Internships are also required.

What Do My Career Options Look Like?

Your Ph.D. program is meant to prepare you for a position as a researcher, counselor educator or counselor supervisor in a university setting. You can also work as a professional counselor within a school, community center or private counseling practice once you meet your state's licensing requirements. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these may include up to two years of work experience beyond a master's degree and passing scores on a written exam (

The job outlook for counselors varies based on area of specialty. For example, employment for mental health counselors is expected to increase 20% in 2014-2024 while openings for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors are projected to grow by 22%. The BLS estimates that school and career counselor employment will increase 8% during the same time period.

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