Why Earn a PhD in Counseling Psychology?
A PhD is a solid investment in your career and your future. And if you’re a counselor, earning a PhD will prove to be a vital asset. A PhD signifies a mastery of the field and is appealing to prospective employers. What’s more, you can earn your PhD online, saving you time, money, and hassle.
But why else earn a PhD in Counseling Psychology?
- More prestige: Adding a PhD to your name is a nice bonus, wouldn’t you say?
- More money: An advanced degree often means an increase in salary.
- More opportunity: You can look forward to new and challenging job prospects!
How to Earn a PhD in Counseling Psychology
Counseling Psychology is a growing discipline with great earning potential and professional reward. And if you’re up for earning your doctorate, you’ll become a leader and key contributor to your field.
First things first:
- Find the right program: Not all schools are the same so make sure you do your research and choose accordingly. Also, verify the accreditation status of the institution.
- Ensure financial assistance: Some PhD programs offer financial support for students. If you need assistance, call the financial aid department to learn about available resources.
- Choose between online and on-campus programs: If you need maximum scheduling flexibility, an online program offers just that. But if you prefer face-to-face instruction, you might be better suited for a traditional, campus-based program.
Once you’ve determined the above, it’s time to focus on the program and its requirements. Doctoral programs are intense and require extensive academic clinical preparation. For your application, you’ll likely need the following documentation:
- A Completed Application Form
- Official Transcripts
- Three of Four Letters of Recommendation
- A Personal Statement
Coursework and Degree Requirements
Once enrolled in a PhD program, you’ll be required to complete a series of courses in addition to a dissertation and a series of exams. Coursework typically covers the following areas:
- Career Development and Counseling
- Ethical and Professional Issues in Counseling Psychology
- Research and Statistics
- Research Seminars and Workshops
You might also be required to take advanced electives and complete comprehensive assessment examinations. Again, each program is different.
Once you’ve completed the required coursework, it’s time to start your dissertation. A dissertation is a book-length project and a real milestone of your PhD career. Dissertations can take several years to complete and must be defended in front of a dissertation committee. Defending your thesis is a huge effort and often requires months of preparation. But your coursework and years of experience will provide much-needed inspiration.
Career Options for Counseling Psychologists
Once you’ve completed your PhD, you’ll be in an exciting new world of career possibilities. What’s great about your field is the variety! You can work in a number of different settings and study a number of different areas of counseling, including:
- adolescent development
- adult development/aging
- aggression/anger control
- child development
- community psychology
- crisis intervention
- developmental disabilities
- eating disorders
- group processes
- health psychology
- interpersonal relationships
- mental illness
- substance abuse
- vocational psychology
Many organizations and agencies hire psychologists. You can search for employment opportunities at schools, government agencies, research clinics, hospitals, community centers, just to name a few. If academia is your chosen profession, you can teach, work as a department chair, or even a dean.
Job and salary prospects vary depending a number of factors. Your experience, area of specialty, and type of employer will play a role in how much you earn. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists earned a mean annual wage of $73,090 in May 2011. Top paying industries for this occupation included:
- Employment Services: $97,060
- Business Schools and Computer and Management Training: $95,670
- Scientific Research and Development Services: $87,550
- Management of Companies and Enterprises: $87,500
- Home Health Care Services: $86,340
Industries with the highest level of employment for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists included:
- Elementary and Secondary Schools
- Offices of Other Health Practitioners
- Individual and Family Services
- State Government (OES Designation)
- Outpatient Care Centers
Our site provides links to many different accredited degree programs to help you find the program that best suits your professional as well as academic goals. Check out the list below and contact colleges or universities of interest to get started on your path to success today!