Online PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision

The counseling field is one of the nation’s fastest growing areas. Online doctorate programs have made the process of obtaining such a degree more achievable. Typical accredited online PhD programs in counselor education and supervision include online course work, residencies, and field work that build students’ clinical, teaching, research, and supervisory skills.

An online counselor education and supervision PhD takes anywhere from 3 to 5 years to complete depending on one's enrollment status and individual progress. Generally, online PhD degrees in counselor education and supervision require a minimum of 60 credit hours above master’s degree work. A counselor education and supervision PhD online typically involves an intensive combination of counseling theory and practice. Along with completing courses in the primary areas of counselor education, students will earn credit through the participating in original research, writing an original dissertation, and completing a counseling practicum and doctoral internship. To remain in a doctoral program, students are often required to maintain a certain GPA, achieve certain scores on exams, participate in research, and meet all necessary criteria.

About Online PhD Programs in Counselor Education and Supervision

Students preparing for an online counselor education and supervision PhD should be extremely focused and dedicated to research, scholarship, and learning advanced strategies in the training, supervision, and education of master’s level counselors. Candidates for an online doctorate in counselor education and supervision should also be prepared to explore and master advanced knowledge of counseling theory and practice. Coursework in these types of programs helps students obtain the knowledge necessary to take on leadership positions through the study of advanced teaching, supervision and counseling methods.

Doctoral students in online doctoral programs in counseling education and supervision typically complete at least 33 hours of counselor education coursework on a variety of topics related to counseling practice and theory. They also take doctoral practicum courses which focus on advanced individual counseling strategies, advanced group theories, and supervision theories. Additionally, students generally take additional coursework in the investigative area, which emphasizes both qualitative and quantitative research, to prepare for their dissertation and later professional research. Sample coursework for those seeking an online PhD counseling supervision and education at Walden University includes the following:

Year One:

  • Professional Orientation, Ethics, and Identity. In this course on professional orientation and identity, you will learn about ethical legal issues for those in the counseling field as well as the competencies and responsibilities required of them.
  • Advanced Counseling Theories. In this course you will be taught both traditional and contemporary counseling theories such as person-centered, psychoanalytic, rational emotive behavioral therapy, and solution-focused theories.
  • Professional Consultation, Program Evaluation, and Leadership. Focusing on the roles of consultants and program evaluators in various setting, this course will teach you about leadership theory, consultation models, program evaluation methods, and funding sources.

Year Two:

  • Teaching in Counselor Education. In this course you will acquire the skills necessary to teach counselor education through the examination of adult learning theories and various learning styles, cultural dynamics, and diversity issues.
  • Professional Counselor as Scholar Practitioner. In this course you will learn about professional writing for counselor educators and supervisors including APA format and how to properly write about professional issues.
  • Clinical Supervision. This course covers both ethical and legal issues related to the clinical supervision for counselors in training as well as conceptual approaches, methods, and techniques for working with supervisees.

Year Three:

  • Research Theory, Design, and Methods. This course covers aspects of doctoral research including the role of theory in research, research processes, and quantitative, qualitative, and mixed mixed-method research designs and methods.
  • Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis. In this course you will learn about doctoral research including how to design quantitative research, understand data analysis, and apply statistical concepts.
  • Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis. Building upon the knowledge and skill you obtained in the previous course, this course gives you to opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills at an advanced level.

Year Four:

  • Counseling Practicum. EIn the course on applied professional training you will be given the chance to apply your counseling knowledge and skills under the supervision of a faculty member.
  • Doctoral Internship. EThis internship will place you in a selected educational setting where you will have the opportunity to conduct many of the same activities as employed professionals under supervision.
  • Dissertation. This course will give you the opportunity to examine an area of interest through a research study, data analysis, and completed dissertation.

Most online doctorate programs in counselor education and supervision require students to complete a practicum, internship, and dissertation in addition to all required coursework. Both the practicum and internship will have a minimum hour requirement you must meet and focus on clinical work, teaching, supervision, and research. Students must also participate in an in-depth, self-directed research project which will result in a dissertation.

Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision

The value of earning an online PhD in counselor education and supervision lies in the fact that it will prepare you for leadership and educational roles within the discipline of counseling as it combines academic instruction with clinical practice. This will greatly expand the your career possibilities within counseling as you will be qualified for teaching positions in counseling at institutions of higher education as well as research positions that advance the practice of professional counseling. These types of roles come with great responsibility so it's important to make sure that you want a career overseeing professionals in this field.

When it comes to earning an online PhD counselor education and supervision, there are positives and negatives associated with the nature of virtual instruction. On the positive end, online education allows for greater flexibility than that which takes place on-campus. For the student pursuing a graduate education in counseling, this means that they can gain professional work experience while earning their degree. Those with an advance degree and a solid work background will find that they are more likely to stand out in a competitive job market. On the negative side of things, it may be argued that those who opt for a fairly independent learning experience miss out on the unique benefits of being educated in a group environment that provides better opportunities for interaction with professionals, professors, and other students.

Application&Admission Requirements

Admission to the best online PhD programs in counselor education and supervision typically require students to have a Master’s degree in counseling or counselor-related field such as psychology or social work from an accredited institution. For some online doctoral programs in counselor education and supervision, preference may be given to applicants who maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average in their Master’s studies. Along with a completed graduate school application, students will also likely be required to submit GRE scores and letters of recommendation. In addition, counselor education and supervision PhD programs online may require students to submit a statement of purpose that outlines their career aspirations as they relate to counselor education, professional service, teaching, clinical practice, or counseling supervision. It is also likely that they will need to demonstrate two to three years of relevant professional experience. Those likely to excel in top online doctoral programs in counselor education and supervision are typically master’s-level counselors with a desire to pursue supervisory, faculty, research, or advanced practitioner roles in academic and clinical settings.

Career Options&Job Market

For the empathetic individual who is also drawn to designing and implementing effective strategies for successful counseling, an online counseling education and supervision doctorate could be the ticket to a fulfilling career. Titles of some key career areas for those who have obtained online doctoral degrees in counseling supervision and education follows: forensic mental health counselor/supervisor, non-profit management and leadership, human services counselor/supervisor, marriage and family counselor/supervisor.

Employment of counselors is expected to increase by 18 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is faster than the average for all occupations. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics anticipates that growth in careers in counseling supervision and education will vary by specialty for those who have earned an online doctorate in counseling supervision and education. Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors growth is expected be around 21 percent. The educational, vocational, and school counselor field is expected to grow by 14 percent. Career counselors should grow as multiple job and career changes become common and workers become more aware of counseling services. The mental health counseling arena is expected to grow by 24 percent while the rehabilitation counseling field is expected to grow by 19 percent. Finally, the marriage and family therapist area is projected to undergo 14 percent growth.

Where to Find Information

  • Association of Counselor Education and Supervision This professional association strives to support quality education and supervision of counselors in all work settings and improve the supervision, education, and credentialing of counselors. Here you can read up on the latest news, check out helpful resources, and learn about important publications.
  • ACA: Students The American Counseling Association supports students in their pursuit of higher education in the counseling field. Here you can access Weblogs written by professional counselors, informational mailing lists, public policy resources, and even an online directory of accredited doctoral programs.
  • Handbook of Counselor Preparation This comprehensive guide will tell you all you need to know about teaching and learning in counselor education. If you are interested in a career in counselor education be sure to check out this book to learn about adult learning, teaching strategies, and evaluating counselor preparation.
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs This council promotes and conducts conduct accreditation of counseling programs, specifically graduate-level programs in the professional counseling field. Anyone who is interested in earning a PhD counselor education and supervision should check out this site to learn about what they should look for in a graduate program.

How to Get Funding

The cost of top counselor education and supervision doctorate degrees online can significantly differ according to institution of higher education. For example, the PhD in counselor education and supervision program at Capella University charges students $4,485 per quarter for coursework resulting in at least around $31,395 in tuition for the entire program. Fortunately, most students do not end up actually paying for the entire program on their own as there are many funding opportunities they can take advantage of.

  • ACA Foundation's Graduate Student Scholarship Competitions. The American Counseling Association offers annual scholarship grant opportunities for students enrolled in counseling programs. Typically these competitions are conducted annual and require applicants to be an ACA member and submit an original essay.
  • CACREP: Open RFP. As the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs is dedicated to promoting excellence in counseling education, they have established a fund for dissertation research related to CACREP. Students must be enrolled in a CACREP-accredited master's or doctoral program and can apply at any time during the calendar year.
  • American Psychological Association. The APA and affiliate organizations offer a variety of grants, scholarships, and awards for graduate students who are enrolled in programs related to psychological practice and research. Use this search engine to find funding by award topic area, recipient type, sponsor types, and award type.

Essential Advice

  • Strive to develop an area of professional counseling expertise so that you can carve out a niche for yourself career wise. Students pursuing online doctorate degrees in counseling education and supervision who have a deep interest in a specific counseling area can specialize in their desired subject. Counseling offers a broad spectrum of options for those engaged in obtaining online doctorate degrees in counseling education and supervision: Consultation, Educational and Vocational, Career, Counseling and Social Change, Substance abuse Counseling, Forensic Mental Health Counseling, Nonprofit Management and Leadership, Trauma and Crisis.
  • It's important to establish strong working relationships with professors and professionals in the field as you will likely be required to submit letters of recommendation as a part of your graduate application package. A recommendation letter from someone who knows you well and is able to fairly evaluate your academic abilities and career potential can help gain the confidence of admissions and increase your chances of acceptance into the program of your choice.
  • If you want to supervise or educate counselors, you need to have a firm grasp on what it is like to be one. While working toward your bachelor's or master's degree find opportunities to gain relevant experience in a work environment that concentrates on professional counseling including individual counseling, couples counseling, group counseling, community counseling, or psychological assessment and testing. Whether you are able to gain experience in a formal position or internship, working in professional counseling environments and various settings within those environments will benefit you not only in a PhD program but later on in your career.