Online Counseling Doctoral Programs offer busy professionals the chance to perform, analyze, and even apply new and influential counseling and psychology research and therapy at an advanced level. Programs may be either scholarly—meaning they focus on best research methodology and academic skills—or clinical, focused on application of those concepts in the field.
An Online PhD in counseling may even specialize in top areas of the counseling field, including counseling education and supervision, specific patient populations, or even unique philosophical approaches to counseling. And because they’re offered digitally, coursework may be both flexible and portable, to accommodate your personal and professional life.
With the advances in educational technology, participating in counseling PhD programs online is an increasing possibility. These programs may be attractive to independent and self-motivated learners, as well as students with professional and family obligations that might impede a typical class schedule or commute. That means you may be able to remain committed to your counseling practice and your patients while studying!
Online counseling doctoral programs use technology to deliver similar resources and support to what you might find in a campus-based program. For example, doctoral candidates might find support and materials for their counseling research through online libraries services, while remaining in close digital contact with their faculty mentors.
That said, be aware that some programs may have limited in-person requirements, such as defending a dissertation or completing required field experience. For more information on how a specific online counseling doctorate program works, contact the school that offers it.
Counseling is a broad field, and many counseling students and professionals opt to focus on a specific area. This could be a certain type of counseling, method of therapy, patient population, or professional roles. Many of these areas of specialization may be reflected in online counseling doctoral programs via concentrations or electives. Listed below are several examples you might consider.
In most states, the titles counselor, therapist, and psychologist may each carry with them unique licensing requirements. While some limited counseling roles may not require licensure, students may choose to seek those credentials anyway.
Because licensure requirements are generally administered on a state-by-state basis, when choosing an online program, it may be useful to compare the program components with the requirements in the state where you plan to live and work. Once you earn your professional credentials, you may additionally be required to maintain it through continuing education every year.
Students attending more clinical counseling doctoral programs online may still be required to complete some program elements in person, particularly internships and practicum requirements. This type of experience may be incorporated into a doctoral program or offered as a post-doctoral element. Depending on your level of experience, the type of online counseling program you’re attending, your experience and professional goals, this may even be a requirement for licensure.
For more information about practicum and internship requirements in online counseling doctoral programs, direct your questions to the school you want to attend.
In many cases, students in online counseling doctoral programs may already have begun their careers. They may even have chosen to study online to accommodate the schedules and needs of their patients and their private practice. Whether you’re already invested in your career path or you’re hoping to use your online doctorate in counseling as a launch pad for new opportunities, an array of options may be in front of you.
Several career options that may be of interest to students in online doctoral programs in counseling include the ones listed here. Keep in mind that each type of role may have unique education and licensure requirements, which could go beyond what is covered by your selected counseling doctorate program.
Review the sponsored program listings here, and click on the names of any you may be interested in to find out more. Then contact the school for more information, set up a meeting, and start your application!
[i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm| bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-behavioral-disorder-and-mental-health-counselors.htm| [ii] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm