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This article provides a better understanding of the Doctorate of Counseling degree program, the courses that are covered, and why you may want to earn this degree as a positive career move. It will also describe a high quality online Doctorate of Counseling program that you may want to consider.
What Is a Doctorate of Counseling?
To become licensed as a counselor, you do not need to complete a doctorate degree. You also don’t have to perform new research. However, many people interested in counseling see it as a true calling, and they want to do all they can to become the best they can be. Counselors in this country have to be licensed and certified, but they only need a master’s degree for that. Yet, many f them would want earn a Doctorate of Counseling degree, either with a clinical or with an academic concentration. They do so for a variety of personal reasons.
One of the key reasons is because they want to be able to provide counselor supervision and education, which essentially enables others to enter the profession. This is a Ph.D. degree that includes an intensive internship, during which students supervise other prospective counselors. They will also provide supervised teaching to graduate students.
It is quite common for counselor supervisors to have a doctorate degree, although this is not always the case in some states. Some just would like to become the best that they can be. Additionally, completing a Doctorate of Counseling degree is more than just obtaining a tenure-track position in a faculty. It is also an opportunity to conduct research and contribute to the improvement of the profession.
A common field of dissertation, interestingly, is in pastoral care. This means that graduates further advance the integration of counseling and spirituality, taking a religious focus on direct care. One of the reasons why this is a common concentration for the doctorate program is because there is a significant shortage of mentors at the Ph.D. level.
Meanwhile, others may choose to obtain a Ph.D. in mental health counseling instead. In this case, graduates focus on a specific area, such as grief counseling. They become clinical experts in their field, as well as leaders in their profession.
The curriculum of the Doctorate of Counseling degree program will vary depending on the concentration. However, it is common to see courses such as:
- Qualitative Research Methodology
- Listening Skills
- Concepts of Family Systems
- Ethics and Legal Issues
- Addictive Behaviors
- Political Structures and Policy Analysis
- Indigenous Mental Health Care
- Grant Writing and Dissertation
- Appraisal and Psychometrics
- Disaster Trauma and Psychological First Aid
A large component of the work of those with a doctorate in counseling is to investigate new counseling methods for specific situations. There is a strong link between geopolitical events and how these affect the mental health and well-being of everyday individuals. Because new challenges to having good mental health emerge on an almost daily basis, counselors have to be trained to respond appropriately. The role of someone with a doctorate in counseling is to develop those methods and to ensure that other counselors are aware of such methods and how to apply them.
Why Earn a Doctorate of Counseling?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that mental health counselors had a median salary of $44,170 per year as of May 2016. However, this is at master’s degree level. Those with a doctorate degree are more likely to find themselves in the top 10% of earners, who earn $81,960 per year or more.
Those who complete a doctorate of counseling generally either become involved in research, meaning that they work in the field and in research facilities to develop new forms of therapy, or they work as educators for master’s degree students, ensuring that they meet their residency requirements. As such, they can be found in various organizations, including:
- Colleges and universities
- Private practices
- Outpatient care centers
- Government organizations.
- Residential care and nursing facilities
- Substance abuse facilities
- Employee assistance programs
Obtaining a doctorate degree in counseling greatly increases the number of organizations for which someone can work, mainly because of the opportunity to get into academics or research. This also enhances job security, which is always a positive development. Additionally, obtaining a doctorate degree enables people to take on positions of leadership and to become role models in their field. This, in turn, leads to significant personal satisfaction and professional pride.
Online Option for Doctorate of Counseling
One opportunity to obtain a Doctorate of Counseling is provided by the online Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision program offered by Liberty University. This degree has been designed to prepare and mentor students to further extend their knowledge on effective and ethical counseling methods, counseling education, and counselor supervision. This is done by bringing together scholarship and research. Graduates make a tremendous impact on the field as a whole by researching new counseling methods and/or educating the next generation of counselors. Graduates can take on positions of leadership in counseling associations, higher education, and clinical settings. Liberty University is respected for delivering graduates who are experts in theory application, supervision and consultation, and group counseling.
The degree takes 66 hours to complete and it includes a practicum, an internship, and a dissertation. Core courses include:
- Supervision and Consultation
- Advanced Group Counseling
- Advanced Theory Application
- Issues in Integration
- Advanced Research Design
- Advanced Multivariate Statistics and Quantitative Research
- Instruction In Counselor Education
- Qualitative Research
- Dissemination of Research and Scholarship in Counseling
- Advanced Career Counseling
- Counseling Leadership and Advocacy
Students who have graduated from Liberty University’s Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision degree program have been able to find employment in a variety of positions and organizations. Some of the most common positions are:
- Researcher or writer
- Director of guidance
- International director of mental health services
- Agency or nonprofit director
- Faculty or leadership position at various universities across the world
By earning a doctorate in counseling, you have the opportunity to greatly advance your career. Deciding to do so is a personal decision, as there is no legal requirement to have a doctorate degree in order to practice counseling. In some states, it is not even a requirement to provide supervision and guidance to prospective counselors. Rather, completing this degree is an opportunity to become the best you can be. Naturally, it also opens a number of interesting career doors for you.
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- Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm
- Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.liberty.edu/online/doctoral/philosophy-counseling/