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PhD in Guidance Counseling: Info for Doctoral Students

Explore Ph.D. degree programs that are related to guidance counseling. Read about prerequisites and common course topics for doctoral students. Review employment outlook and salary statistics for school and career counselors.

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Essential Information

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in guidance counseling train individuals for senior leadership positions in the area of school guidance counseling. They aren't usually called Ph.D. in Guidance Counseling, but some specific titles are Ph.D. in School Counseling and Guidance, Ph.D. in Guidance and Psychological Services or Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology.

Candidates should have master's degrees in counseling or a related field and professional experience. They should be of a compassionate nature and possess strong interpersonal and communication skills. These programs take an average of 4-5 years to complete, although the doctoral dissertation can take longer. A practicum is also required. Counselors must obtain licenses by passing state or national examinations, and retain their credentials by taking continuing education courses.

Educational Prerequisites

While admissions requirements vary between institutions, many programs require applicants to have a master's degree in counseling, counseling education or psychology. Most programs also require applicants to have at least two years of professional counseling experience. Some programs accept bachelor's-degree holders. Because most doctoral programs in counseling admit only a small number of students each year, the admissions process can be quite competitive. Applicants are usually required to come in for a personal interview as part of the application process.

Program Coursework

All Ph.D. programs in guidance counseling require candidates to complete a doctoral dissertation, which involves original research in the subject. Degree candidates receive a limited number of credit hours for their dissertation research. Students also participate in a counseling practicum where they work with clients under supervision. Below are common titles included in a curriculum.

  • School counseling and guidance
  • Guidance program organization
  • Statistical methods for educational research
  • Children and adolescent counseling
  • Ethical issues in counseling
  • Consulting procedures

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Graduates may go on to work as school and career counselors for students ranging from elementary to college levels. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a 19% job growth for these professionals in the years 2010 through 2020. The BLS also reported in 2012 that educational, vocational, guidance and school counselors earned $53,610 as an annual median wage.

Continuing Education and Licensure Information

All states require counselors to be licensed either nationally or by state. National certification from the National Board for Certified Counselors is voluntary, but some states accept it for their requirements. General licensing requirements include earning at least a master's degree from an accredited institution and passing a comprehensive exam. Continuing education credits are required by some states to maintain an active license.

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants to master's programs must have already earned a bachelor's degree. Applicants to doctoral programs must have already earned a master's degree.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Doctorate
        • Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Distance Learning
        • Doctor of Philosophy in Education
        • Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

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    • Doctorate
        • PhD - Educational Leadership

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Mississippi (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Mississippi State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
        • College Student Counseling
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • School locations:
    • Texas (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Sam Houston State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Library Science and Related Professions
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • School locations:
    • Ohio (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Cincinnati include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Educational Evaluation and Research
      • Philosophical Foundations of Education
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • School locations:
    • Utah (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brigham Young University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
        • College Student Counseling
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • ESL Teaching
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas

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Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics