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Salary and Career Info for a Doctorate in Counseling

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a counseling psychologist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about job duties, licensing and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

A doctorate in counseling prepares individuals to work as counseling psychologists. These professionals may work with individuals or groups to help clients cope with issues affecting their lives. Some work in private practice, while others work in schools, healthcare facilities or government agencies.

Essential Information

Doctorate in Counseling programs typically train students to work as counseling psychologists in such settings as private practices, schools, government agencies and healthcare facilities. Counseling psychologists help people address and manage personal problems; they might also engage in basic research in human behavior and development. These professionals must be licensed and many obtain voluntary board certification.

Required Education Ph.D.
Other Requirements State license, voluntary board certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 19% for all psychologists
Mean Salary (2015)* $76,040 clinical, counseling and school psychologists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Counseling Psychologists

Counseling psychologists work with individuals, families and groups to help cope with emotional, mental and behavioral issues that affect their lives. A doctoral program in counseling psychology trains students to assess and diagnose mental and emotional problems in order to develop a therapeutic treatment plan. Counseling psychologists often run a private or group practice or work in healthcare facilities. Some counseling psychologists choose to go into more specialized fields of psychology, such as education or rehabilitation counseling. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 19% growth in employment for psychologists for the 2014-2024 time period.

Licensing Information

All states require counseling psychologists to be licensed in order to practice. State requirements vary, but common provisions include a doctoral degree with a minimum number of internship hours and post-doctoral experience. The National Board of Certified Counselors oversees three exams, but states recognize the National Counselor Examination for Certification and Licensure as the most common.

Certification Information

The American Board of Professional Psychology oversees and administers board certified specialist exams. Candidates are required to complete both a written and oral test. Thirteen specialist exams are currently available, including a counseling psychology specialization. Requirements for becoming board certified include a doctoral degree from an accredited psychology program, an internship, a state license and post-licensure experience. Additionally, two psychologists must endorse the qualifying candidate.

Salary Information for Counseling Psychologists

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average mean annual salary for clinical, counseling and school psychologists collectively was $76,040 in 2015. Those working in elementary and secondary schools made an average of $74,130 per year at that time, while those who worked in individual and family services made an average annual salary of $68,440.

Individuals with a doctorate in counseling are trained to assess and diagnose individuals with mental and emotional problems, and develop therapeutic plans to help these individuals address their issues. A state license is required to work as a clinical psychologist, while certification is optional. Annual salaries average to roughly $75,000 per year.

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