A doctoral program in psychology usually requires 5-7 years of schooling beyond the baccalaureate degree. Online doctoral degree programs do not significantly differ in time or curriculum requirements from campus-based programs. However, online programs are typically hybrid in format, combining virtual courses with required campus-based or practical experiences; some programs require a residency.
Doctoral programs in counseling psychology are offered as Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degrees. Applicants need a baccalaureate degree in psychology in order to be considered.
A student earning a doctoral degree in counseling psychology online will be expected to complete classes covering the following topics:
- Ethical and cultural issues in counseling
- Addiction theories
- Counseling techniques
- Intervention practice
- Marriage, family and addictions counseling
- Adolescent and childhood counseling
- Group therapy
- Recovery strategies
Students are required to prepare and defend a dissertation based on independent research projects. Since research, statistics and completion of the doctoral dissertation are completed independently, an online delivery method is appropriate for a student working toward a doctoral degree in counseling psychology.
Online Learning, Residency and Practicum Requirements
An online doctoral degree program in counseling psychology also requires students to participate in groups, classes and seminars online. Many distance learning programs require periodic attendance at seminars or orientation sessions held at the main campus. Some Ph.D. programs may require students to spend additional time, up to one year, in residence. In addition, most online doctoral degree programs integrate practicum and internship experiences.
Completion of clinical and internship work is required in order to be eligible for licensure. Graduates need to pass a state licensing exam in order to become clinical psychologists providing counseling services.
Most online doctoral programs in counseling psychology prepare students for licensure through a combination of online courses and in-person internships and/or residencies. Programs usually require completion and defense of a dissertation that includes independent, original research.