What Can I Do With a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision?

Young female phd student working on her laptop

Nearly 20% of Americans experience mental health disorders (almost 50 million people).1 Even those without a diagnosed disorder may sometimes benefit from discussing difficult situations with a qualified counselor. Yet, there aren’t enough mental health professionals to work with them. In 2022, 47% of the population lived in a “mental health workforce shortage area.”2

If you’re passionate about mental health care, you may want to work toward a career that would enable you to train the next generation of counselors. Consider earning a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision.

What sort of doctorate is a Doctor of Counselor Education and Supervision? What can I do with a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision? Learn more about your options below and understand how to prepare for a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision interview.

In This Article:

What Is a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision?

First, let’s address the most fundamental question: What sort of doctorate is a Doctor of Counselor Education and Supervision? This PhD program confers a terminal degree, which represents the pinnacle of academic achievement in your field.

These programs are generally designed for licensed counselors or aspiring licensed counselors. They are intended for individuals who wish to step into leadership positions in their field, such as by supervising counselors at a mental health practice or by becoming a professor of counseling at a university.

Now that you know the answer to the question, What is a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision, you can begin to gain an understanding of how you can prepare for an interview for PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision programs. When applying to a PhD program, you can generally expect an on-campus or virtual interview with the department. Every department will have different requirements, but in general, you can plan ahead by doing the following:

  • Take the time to research the department and examine the research interests of its faculty.
  • Prepare some research-specific questions for the interview.
  • Prepare some questions about the university and department.
  • Consider doing a mock interview at a career center.
  • Wear business casual clothing.

What Can I Do With a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision?

One reason to consider earning a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision is that it may help you position yourself for possible career advancement. Whether you are interested in pursuing a position in higher education or seeking a leadership role in the field, you can choose from a range of possibilities to pursue. Career opportunities to consider include:

  • Faculty member
  • Clinical supervisor
  • Consultant
  • Researcher
  • Advocate in the field of mental health
  • Leader (e.g., in a school guidance, higher education or behavioral health setting)

Gain More Knowledge in Your Field Through a PhD Program

If you think of yourself as a lifelong learner who is committed to furthering your professional knowledge and skills, you may be tempted to earn a PhD whether or not you plan on pursuing a leadership or supervisory role. A PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision will provide a curriculum that explores how to improve counseling skills through didactic and experiential training in research, scholarship, leadership and advocacy in and out of the classroom.

As a PhD student, you will examine how to practice a client-centered approach, align treatment to the client’s goals for therapy and guide master’s-level counselors within a supervisory role. The counselor supervision program emphasizes the importance of understanding, lending compassion and avoiding any actions that can harm the client.

Make a Meaningful Contribution to Your Field

A third reason to consider earning your PhD is to have the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the body of research in your field.

As a PhD student, you will be required to conduct original research that culminates in a dissertation. After defending your dissertation, you’ll likely be encouraged to publish it in order to allow other counseling professionals access to your research and the analysis of your findings.

Earn a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision Degree Online

It can be difficult for working professionals to find the time to head back to school. However, depending on the school and program you choose, you may be able to complete much of your degree online. You might still need to visit the campus once or twice for in-person residencies.

At Grand Canyon University, you can choose from an array of doctoral degree programs, including the Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (Qualitative Research) program. You’ll complete coursework online, along with two in-person residencies and internships to meet program requirements. Fill out the form on this page to learn more about joining our doctoral learning community.

1Mental Health America. (2022). Adult ranking 2022. Retrieved Sept. 15, 2023.

2Phillips, L. (2023, May 8). A closer look at the mental health provider shortage. Counseling Today. Retrieved Sept. 15, 2023.

Approved by the director of the doctorate in counselor education and supervision of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences on Nov. 9, 2023.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.