School counselors play an active roles in the lives of students. As a member of a school's administrative staff, counselors oversee a student's trajectory and nurture their professional and personal growth. An online doctorate in school counseling offers a flexible and comprehensive curriculum to prepare you for this rewarding career. And now is a great time to consider an advanced counseling degree: the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an eight percent rise in employment for this field within the next decade.

Many of the programs below are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), which holds school counseling doctoral programs to the highest standards of counselor education and enrichment. These schools require applicants to have, at minimum, a master's degree in school counseling to gain admission.

Choosing a Program


Doctorate degree programs are known for their scholarship and rigor, and students perform extensive research and field study. Coursework engages psychological theories from industry experts with an eye toward real-world applications, while students develop effective counseling techniques for use in various school settings. Students usually perform their own qualitative research and create a dissertation or final project to demonstrate their expertise, while finishing their program with an internship.


Doctoral counseling programs typically require prospective students to possess a master's degree in psychology or social work and a valid professional license. Many admissions departments also require students to submit a resume detailing their previous work experience and letters of recommendation from previous employers.


Research is key to finding the right online program, as each school has its own admissions requirements, prerequisites, and program requirements. Many schools offer options for completing coursework, such as hybrid programs or cohorts. Browse the websites below to learn detailed information about a school's doctoral program, and contact the enrollment counselor or academic advisor for more questions or information.


If you manage your time well, it is entirely possible to complete your doctorate degree online; in fact, most doctoral candidates are also working professionals. And some programs may require you to have a source of income before beginning coursework. Online doctorate in school counseling programs are intended to help working professionals complete a degree with minimal disruption to their busy lives. These will vary in length, so speak to an enrollment counselor to find out more details.


School Location Cost Description Toggle

Hampton University

Hampton, VA Cost: $$$$$

A private, nonprofit institution rooted in the African American experience, historic Hampton University (HU) provides dynamic, progressive academic instruction in liberal arts and the applied sciences. Founded in 1868 by the American Missionary Association, HU is located in Hampton, Virginia, near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Home to a diverse student body representing 49 U.S. states and 35 nations worldwide, HU advances its mission of promoting learning, providing professional preparation, and building character across all its programs, including a doctor of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

HU's 64-credit program prepares learners for licensure as professional counselors and education supervisors. Most degree-seekers complete the program in 3.5 years or less, going on to obtain employment in clinical, academic, and research-based contexts. This online Ph.D. in school counseling offers two concentration areas: one each in educational counseling and mental health, and delivers all program content electronically through convenient asynchronous learning formats. Enrolled learners explore the fundamentals of the field by studying an array of topics such as behavioral analysis, advanced group and systems theory, counseling leadership and advocacy, and grant writing.

Eligible learners for this online doctorate in school counseling must provide official transcripts for all previous academic work. They must also submit recent GRE scores, an academic writing sample, and a brief personal statement that outlines their professional goals. HU holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The counseling programs housed in its School of Liberal Arts and Education also retain programmatic accreditation from the Council of Accredited Counseling and Related Education Programs.

Program Overview
Program Name: Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision
Available Concentrations: School counseling; community mental health counseling
Tuition: $695/credit
Credit Requirements: 64 credits
Program Length: 3.5 years

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: GRE

Phone: (757) 727-5000
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR Cost: $$$$$

Established in 1868 as the first community school for primary and preparatory education in the region, OSU confers degrees in over 200 different disciplines. A public research institution located in the central western city of Corvallis, OSU promotes innovation and rigor in higher education. Among its many programs stands OSU's Ph.D. in counseling, an advanced course of study designed to prepare learners for successful work as practitioners, educational counselors, and clinical supervisors.

OSU's program consists of 150 credits achievable in 3-4 years. A hybrid degree program, this Ph.D. in school counseling online combines traditional, face-to-face experiences with interactive online instruction. This accommodating approach provides working professionals with the convenience and flexibility necessary to complete their education with limited interruption. Topics covered in the course of study include group counseling and consultation, advanced theory and practice, diversity and social justice, and counselor education.

Interested applicants must hold an accredited master's degree in counseling or a related field. They must also submit official academic transcripts for graduate and undergraduate work indicating a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Along with these materials, applicants must also supply three letters of reference and an academic writing sample. Learners may also transfer up to 56 credits from previous graduate-level work. OSU maintains regional and programmatic accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and the Council of Accredited Counseling and Related Education Programs.

Program Overview
Program Name: Ph.D. in Counseling
Tuition: $589/credit
Credit Requirements: 150 credits
Program Length: 3-5 years

Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum

Phone: (800) 667-1465
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

University of West Georgia

Carrollton, GA Cost: $$$$$

Located in Carrollton, UWG empowers learners to reach their full potential through academic engagement, professional development, and supportive services. A public research institution founded in 1906, UWG serves more than 13,000 degree-seekers each year across a combined 66 graduate and undergraduate programs. UWG also confers doctoral degrees, including a doctor of education in professional counseling and supervision ideal for learners seeking to further their education and training.

This online doctorate in professional counseling is to prepare school and community counselors to be exemplary leaders in professional counseling and supervision and in program evaluation. The program consists of 60 credits or 39 depending on previous academic work in the field. Graduates of the program are better prepared for their enriching careers as counselors and supervisors in academic, clinical, and research contexts. With the exception of a required on-campus orientation session, the program offers all instruction completely online through an array of interactive distance learning technologies. Learners enrolled in UWG's program hone their skills and knowledge by studying ethics in educational leadership, program evaluation strategies, advocacy, and professional writing.

Applicants to this online doctorate must hold licensure in counseling or a related field. They must also possess at least three years of professional work experience as a counselor. Application materials for the program include official academic transcripts, recent GRE scores, a current resume, three letters of reference, and a brief personal essay. A regionally accreditation institution, UWG carries credentials from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Overview
Program Name: Doctor of Education in Professional Counseling and Supervision
Tuition: For full information, visit the Bursar's Office page
Credit Requirements: 39-60 credits

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: GRE
Work Experience: 3 years
Other Experience: Licensed or Licensable in counseling or related field; master's in counseling or related field

Phone: (678) 839-6567
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

What Else Can I Expect from an Online Doctorate in School Counseling Program?

An online doctorate in school counseling is a terminal degree program that prepares students for careers as clinical counselors. Graduates work at schools, research facilities, clinics, and in administrative roles. Most of these programs are accredited under the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), however course offerings and program requirements vary by school.


Online doctorate in school counseling programs are created by the school's administrative board. Course listings differ by school but a sample curriculum is provided below.

  • Clinical Supervision: This course prepares graduates for administrative work. Students learn methodologies and procedures to guide the administrative department of a counseling program, which may include monitoring other counselors and implementing department changes. Assignments focus on self-reflection and group discussions.
  • Professional Orientation, Ethics, and Identity: An analysis of the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics, students develop their own identity as a counselor and educator. Learners explore the cultural perspectives of different counselors and how they co-exist with each other. The course focuses on the legal and ethical aspects of maintaining a counseling program.
  • Teaching in Counselor Education: Covering the basics of counselor education, students develop techniques and methodologies for teaching adult learners. Students assess their personal experiences with teachers and apply positive techniques to their own pedagogies. They also explore the cultural dynamics of adult students.


Online doctorate in school counseling programs vary in length based on the requirements of the institution. The best online doctorates follow CACREP-academic guidelines and complete coursework, residences, fieldwork, and a dissertation. Programs range from 60-80 credits and can take roughly five years to complete.

Students often complete their online doctorate degree individually or in a cohort. Individually- paced programs are asynchronous, and students complete coursework when it best suits them and by a given deadline. Cohort programs use small working-groups to complete assignments together and are typically online at the same times. Cohort education is meant to provide social interaction and peer networking to online students. Both individually-paced and cohort programs offer access to an academic advisor for guidance.

Accreditation for Online Doctorate in School Counseling Programs

Regional accreditation is regulated by one of the six accreditation agencies in the United States. Credits from these schools are easier to transfer and most are recognized by other colleges and universities. National accreditation is primarily for vocational or technical programs, and includes many distance learning programs. Most nationally accredited programs accept credits from regionally accredited institution, however regional schools may not accept credits from nationally accredited programs. Some programs also hold program-specific accreditation. This is awarded by CACREP to specific departments within a college or university, and usually means they have strict academic guidelines and professional standards.

The Department of Education oversees the U.S. educational system by distributing federal funding to schools. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is an accrediting body with over 3,000 institution members that works with the U.S. Department of Education to identify accredited institutions. The Department of Education will only provide federal funding to students that attend accredited institutions, and schools must carry accreditation before they can receive federal funds. To find the best online doctorate in school counseling, visit the CHEA website.

Employment Outlook for Doctorate in School Counseling Graduates

Doctorate in School Counseling Careers

The best online doctorate in school counseling programs prepare students for careers in the public and private sector. Students learn what it takes to operate a counseling program and teach future counselors, and go on to work at local high schools, elementary schools, middle schools, colleges and universities. They also work for school districts or the local school board. Below are some of the many careers options a doctorate in school counseling may provide you.

Mental Health Counselor

These counselors assist people with personal and family issues and develop coping strategies. Mental health workers also double as family and marriage counselors. They arrange counseling sessions to listen to their clients and assess the situation, and can hold individual or group counseling sessions. Most mental health counselors have a master's degree and a practicing license.

Median Annual Salary $44,170

Projected Growth Rate 19%


Psychologists study the behavioral patterns of people living in different environments. They analyze data and speak to clients, while often working alongside social workers and physicians as members of the healthcare team.

Median Annual Salary $75,230

Projected Growth Rate 19%

Special Education Teacher

Psychologists study the behavioral patterns of people living in different environments. They analyze data and speak to clients, while often working alongside social workers and physicians as members of the healthcare team.

Median Annual Salary $57,910

Projected Growth Rate 6%

Doctorate in School Counseling Salary

Employees in counselor education and supervision can work as practicing counselors or administrators. Salary is based on education level, licensure, and professional experience, and employees have the opportunity to increase their earning potential by receiving advanced degrees and certification. Below is a list of career opportunities for students in this field.

Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
Counselor Educator $62,806 $50,000 $58,000 $77,000
Counselor Supervisor $44,994 $42,000 $49,000 $58,000
Counseling Faculty $48,217 $43,000 $49,000 $63,000
Mental Health Counselor $39,794 $38,000 $41,000 $46,000
Social Worker $54,862 $50,000 $60,000 $64,000


The best online doctorate in school counseling programs prepare students to join the education administration workforce. Professional organizations mold and shape future leaders by offering vast networking opportunities, and access to materials that strengthen their knowledge as a counseling provider and educator. Members attend annual conferences and receive information about new job opportunities.

Financing Your Online Doctorate in School Counseling Program

The majority of online doctorate in school counseling students take out loans to fund their education. Learners may go through a private lender to receive funds or they may defer to the federal government for assistance. All students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which allows the government to identify the kind of funding you may benefit from the most.


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