Earning a Doctorate Degree in Christian Counseling
Earning a Doctorate degree is quite an accomplishment. Such an advanced degree is designed for an individual to master skills, research, and knowledge within a chosen focus. It expands employment and practice opportunities while preparing a student to function independently in the academic and professional world.
As usual, different programs require different lengths of time in order to complete a Doctorate in counseling. If a student already has a Bachelor's and Master's under their belt, Doctorate degrees can usually be expected to take 2-4 years. Online options are also offered for Doctorate programs, offering flexibility such as weekend workshops and classes scheduled as times convenient for working professionals. Due to the self-paced nature of such curriculum, it can take anywhere between 2-5 years to complete an online program. However, some programs that only require a Bachelor's degree offer a hybrid Master's and Doctorate program, which can vary in length.
Due to the variety of degree areas, specializations, and designations offered withing counseling, the right fit for an individual depends on the particular combination tailored to their focus. An example of a degree area is counseling psychology, which differs from a specialty such as mental health or rehabilitation and a designation like PhD or PsyD. No matter what the cocktail, a certain amount of research training and practical experience is to be expected within their designed specialty (Counseling.org).
Doctorate coursework usually involves a research component and a dissertation or thesis, which can be the main focus within the final stretch of a program. A history of counseling and the evolution of the profession may be at the center of Doctorate studies, as well as how certain areas of expertise have impacted diverse needs. Research may involve the study of counseling theory or various strategies and assessment methods. Some larger universities also include teaching experience as part of the Doctorate counseling program by offering the opportunity for students to work as teaching assistants for undergraduate programs.
As with undergraduate and Master's programs, the amount of Christian emphasis and perspective depends on the institution and curriculum. The faith element to counseling will particularly depend on the specialty an individual has chosen after completing their undergraduate and Master's work.
Becoming an authority in your field means a range of opportunities. Teaching at a Master's level, becoming a supervisor, consultant, administrator, or advanced clinician within a practice, or creating a private or group practice are all possibilities with an advanced degree. Within a private practice, a Doctorate also provides versatility in the insurance and HMO world and also affects earning potential. Many counselors with Doctorate degrees also become authors due to the authority they have on their focus and the research background on the subject of counseling an individual has at that level. No matter the position, a Doctorate degree equips a student with the tools they need to be independent and lead the next generation of counselors (Counseling.org).