PhD in Counselor Education & Supervision

Professionals with a PhD in counselor supervision are qualified to provide educational and clinical supervision to counselors-in-training. Professors in this field have the knowledge and expertise to help guide counselors-in-training at the master’s level in developing their practice, provide ethical and legal guidance, evaluate and support their development as clinicians, and contribute to the advancement of the counseling profession. Additionally, a Phd in counseling supervision opens opportunities for teaching, research projects, or developing programs within universities or organizations.

In recent years, research has explored how a counselor’s cultural identity impacts their work with clients from different racial backgrounds. Other research looks into how institutions can include social justice issues in counseling education to help counselors address and reduce disparities in treatment among underserved populations. Additionally, new technology is being studied that can assist counselors in delivering services more effectively, such as using telehealth to connect with clients remotely. 

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is a professional accrediting body that sets standards for graduate and doctoral counseling programs. Since 1981, CACREP has sought to ensure that counselors are trained in ethical practices and best practices to serve clients professionally and effectively. 

Many PhD programs in this field are titled counselor education & supervision, meaning these doctoral programs emphasize teaching, mentoring, and research. Not only can PhD graduates teach students in counseling programs such as master’s in mental health counseling and master’s in substance abuse counseling, but they also demonstrate a strong acumen for academic research and publication. 

Doctoral candidates in counselor supervision and education must possess various qualifications to be eligible for admission. Specifically, they should have completed a master’s degree in counseling or a closely related field that meets the requirements set forth by CACREP and achieved a satisfactory score on either NCE (National Counselor Examination) or NCMHCE (National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examinations). 

Furthermore, applicants must demonstrate mastery proficiency in counseling practice areas such as couples therapy, clinical social work, and creative arts therapies but also display competency through writing at the doctoral level paired with apt use of technology essential for online/hybrid programs. In addition, letters from two academic and professional references, a current resume or CV, and an interview with the admissions committee are typical application requirements at the doctoral level. 

Read on to learn more about CACREP-accredited PhD programs in counseling education and supervision and three featured professors who teach, mentor, and research in these programs.

Typical Admissions Requirements for Counseling Education & Supervision PhD Programs

A typical counseling education and supervision doctoral program features a rigorous program of study. The admissions requirements may include:

  • Completed application
  • Statement of purpose
  • GRE examination score
  • Scholarly writing sample
  • Resume 
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts
  • Application fee
  • Ability to successfully pursue doctoral-level work
  • Professional counseling experience
  • Demonstrated personal fitness for the profession as evidenced by emotional maturity, a healthy capacity for self-reflection, and a willingness to undergo personal psychotherapy (if a requirement for program admission)
  • Substantial oral and written communication skills
  • Strong potential to become a leader and/or advocate in the field
  • Sensitivity to the needs, challenges, and perspectives of diverse populations, including those who come from historically marginalized and underserved populations

International students may need to complete additional requirements, such as a demonstration of English language ability sufficient to learn within their program to be offered admission effectively.

Program Accreditation for Counseling Education & Supervision PhD Programs

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a recognized specialist accrediting body through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), is responsible for providing reliable credentials to those completing counseling and related educational programs. With successful completion of a doctorate in counselor education & supervision from a CACREP-accredited program, individuals become qualified educators ready to lead the next generation in counseling education.

CACREP was founded in 1981 to develop innovative standards and procedures to accommodate a heterogeneous population. In addition, they seek to elevate counseling professionals’ professional competency through their commitment by establishing quality preparation criteria and educational programs through accreditation. 

Doctoral counselors-in-training seeking CACREP accreditation must ensure their curriculum provides adequate foundational knowledge in the five core areas. These are counseling, supervision, teaching and instruction, research and scholarly activity, and leadership development to promote advocacy for effective practitioner outcomes.

Featured Online PhD in Counselor Education & Supervision Programs

Walden University 

PhD seekers looking for a rigorous and educational online program can find the perfect fit in Walden University’s counselor education & supervision program. With specializations in addiction, clinical mental health, marriage/couple/family counseling, school counseling, trauma and crisis response, and more, this degree promises to prepare graduates with extensive knowledge on how to drive positive social change as an educator or supervisor. 

Featuring just one residency requirement alongside generous transfer credit options (up to 45 credits), students will start teaching master’s students early by facilitating meaningful discussions.

Faculty-led mentorship cultivates leadership skills and unlocks new possibilities for growth and development. In addition, graduates from this program are taught to build an engaging platform to share insights and expertise through the power of podcasts to showcase their expertise.

  • Location: Minneapolis, MN
  • Duration: Three to eight years
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Tuition: $605 per credit

University of the Cumberlands 

Students can take on advanced roles within their field with the University of the Cumberlands’ online PhD in counselor education and supervision. The program combines leadership skills with theoretical knowledge to help develop a well-rounded focus in teaching, education, and pedagogy. 

With 30 credits of core classes as its foundation (plus seminars, clinical practice, and research for further experience), this degree culminates with specialties focusing on addiction counseling or an additional area of expertise such as advanced counseling methods.

To gain admittance to the program, prospective students must demonstrate their commitment and expertise through a CACREP-accredited master’s degree with an impressive 3.5 or higher GPA and successful results on the NCE (National Counselor Examination) or NCMHCE (National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination).

  • Location: Williamsburg, KY 
  • Duration: Three years 
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Tuition: $400 per credit

Kansas State University

At Kansas State University, students become professional leaders in the field of counseling education and supervision. The online PhD program provides an opportunity to gain 96 hours post-baccalaureate in supervision, teaching, leadership, and research, culminating with a dissertation that contributes significantly to the profession. To round off this comprehensive program, there is an additional focus on six outside-department course credits while 12 dedicated dissertation research hours complete the doctoral program. 

Kansas State University counseling education and supervision doctoral graduates are equipped to teach at colleges or universities; direct P-12 programs; and provide consultation services for businesses, industries, and state agencies. In addition, counseling supervisors become student advisors in higher education settings and even open their own mental health private practice counseling in private practice. In addition, graduates possess the credentials to apply for mental health counseling licenses.

  • Location: Manhattan, KS
  • Duration: Five years
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Tuition: $511 per credit 

Adams State University 

Adams State University offers an online doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision. Students must complete at least 66 semester hours and 16 credits are typically awarded for dissertation-specific work. Graduates hold the skills needed to work as counselor educators, supervisors, and researchers.

Admission requirements include a fully completed application, a master’s degree from a CACREP accredited program, a history of sufficient additional coursework and/or counseling experience for those who graduated from a non-CACREP accredited program, official transcripts, an acceptable GRE score, three references and a letter of intent.

  • Location: Alamosa, CO
  • Duration: Three to five years
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Tuition: $592.80 per credit 

Capella University 

Capella University offers an online PhD program in counselor education and supervision designed to train counseling professionals to excel in various careers, including counseling practitioner, leader, clinical supervisor, educator, and researcher. This program consists of 12 core courses, an internship, a practicum, and dissertation requirements.

Upon degree completion, graduates can:

  • Support personal and professional development consistently
  • Conduct quality research that contributes to the knowledge base of the counselor education and supervision discipline
  • Promote evidence-based practice, supervision, and teaching
  • Advocate for social justice and the advancement of professional counseling
  • Apply professional codes of ethics and legal standards as well as industry norms to instruct in the topic of counselor education and supervision effectively
  • Communicate professionally and effectively through written, verbal and electronic formats

Graduates hold the skills and experience to work in various employment settings, including hospitals, local, state, and federal government agencies, community mental health centers, day treatment hospitals, colleges and universities, college counseling centers, and residential treatment centers.

  • Location: Minneapolis, MN
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)

Chicago School of Professional Psychology 

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers a three-year online doctoral program in counselor education and supervision. The program is founded on the belief that counseling clients can heal from within in a safe therapeutic environment. This program is designed to help advance the careers of both those who are licensed professional counselors (LCPC, LPC, LMHP) as well as those who are license-eligible.

Among its requirements, doctoral students are expected to complete a minimum of 700 hours among their practicum and internship requirements. These training experiences are designed to train students in the five core CACREP domains of counseling, leadership/advocacy, research/scholarship, teaching and supervision.

Graduates have completed a curriculum designed to instill competence in the four core functions of being a professional counselor. These functions are professional identity, ethical decision-making, multicultural competence and practical application. As a result, they emerge into the workforce prepared to work as educators and leaders in counseling. Common workplace settings for graduates include outpatient care centers, psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, residential care facilities and organizations/agencies that provide individual and family services.

  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Duration: Three years 
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Tuition: $1,622 per credit 

Antioch University (Hybrid)

Antioch University’s hybrid PhD in counselor education and supervision is a 72-credit program that provides the highest level of professional development for counselors. Combining online coursework with two four-day campus residencies, this low residency degree offers comprehensive training around research and evaluation, supervision, teaching, leadership/advocacy, and counseling to help graduates reach their goals as advanced counseling practitioners.

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling Related Education Program (CACREP) has accredited this doctoral degree program to equip students with advanced proficiency in teaching and research, counseling supervision, leadership advocacy, and sensitive multicultural practice. Gaining valuable experience through the CES Fellowships is also an option that second-year PhD candidates can apply for. These fellowships span one year; two options are available (Research or Social Justice Fellow), allowing scholars to broaden their knowledge base while developing the necessary skill sets for a prosperous professional career.

  • Location: Seattle, WA
  • Duration: Three years
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Tuition: $868 per credit

James Madison University (Hybrid)

James Madison University offers a doctoral program in counseling and supervision designed to meet the pressing need for counseling professionals’ skills in training and supervising master’s-level counselors. This 48-credit curriculum focuses on methods and strategies for counselor education and supervision, developing leadership skills, counseling services, and applying research methods. 

The program is delivered using a hybrid/low-residency learning model. Students participate in real-time and asynchronous online meetings with core faculty members and in-person residential learning experiences of three to four days in length. This model allows students to pursue their education with minimal disruption to existing work, family, and other commitments. 

The program also emphasizes crisis counseling and emergency services. This emphasis sets it apart from other otherwise relatively equivalent programs.

Graduates emerge from the program with expertise in the theory, research, and practice of counseling. The mission of this program is to create skilled, dynamic leaders who act as effective agents of positive change for individuals and families as well as at the larger level of institutions and communities.

This program’s student cohort, faculty, and staff represent a diverse cross-section of the population. United by a common vision, these individuals create an engaging learning community to foster personal and professional growth, mutual student support, and a commitment to counseling.

The program, fully accredited by CACREP since 2014, encourages applications from practicing counselors with an advanced degree from an entry-level counseling program and the graduate counseling coursework required to obtain licensure as a professional counselor or school counselor. Though not required, preference is given to applicants who graduate from CACREP-accredited master’s degree level counseling programs.

  • Location: Harrisonburg, VA
  • Duration: Three to five years
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Tuition: $529 per credit hour (residents); $1,251 (non-residents)

Oregon State University (Hybrid)

Oregon State University offers a hybrid online doctoral degree program in counseling designed to prepare students to work as advanced practitioners, counselor educators, and supervisors in both clinical and academic settings. The program emphasizes the value of student research in counselor education and supervision. 

The program is delivered through the Oregon State University College of Education and its Ecampus. The delivery format permits students the flexibility to work while completing their program. Direct contact classes (face-to-face) are held twice a quarter on a consecutive Friday and Saturday at the OSU Portland Center. As is true of many doctoral programs, only a small cohort of students is admitted annually into this program. This cohort learning model allows students to develop substantial peer relationships that may prove of great value both during their studies and after graduation.

The doctoral counseling program offered by OSU is distinctive for many reasons. To begin with, it has operated since the 1940s. OSU has offered graduate coursework via Extended Campus since 1944 and entire graduate degrees via Extended Campus since 1976. In addition, the counseling PhD faculty are nationally recognized scholars and leaders.

The OSU program is also distinctive regarding its work with clients from  populations that have been historically marginalized. In addition to its commitment to anti-racism work to meet the needs of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), the OSU Counseling Program was awarded the 2022 Counseling Program award from the Society for Sexual, Affectional, Intersex and Gender Expansive Identities. Prospective doctoral students interested in working with historically marginalized populations may thus find the OSU program compatible with their counseling career aspirations.

  • Location: Corvallis, OR
  • Duration: Four to five years
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Tuition: $590 per credit

On-Campus PhD in Counselor Education & Supervision Programs

University of Texas San Antonio 

The University of Texas at San Antonio offers an on-campus doctoral program in counselor education and supervision that puts students’ learning flexibility first. This full-time course consists of three parts: general classes covering two internship credits, which teaches how to supervise counseling sessions properly; research; culminating ultimately into completing a dissertation based on gathered data from conducted studies.

Admission requirements are fairly demanding, with a master’s degree obtained before the application process and proof via GRE scores of academic proficiency being asked for upon submission—all while maintaining an average GPA of 3.0 or higher.

  • Location: San Antonio, TX
  • Duration: Three years
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Tuition: $348 per credit (residents); $1,345 per credit (non-residents)

Texas Tech

Texas Tech University’s counselor education program offers a highly respected PhD on campus, with rigorous academic and residency requirements that the CACREP has nationally accredited. Texas Tech takes learning beyond the classroom and into clinical practice, providing students with an extensive curriculum that combines theoretical knowledge, practical experience, and ethical principles. The final year of study culminates in a research examination to test each student’s mastery of the program’s offerings.

Those looking to apply must submit transcripts, GRE scores, and professional references for consideration—all part of an extensive application process designed to ensure only those ready can be accepted into this enriching educational experience.

  • Location: Lubbock, TX
  • Duration: Three years
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Tuition: $551 per credit (residents); $959 per credit (non-residents)

Ohio University

Ohio University offers a comprehensive PhD in counselor education and supervision program that provides students with advanced preparation for careers as counselor educators in higher education, mental health professionals, and leaders. Graduates are well-equipped to handle even the most complex counseling challenges through rigorous coursework, practicum experience, and internship placements, culminating with written exams followed by the defense of their doctoral dissertation. 

The competitive doctorate program accepts six to ten applicants every year. To be considered for admissions, prospective candidates must demonstrate excellence with a master’s degree and a GPA of 3.4 or higher in counseling or a related field; provide a current resume/CV, and letters of recommendation from influential colleagues. In addition, applicants must compose a compelling personal statement demonstrating the fit between candidate goals and our advanced curriculum offerings. 

  • Location: Athens, OH
  • Duration: Five years
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Tuition: $583 per credit (residents); $1,079 per credit (non-residents) 

Professors to Know in Schools with PhD in Counselor Education & Supervision

Katherine Fort, PhD, LMHC 

Antioch University

Dr. Katherine Fort is a well-respected educator with impressive credentials from Antioch University and Oregon State University. With an MAEd in Counseling focused on the post-secondary level from Seattle University, she has valuable experience training counselors working toward state licensure. Dr. Fort brings counseling experience to Antioch University. She is licensed in Washington and has held positions in private practice settings and the community college system. 

Dr. Fort worked at Bellevue College and Edmonds Community College, primarily focusing on first-generation students facing risk factors or coming from international backgrounds by providing personal, academic, and career coaching; and developing a curriculum for human development classes taught alongside her work there. Her expertise extends beyond these roles, teaching master’s level counseling programs at Seattle University & Bastyr University.

Christine Suniti Bhat, PhD 

Ohio University

Dr. Christine Suniti Bhat boasts an impressive academic portfolio, having earned her PhD, a master’s in organizational psychology, and a bachelor’s and master’s degree from international universities in India and Australia, respectively. In addition, possessing considerable expertise as a counselor, psychologist, or educator across multiple work settings (e.g., Australian military services, non-profit organizations, schools, and university grounds), Dr. Bhat was previously employed at California State University before joining Ohio University as an assistant professor teaching school counseling group counseling and counseling education and supervision modules.

Dr. Christine Suniti Bhat is a leader in counseling, serving on the American Counseling Association Governing Council and advocating for group, school, and positive strength-based interventions to address cyberbullying prevention to foster more excellent emotional health among individuals overall.

Tiffanie Sutherlin, PhD 

University of the Cumberlands

Dr. Ttiffanie Sutherlin is a highly-educated and experienced mental health counselor with three degrees from George Mason University, Liberty University, and James Madison University, respectively, the latter of which she earned her PhD in counseling & supervision in 2019. 

With over eight years spent practicing clinical counseling in various settings such as universities, and psychiatric hospitals, Dr. Sutherlin has intensive knowledge relating to the intersectionality between spirituality/religion and mental health concerning African American clients—an area that’s also close to her educational research interests along with psychopharmacology & college counseling consultations. 

Dr. Sutherlin resides in Richmond, Virginia, providing outpatient counseling services while occupying leadership positions on local state-level initiatives.

What Can I Do with a Counseling Education & Supervision PhD?

Doctoral graduates of counseling education and supervision programs find many career possibilities, ranging from private practice to research positions across various settings. These unique opportunities may be out-of-reach for those with less advanced degrees, allowing doctoral recipients to remain ahead in the job market in industries such as:

  • Higher education
  • Mental health facilities
  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Private practice

With the current demand for highly skilled professionals to support new counseling endeavors and an overwhelmed behavioral healthcare system due to Covid-19, graduates of doctoral programs stand ready to fill various key positions. Career opportunities can include mental health supervisor, social service counselor, department administrator, researcher or higher education educator, youth counselor superintendent posts, or even one as director at a school’s guidance office.

Bernd Geels

Bernd Geels


Bernd Geels is a Berlin, Germany-based freelance writer and artist. He holds an undergraduate degree in atmospheric science and two graduate degrees. He completed his most recent graduate degree in international environmental studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 2011. He is interested in healthcare, climate change, marine conservation, indigenous science and refugee issues. You can reach him directly at [email protected].