Jun 6, 2012
Psychology Student

I graduated from a masters in Clinical Mental Health last year and hope to have my LPC licence by March 2015. I also have a Masters Degree in Nutrition. I am having a hard time making a decision as to whether to purse a PhD in counselor Ed starting fall 2014. My plan is to do private practice on a part-time basis and continue with my current non-counseling full-time job with a local University as a Nutrition Specialist. For my background, I work at a public university and the university would pay 75% of the tuition for the doctorate degree. Even though I would not get a higher rembursement for my part-time private practice, my employer would automatically give me a $5,000 yearly raise if I compelete a doctorate, regardless of the subject matter. My concern is that I am not sure the $5,000 is worth the time I will invest getting the doctorate. I would continue working full-time and do the doctorate part-time. Any feedback would be highly appreciated.
May 7, 2013
Chicago, IL
Hello, I am currently a Counselor Education doctoral student. I am a full time student and I also operate a private practice. I have been licensed and practicing for more than a decade. Doctoral studies are very demanding and I am simultaneously exhausted and exhilarated. This is my first year in the program and there is only one student of the seven of us who is part-time. As you may know, the doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision is primarily focused on research and teaching. There are some advanced clinical courses and practica, but the emphasis is on developing counselor educators who will assume faculty positions in higher education or take on leadership positions in various community, health, or counseling organizations. Your nutrition background is desirable due counseling's emphasis on holistic wellness. With that said, I think anyone who has ever endeavored to get a PhD at one point says to themselves, 'why am I doing this'; so, I think it is especially important to know how your goals line up with this particular type of training. You will have to complete clinical, teaching, and supervision practicum and internships, and complete a dissertation. Even as a part-time student, it may be difficult to work both a full-time job and do part-time private practice during your studies. I am needing to cut back in my private practice to better manage my academic goals and demands. So, that is a long winded way of saying it really depends on what your goals are. The fact that you will get tuition remission is awesome, but a $5,000 raise may be a high price to pay if you merely want your PhD to be ornamental. However, if you want to teach and practice as a Counselor Educator then the job outlook is good for those with the degree. Keep us up to date on your decision making process.
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10+ Year Member
Jan 15, 2008
I am currently doing a PhD in Counseling Psychology and working full-time in an unrelated field. I began my doctorate full-time and did that for two years. Then for a variety of reasons returned to my full-time job in an unrelated field and continued the doctorate part-time.

My advice to you, based on my experience, is to get the LPC first, then think about pursuing the doctorate. Don't even consider it until you have the LPC and have worked full-time in the field for at least a couple of years. In my understanding, PhD programs in Counselor Ed really want applicants who have had some full-time experience working as counselors. You will probably have a better chance of being admitted once you have that under your belt.

And I agree with everything PinkPsych said ... The doctorate is a research intensive degree and you have said nothing about having a passion for research. If you don't have a passion for research, do not pursue the doctorate. Not only is it NOT worth the extra $5,000 but you will wish you had given us $5,000 for our good advice. Just don't do it ... put it off for a few years ... unless you are over 40 you have plenty of time to start a doctorate after you have had a few years of experience in the field.
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Nov 18, 2013
I agree with the other posters that the Counselor Ed PhD is only worth doing if you are interested in research and teaching. Additionally, since supervision is usually a big part of Counselor Ed doctoral programs, I do think getting some clinical experience under your belt is a good idea. Good luck with whatever you decide!


5+ Year Member
Nov 1, 2013
Psychology Student
Also you have to consider the stress of getting aPhD and the environment of the program. Because it is completely different from working full time.
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