I find myself having to correct people when they ask what I am studying and they respond with “so you plan to work in high schools right after graduation?”, or “so this is like educational psychology?”. It brings to my attention the importance of educating others on what counselor education and supervision really is, because the lack of awareness reinforces the misconceptions.
A degree in counselor education and supervision is a PhD program that provides a specialty area within the counseling profession. Graduates with a PhD in counselor education and supervision are employed as professors, researchers, clinicians. The degree prepares the student for scholarship (publications/research) and teaching (at the master’s and doctoral levels), the master’s degree prepares the student for licensure to be a practicing clinician. However, persons may begin licensure procedure during the PhD program. It depends on what the individual decided to do after completing their master’s degree. Some chose to work right away, therefore obtaining necessary state licensure, others go right into a PhD program.
Having said that, graduates of a PhD in counselor education and supervision are prepared to be future leaders in the field, contributing to research, publication, training and education.
A few of the student learning outcomes as outlined by my department, for doctoral students enrolled in the counselor education and supervision program, includes (but is not limited to) demonstrating knowledge and understanding of:
– leadership roles in counseling
– designing qualitative and quantitative research
– writing for publication
– theory, strategies and techniques of counseling
– developing and teaching graduate level courses in counseling
– supervision techniques
Beginning in the early 1980’s, accreditation for counselor education programs began, with the primary accrediting body being identified as the Council for Accreditation of Counselor Education and Supervision (CACREP). CACREP accredits master’s and doctoral level counseling programs and provides established guidelines, and the assurance that the program has met national standards. Not all programs are accredited, so if you are thinking about enrolling in a master’s or doctoral level program in counseling or counselor education and supervision, be sure to check the CACREP website to determine if the program is accredited. It ultimately is your choice if you decided to go to an accredited or non-accredited program. The best thing is to think about where you see yourself after your graduate.
If you are thinking about getting a job as a faculty member, it is important to know that some schools only hire persons who graduated from a CACREP accredited program. Keep this in mind as it becomes an important issue and can be a possible roadblock if your program is not accredited.
It is also very important to keep in mind that counseling is not the same as psychology, therefore psychology related programs may not hire someone with a counseling background and vice versa. So, to some extent, you need to think about the end result at the beginning of your decision-making process in terms of what program to attend.
Do your research, ask questions, and feel free to email professors in the department you want to apply to (for graduate programs) if you are unsure about your decision. It’s always best to know your options before making major decisions.
I chose counselor education and supervision for my doctoral education as I am very passionate about being able to implement change, strengthening my research skills and gaining more knowledge about the field of counseling. I also decided on this program because I have a passion for passing on the knowledge I have to others and seeing individuals make positive life changes. With this degree, I hope to educate counselors, provide quality supervision, engage in scholarship activities, create and implement programs and be a role model in the field of counselor education.
I hope this information was helpful.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
― Nelson Mandela