Counseling psychology is a subfield of psychology that deals with the emotional, mental, and behavioral problems of individuals, families, and groups. It involves assessing, diagnosing, treating, and preventing psychological disorders and helps people overcome their emotional and mental difficulties.

If you aspire to work in the counseling psychology field, it’s necessary to have a psychology degree. An online degree in counseling psychology will equip you with the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to provide effective counseling services.

Choosing the Right Online Counseling Psychology Degree Program

Becoming a counseling psychologist requires a master’s degree at minimum, but a doctorate will make you more competitive in the job market. Before either degree, completion of a Bachelor’s degree at the undergraduate level is necessary.

Ensure a reputable organization accredits it regardless of your online program. The Counsel for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs and the American Psychological Association are well-known accrediting bodies.

Bachelor’s Degree

While it’s uncommon for colleges to offer a bachelor’s degree specifically in counseling psychology, bachelor’s programs in psychology or counseling are widely available. You could alternatively pursue a bachelor’s in another similar field.

Completing an online bachelor’s degree typically takes four years. The initial two years comprise fundamental psychology courses and general education requirements, followed by intermediate psychology courses and electives during the latter two years.

Master’s Degree

To practice as a counseling psychologist, a master’s degree in counseling psychology is required. All states have a minimum educational requirement for licensure, and the minimum is an accredited master’s program.

An online master’s degree in psychology is sufficient to practice counseling psychology. You can enroll in a master’s in counseling psychology, which will have a heavier emphasis on counseling, but it’s unnecessary.

A master’s degree in psychology involves one to two years of study, which includes a combination of coursework and an internship component (practicum). Both general and counseling programs will have many different psychology courses you can take. A counseling program will likely have a few more required counseling-focused classes. When considering online programs, ensure that the one you are applying to has options for completing clinical hours within your community.

Doctorate Degree

Getting a doctorate degree in counseling psychology online can open doors to high-level leadership positions and potential teaching opportunities. It can increase your income and impact but isn’t a prerequisite for working as a counselor.

Most counseling psychologists who pursue a doctorate enroll in a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree program. This type of program is heavily focused on practical work with clients. During the online program, students study advanced-level clinical concepts and receive hands-on training through direct counseling work with clients within their community. The Psy.D. degree typically takes three years to complete.

Some counseling psychologists opt for a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree, which emphasizes research more. This program includes direct work with clients and research-focused activities, including running studies, analyzing data, and writing a dissertation. Ph.D. programs in counseling psychology typically require two years of coursework and an additional two to four years for research and dissertation writing.

Both doctorate programs offer advanced-level study in counseling psychology and prepare students for licensure. They can be in addition to, or instead of, a master’s degree.

Which Counseling Psychology Degree is Right for Me?

Bachelor’s DegreeMaster’s DegreeGraduate CertificatePh.D. or PsyD
I am interested in gaining entry-level experience in counseling psychologyx
I want to get started in my counseling psychology career before I pursue more educationx
I want to pursue a non-patient-facing role in counseling psychologyxx
I want to pursue or switch to a niche psychology specialtyxx
I already have a psychology degree and want to gain specialized knowledgexx
I want to conduct research in psychologyxx
I want to become a licensed psychologist and treat patientsx
I want to work in academiax

Counseling Psychology Degree Program Curriculum

The coursework you complete will focus more on counseling psychology as you move through the various degrees. Some examples of courses include:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: ~120 credits; Intro to Psychology, Human Development, Clinical Psychology
  • Master’s Degree: ~30-60 credits; Individual Interventions, Group Counseling, Psychopathology
  • Doctorate Degree: ~80-120 credits; Application of Counseling Methods, Vocational Psychology

Counseling Psychology Degree Program Clinical Requirements

A crucial aspect of any counseling psychology degree program is the practical component known as a “practicum.” The clinical placement component allows students to gain valuable experience in a supervised setting and work directly with clients.

Typically, master’s programs in counseling psychology accredited by professional organizations require at least 600 hours of clinical experience, while Psy.D. programs in this field mandate a minimum of 1,500 hours. However, it’s not uncommon for specialized counseling psychology programs to have higher practical experience requirements.

Job postings and personal networks may be the best options for students enrolled in an online program for locating clinical opportunities.

List of Online Counseling Psychology Degree Programs

Are you looking for an online counseling psychology degree program near you? Browse our state-by-state school listings below.

Jump to Your State Listings


5345 Atlanta Hwy
Montgomery, AL 36109-3390
(334) 272-5820


4101 University Dr
Anchorage, AK 99508
(907) 561-1266


901 E Alosta
Azusa, CA 91702-7000
(626) 969-3434

8432 Magnolia Ave
Riverside, CA 92504-3297
(877) 228-3615

536 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-2968
(415) 442-7800

1069 East Meadow Cr
Palo Alto, CA 94303
(650) 493-4430


Bachelor's Programs
33701 State Road 52
Saint Leo, FL 33574-6665
(352) 588-8200


3140 Waialae Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816-1578
(808) 735-4711


Bachelor's Programs
1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(434) 582-2000

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

Other Psychology Degree Program Profiles

Share This: