Salary Outlook with Ph.D. in Counseling Degree

Counseling psychology is the general practice and health service provider specialty in psychology. This specialty is centered on how people function in their personal lives as well as in their personal relationships in all age groups. Counseling psychology deals with the social, emotional, work, school and physical health issues people may have at various times of life. (

With a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, you will assist people with emotional, physical and mental health issues to enhance their sense of well-being, reduce stress and relieve anxiety.

Counseling psychologists in a variety of work settings may work with their patients on the following:

  • Career and school problems
  • Making good choices about career and work; dealing with the transition from work to retirement
  • Learning and skill issues
  • Stress management, dealing with problems of life
  • Organizational problems
  • Social adjustment
  • Developing identity
  • Mental health disorders
  • Difficulties relating to others

Earning your Ph.D. in Counseling is an important decision as you will spend four to six years of your life in college. Is it worth it? One aspect to consider is your salary outlook with this Ph.D. Below is detailed salary information for this career and degree.

Counseling Ph.D. Salary Outlook

A good source for salary data for all psychologists is the Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS. BLS reports the median salary for all psychologists is $79,000 as of 2018. Professionals with the most experience and education can earn up to $129,000 per year. (

SEE ALSO: Counselor Education Degree vs. Counseling Psychology

The American Psychological Association has detailed salary information for psychologists as of 2015. Its survey of 135,000 full-time psychologists found a median salary of $85,000. The range for approximately 58% of those surveyed was between $60,000 and $120,000, with 22% earning above $120,000. (

According to, the average salary for a Ph.D. in Counseling is $71,000. (

It also is important to review the salary outlook for marriage and family therapists, which is a related career to counseling. BLS reports the median salary in this profession was $50,000 in 2018, with the top 10% earning more than $82,000 per year. Salaries in the top industries were as follows: (

  • State government: $69,900
  • Outpatient care centers: $51,200
  • Offices of other health practitioners: $49,100
  • Individual and family services: $44,700

According to, a licensed marriage and family therapist makes an average salary of $53,800. (

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High Salary Growth in Ph.D. in Counseling

If you want to earn a high salary with a Ph.D. in Counseling, working as a counseling psychologist can result in a salary of over $100,000 and possibly up to $125,000 or even more. Earning a salary this high generally entails working in private practice, or possibly for the federal government. BLS reports the highest general psychologist salary is working in government – $96,410.

Ph.D. Job Outlook

The job outlook for counseling psychologists is bright. BLS reports the employment of clinical, counseling and school psychologists will grow by 14% through 2028, which is much faster than average. (

There is a rising demand for counseling services in hospitals, mental health centers, and social service centers. As people are aging, more will turn to counseling psychologists for help with their mental health and personal problems.

Job demand for marriage and family therapists also is excellent. BLS anticipates a 22% increase in jobs through 2028, also much faster than average. Growth should occur because of more use of integrated care, which is treating several problems simultaneously by a group of healthcare specialists. (

Counseling Ph.D. Career Opportunities

With your Ph.D. in Counseling, you will have many interesting and financially rewarding career opportunities:

SEE ALSO: How to Become a Counseling Psychologist

  • Psychologist: Psychologists work with patients in private practice as you study human behavior and cognitive, emotional and cognitive processes. Use your skills in observation, examination, and interpretation as you study relationships between groups and work with patients on their personal and mental health issues.
  • Marriage and family counselor: Specialize in the relationship between families and the individual. Most will work in private practice or with a practice of mental health professionals.
  • School and career counselor: Work in schools to help students improve the skills they need for both social and academic success. School counselors may work with teens and adults to help them find careers best suited to their talents and education.
  • Substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselor: Work with patients to deal with many substance abuse problems and mental health issues. See also Salary Outlook with Ph.D. in Mental Health Counseling Degree
  • Postsecondary teacher: Work as an instructor or professor at a university. You may supervise psychology majors at the bachelor’s or master’s level, and give lectures, advice and mentoring while performing research and publishing reports.

Featured Online Ph.D. in Counseling

Oregon State University offers an online Ph.D. in counseling that consists mostly of online courses, with face-to-face meetings once per quarter. This Ph.D. program will prepare you to work as an advanced clinical practitioner of counseling and counselor educators in both clinical and college settings.

SEE ALSO: 5+ Online Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology Programs

The purpose of this program is to stress doctoral student contributions to the counseling field through research, while also learning about societal changes of modern communities. (

Students will come up with an area of counseling expertise and will show staff proper academic and professional goals through the creation and completion of a counseling program of study, with a dissertation research focus.

Required courses include:

  • Publication Methods in Counselor Education
  • Counselor Education
  • Counselor Education Quantitative Research Methods
  • Advanced Diversity and Social Justice in Counselor Education
  • Research Methods in Education
  • Research and Analysis in Education
  • Advanced Assessment in Counseling
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The future is bright with a Ph.D. in Counseling. You have many financially rewarding careers from which to choose – from a psychologist to marriage and family therapist to school and career counselor. Plus, job demand for most psychologists and counselors will grow substantially in the future, so this is a good degree choice for those interested in helping others with their problems.