Doctoral Degrees in Counseling in California

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Updated January 24, 2023

Looking for a Doctorate Degree in Counseling in California? You should consider these top-tier PhD programs and jobs in the Counseling field.

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Doctoral Degrees in Counseling in California

Earning a Doctorate in Counseling in California

The best programs in California for counseling are designed to meet your specific needs. If you have a specific career in mind, taking the right courses is key to preparing yourself. A doctorate is a great way to prepare for work in diverse fields. Doctoral degree-holders possess the skills to move forward in their field.

With a doctorate, unemployment is 1.5%, while with a high school diploma it is 6.2%.

Counseling PhD Programs for You

Working and Living in California in the Counseling Profession

A degree in counseling can provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to work in a variety of settings with a variety of populations. Common courses in counseling programs focus on topics such as human development and psychopathology, as well as on developing counseling interventions and ethical and professional issues in counseling. Graduates of counseling programs may find jobs in fields such as mental health, substance abuse, and social work.

The average salary in California is $47,920 a year, or $23.04 an hour. All 16,529,810 employees in California are subject to this stat. The lowest 10% of earners in the state bring in $29,780 a year, according to the BLS, while the highest 10% of earners make $130,430 a year. The following displays the earnings for counselors in California.

Key

Counselors in California
Counselors Nationally
All Occupations in California
All Occupations Nationally

Salaries for Counselors in California and Nationwide

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The chart has 1 X axis displaying salary types.
The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Among 51 states (including Washington, D.C.), California ranks number 49 on the cost of living index, according to MERIC. The cost of living index measures the average cost of living in America against specific states. Assuming that the U.S. average is 100, all locations in the U.S. are either higher (more expensive) or lower (less expensive). In comparison with the national average, California's cost of living index is 139.8, which is 39.8% higher. Degree-seekers interested in relocating to California may be interested in the following cost of living comparison.

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Source: Missouri Research and Information Center
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Jobs for counselors are projected to grow 8.9% in the next decade. Based on BLS projections, the total employment in the occupation will change from 54,300 counselors in 2020 to 59,200 by 2030. Doctoral degrees are typically required for these positions.

Doctoral Degrees in Counseling in California

#1 Doctoral Degrees in Counseling in California

Loma Linda University

  • Loma Linda, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The psychological PhD (clinical) degree offered by Loma Linda University ranks as a top program in the field. Degree-seekers benefit from flexible course options through the private institution. Doctoral students also participate in career advising and gain research skills.

Learners earn credits by taking doctoral classes in the clinal psychology program. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates propose a dissertation topic and conduct research in their specialty area. With a doctorate in clinical psychology, graduates pursue academic, research, and industry roles.

Doctoral students may qualify for several forms of financial aid at the accredited institution. Reach out to the program to learn more about the application process and start dates.

Loma Linda University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 1,227

Online Master's Programs: 8

Online Doctoral Programs: 3

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 3-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $26,880

Accepts Transfer Credits: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$32,400
Out-of-state
$32,400
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,468
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#2 Doctoral Degrees in Counseling in California

Northcentral University

  • La Jolla, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online

The online PhD in marriage and family therapy program offered by Northcentral University ranks as a top program in the field. The private university helps degree-seekers complete a doctorate in a flexible format. Doctoral students receive research support and participate in scholarly events.

During the counseling program, learners must complete 63 credits of doctoral courses to earn their degree. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates conduct research for their dissertations. With a doctorate in marriage and family therapy, professionals work in academia, research, and leadership roles.

Doctoral students attending the accredited institution online qualify for several forms of financial aid. Contact the therapy program for more information about financial aid and the admission process.

Northcentral University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: Data not available

Online Master's Programs: 26

Online Doctoral Programs: 15

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 3-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $16,983

Accepts Transfer Credits: Accepted

Average Tuition
In-state
$11,064
Out-of-state
$11,064
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
12,471
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#3 Doctoral Degrees in Counseling in California

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Irvine

  • Irvine, CA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Irvine offers a top-ranked PhD in counselor education and supervision degree. Thanks to a flexible format, the private institution makes it easier to complete a doctorate. Doctoral students also receive research support, library access, and career advising.

In the counseling program, learners complete doctoral coursework and strengthen advanced skills. Doctoral candidates advance in the program by passing comprehensive exams and writing original dissertations. A counseling doctorate leads to job opportunities in research, academia, and leadership.

Doctoral students who attend the accredited institution through an online format qualify for several types of financial aid. Reach out to the counseling program to learn more about admission requirements.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Irvine at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 161

Online Master's Programs: Data not available

Online Doctoral Programs: Data not available

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: Data not available

Graduate Tuition Rate: $21,564

Accepts Transfer Credits: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
474
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#4 Doctoral Degrees in Counseling in California

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online PsyD in clinical psychology degree offered by The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles ranks as a top program in the field. At the private university, degree-seekers engage in online classes to earn a doctorate. Doctoral students strengthen their research skills and present at academic conferences.

In the counseling program, graduate learners earn credits by completing advanced classes. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates complete a dissertation that contributes original research to the field. As the highest degree in counseling, the doctorate meets the requirements for research, academic, and leadership roles.

Doctoral students attending the accredited institution online qualify for several forms of financial aid. Contact the program for more information about research support and financial aid.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 2,459

Online Master's Programs: 9

Online Doctoral Programs: 6

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 5-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $21,564

Accepts Transfer Credits: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$11,160
Out-of-state
$11,160
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
24%
Students Enrolled
3,131
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
90% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#5 Doctoral Degrees in Counseling in California

University of Southern California

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The psychology (PhD) program at the University of Southern California appeals to learners seeking an online doctorate, and degree-seekers benefit from the flexible enrollment options of the university. by enrolling, doctoral students participate in career advising and gain research skills.

In the counseling program, learners complete doctoral coursework to strengthen advanced skills. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates conduct research for their dissertations. As the highest degree in counseling, the doctorate meets the requirements for research, academic, and leadership roles.

At the accredited institution, online doctoral students qualify for scholarships, federal loans, and other forms of financial aid. Reach out to the program to learn more about the application process and start dates.

University of Southern California at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 8,203

Online Master's Programs: 55

Online Doctoral Programs: 4

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $46,272

Accepts Transfer Credits: Data not available

Average Tuition
In-state
$59,260
Out-of-state
$59,260
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
16%
Students Enrolled
46,287
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
89% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Financing a Doctoral Degree in Counseling

Financial aid can help students lower the cost of a degree. There are several forms of financial aid, including scholarships, grants, fellowships, and work-study programs. Some students qualify for federal student loans, and some students qualify to receive private student loans as part of their program. By doing your research ahead of time, you may find that the colleges you are interested in offer their own scholarships. Find out what kind of financial aid your desired schools may offer.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid

Average Cost of Attending College in California

In California, the cost of attending college varies by institution. For both the public and private sectors, there are some similarities that exist. For more information on attending a public institution, please review the information below.

Public 4-Year School Tuition Rates: California vs. National Average

Key

California
National Average

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The chart has 1 X axis displaying salary types.
The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
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How about attending a private college? Generally, tuition at private colleges is higher. Here is a graph that provides information about attending private colleges in California.

Private 4-Year School Tuition Rates: California vs. National Average

Key

California
National Average

Chart

Bar chart with 5 bars.
The chart has 1 X axis displaying salary types.
The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
End of interactive chart.

Federal Student Loan Information

Are you considering borrowing student loans to pay for your education? Prior to taking out a loan, you should take certain things into consideration.

You can review the data below to determine what students typically borrow.

Undergraduate Federal Loans
Demographic Percent who borrowed Amount borrowed
Total 66.6% $27,400
Female 69.6% $28,100
Male 62.5% $26,500
White, not Hispanic or Latino 66.1% $26,700
Black, not Hispanic or Latino 85.7% $34,800
Hispanic or Latino/a, of any race 67.7% $25,700
Asian, not Hispanic or Latino 43% $22,700
Other or Two or more races, not Hispanic or Latino 70.4% $28,300
Source: NCES

Online vs. On-Campus

Pros and Cons: Online Degrees

Pros

  • Cheaper tuition
  • Flexible, asynchronous classwork
  • No on-campus fees for parking, tech, etc.

Cons

  • Less structure
  • Minimal peer-to-peer interaction
  • Less facetime with professor
  • No access to on-campus amenities

Pros and Cons: On-Campus Degrees

Pros

  • Gym, library, etc. access
  • Smaller class options
  • Face time with peers and professors

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Transportation or housing costs
  • Rigid scheduling
The cost and class size of online and on-campus programs vary. Some advantages of online programs include flexibility, affordability, and convenience. For distance students, the fee structure is typically higher. For many students, there are numerous advantages to attending classes in spite of the disadvantages.

Top Counseling Degree Options Available by State
State Degree Level
California Bachelors, Masters
Florida Bachelors, Masters, phD
Georgia Bachelors, Masters, phD
Illinois Bachelors, Masters, phD
New York Bachelors, Masters, phD
North Carolina Bachelors, Masters, phD
Pennsylvania Bachelors, Masters, phD
Texas Bachelors, Masters, phD
Virginia Bachelors, Masters, phD
Washington Bachelors, Masters, phD

Private vs. Public

Private and public colleges differ primarily in terms of their academic prestige and value. The cost of education at public and private institutions also differs. At public institutions, costs are set by the government and therefore covered by state-funded grants and scholarships. At private institutions, merit scholarships are usually available for those who have achieved high GPAs or SAT scores.

In addition, private colleges tend to feature smaller classes, so students have more opportunities to speak with professors one-on-one and learn what's possible in their chosen field. There are some benefits and drawbacks to attending a private institution as opposed to a public one.

Pros and Cons

Private

  • Unique program offerings
  • Cultural or religious options
  • Local prestige
  • Higher costs
  • Less regulatory oversight

Public

  • Government-issued tuition costs
  • Government funding, benefits, and regulation
  • Oftentimes large classrooms

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do counselors in California make?

The mean annual wage for in-state counselors is $46,940.

What is the demand like for graduates with counseling degrees?

The total number of counselors is projected to change by 8.9% from 2020 to 2030.

How can I study for a doctorate in counseling online?

You can get an online doctorate in counseling. Almost all schools in today's environment provide some form of online education.

How many years does it take to complete a doctorate?

Full-time students typically complete a doctorate in 4-6 years. However, the time it takes for a student to complete a degree varies.

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