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Working as a counseling psychologist will generally involve obtaining a doctoral level degree. This means a degree such as a PhD in counseling or a PsyD or EdD will be necessary. Students who earn a PhD in counseling typically spend 4-5 years doing postgraduate work to achieve their degree. The coursework during this time should include core courses related to the biological, cognitive, social bases of behavior, individual differences, history and methods of psychology.
In addition to these core courses there will be coursework in specific areas of counseling such as community psychology, substance abuse and trauma, adolescent psychology or spirituality. The student will select these courses based on career aspirations. Some PhD in counseling degree programs may also require students to participate in a full time internship for one year prior to earning a degree. This type of training gives the student practical, hands on experience which will be very beneficial after the degree is obtained. The completion of a psychology related dissertation and research projects will also likely be required to obtain a PhD in counseling.