What are Some Prerequisites to a Ph.D. in Family Counseling?

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Updated August 4, 2020

If you are interested in advancing your career in counseling, you may want to start by reviewing the prerequisites for a Ph.D. in Family Counseling. While it does require more time covering extremely advanced counseling curriculum, earning a doctorate in the field of family therapy can distinguish you as a professional and open up even more opportunities.

Related Resource:10 Most Affordable PhD in Family Counseling Online Programs

The key to qualifying for one of the best Ph.D. in Family Counseling programs is that you need to meet all of the prerequisites that are set by that specific program and the association that accredits it. Since going to an accredited doctorate-level program is a must for credentialing, you should be familiar with what the most respected accrediting agencies in the field require.

Educational Requirements

The very first requirement that must be met to be granted admission to any competitive Doctor of Philosophy program would be having completed an acceptable graduate program. To be eligible to apply for admission into a Ph.D. program majoring in family counseling all applicants must possess a master's degree in counseling or a related program that uses the standard curriculum established by the Commission for the Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education. These graduate-level commission requirements include:

  • Research
  • Theory
  • Clinical Practice
  • Clinical Supervision
  • Cognates and Electives
  • Internship

Applying Without a Master's in Family Therapy

If you possess a degree in a field other than marriage and family therapy there's still a chance that you can gain admittance by completing courses from the program's master curriculum that did not satisfy the requirements. These courses don't have to be completed prior to graduating from a master's program but must be completed prior to starting the doctoral coursework. These students are also strongly encouraged to write a thesis paper.

Grade Requirements

Grade requirements can vary from program to program. Many times, it's dependent on how competitive admission into the Ph.D. program is. Many programs require no less than a 3.25 Grade Point Average for entry. Others may require an even higher GPA because of the supply of applicants they have to choose from.

Recommendation and Essay

Filling out an application involves much more than just providing your previous education information. To complete an application for admission to a Ph.D. program, you will need to pay a fee and provide letters of recommendation from employers or previous professors. A statement of purpose is also required, which includes experiences and visions for the future. Writing samples are required to be granted an interview with faculty in the marriage and family therapy department.

While earning a Doctor of Philosophy isn't necessarily required to earn Marriage and Family Therapy License, it can be used to fulfill requirements when the applicant's master's experience did not. It can also be used to qualify you to supervise other counselors or teach in a college setting. Whatever the reason, earning your Ph.D. in Family Counseling will help you compete for more jobs and represent yourself as a distinguished professional who loves the field of family therapy.

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