What are Ed.D Programs in Educational Psychology and Counseling?
Ed.D. programs in Educational Psychology, Counseling, Counselor Education, and related fields are doctoral-level degrees that explore the intersection of psychology & education. These types of doctorates are geared toward working professionals who already hold a master’s degree or Ed.S. and have prior experience in their field.
- Educational Psychology: Doctoral students may seek to deepen their knowledge of cognitive, social, and emotional processes in order to improve how children and adults learn.
- School Psychology: Doctoral students may wish to explore new breakthroughs in the K-12 field.
- Counseling: Doctoral students may want to build on their existing counseling experience to improve current practices & influence the next generation of counselors.
As the title suggests, Ed.D. programs are always administered by a School or College of Education.
Types of Educational Psychology and Counseling Ed.D. Programs
Ed.D. in Educational Psychology & Related Fields
Ed.D. programs in Education Psychology are often aimed at mid- to senior-level professionals who are currently involved in K-20 education or similar fields.
- Some Colleges of Education choose to offer Educational Psychology as a concentration within an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership (e.g. USC Rossier), Curriculum & Instruction (e.g. La Sierra University), or Learning & Teaching (e.g. Hofstra University).
- The Chicago School of Psychology even has an entire doctorate devoted to the intersection of Educational Psychology & Technology.
- However, there are alternatives. Aspen University uses its doctorate to focus on the broader topic of Organizational Psychology.
Ed.D. in School Psychology
It’s important to note that Ed.D. programs in School Psychology are specifically targeted at current or aspiring school psychologists. To that end, some education doctorates in school psychology will help prepare you for state certification or endorsements.
Ed.D. in Counseling & Related Fields
Ed.D programs with “Counseling” in the title are usually tailored toward those with experience—or a significant interest—in counseling, counseling education, or counseling leadership. Ed.D. programs in Counseling come in all kinds of professional flavors, including dedicated programs in Counselor Education & Supervision.
- You’ll find doctorates in education that focus on marriage, family & pastoral care counseling (e.g. Liberty University), counseling & rural education (e.g. UWA), and mental health counseling (e.g. UR).
- Universities may also offer counseling as a concentration within a major such as School Improvement (e.g. UWG) or Educational Leadership (e.g. UHCL).
Licensure & Accreditation for Ed.D. Programs in Educational Psychology or Counseling
All programs in our listings hold regional accreditation. In addition, there are two specialist organizations that accredit or approve Ed.D. programs in psychology & counseling:
- National Association of School Psychologists (NASP): The NASP grants approval to School Psychology programs as part of the CAEP educator preparation provider accreditation process. Approval can be given at the Specialist Level (SL) or Doctoral Level (DL). View a list of NASP-Approved Programs in School Psychology.
- Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP): The CACREP accredits doctoral level programs in counseling education. View a list of CACREP-Accredited Ph.D. & Ed.D. Programs in Counselor Education & Supervision.
You’ll notice that the majority of Ed.D. programs in our listings do not currently hold NASP or CACREP approval/accreditation. So it can be difficult to assess the relative necessity of accreditation at the Ed.D. level.
- If you intend to work in a position that requires licensure, and NASP or CACREP accreditation is required under your state’s licensure requirements, it stands to reason that accreditation is vital.
- If you’re already licensed—or don’t need licensure for the work you intend to do—it becomes less important.
Note: The American Psychological Association (APA) does not accredit Ed.D. programs in Counseling or Educational Psychology. It’s only concerned with accrediting Ph.D. or Psy.D. programs. If you’re interested in those options, check the APA-Accredited Program List.
National Certification & State Licensure
Ed.D. in Educational Psychology & Related Fields
Ed.D. programs in Educational Psychology do not lead to state licensure as a K-12 administrator (e.g. Superintendent, Principal, etc.). Colleges of Education will expect you to have your licensure sorted before you apply.
- If you need this kind of license, choose your home state in our Menu Bar.
- Each State page contains a section devoted to state-approved Ed.D. programs for administrative licensure.
Ed.D. in School Psychology
Check the Admissions section. Although some schools will expect you to hold a Professional Educator License as a School Psychologist before you apply for an Ed.D. (e.g. Loyola University Chicago), there are doctoral programs that can help with credentials. For example:
- La Sierra University offers Ed.D. in School Psychology electives that lead to state licensure through the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) and national certification through the Behavioral Analyst Certification Board (BACB).
- And even Loyola prepares Ed.D. graduates for a Director of Special Education endorsement or LPC/LCPC certification.
Ed.D. in Counseling & Related Fields
Check the Admissions section. A number of universities will expect Ed.D. in Counseling applicants to be licensed or license-eligible in counseling or a related field. However, there are exceptions. For example:
- UR’s Ed.D in Mental Health Counseling & Supervision CA5 prepares graduates for NYS Certification in Mental Health Counseling licensure.
- AIC’s Ed.D. in Professional Counseling and Supervision prepares practitioners for national certification as a professional counselor, state licensure as a clinical mental health counselor, and/or national certification as an Approved Counselor Supervisor.
Ed.D. vs. Ph.D. in Counseling or Educational Psychology
Anyone interested in counseling, learning development, or educational psychology has a choice between the Ph.D. and the Ed.D. Both are research-focused doctorates that include high-level coursework in theory & practice and large-scale projects (e.g. dissertation). Here’s what makes them different:
- Ed.D. Programs: Ed.D. programs deal with applied research & real-world applications—students are expected to tackle complex problems of practice during their course of their studies. That makes Ed.D. programs in Educational Psychology popular among K-20 professionals and folks in educational leadership roles. In a similar manner, graduates of Ed.D. programs in Counseling or Counselor Education often end up pursuing hands-on leadership opportunities, especially in areas that intersect with professional training or education.
- Ph.D. Programs: Ph.D. programs in Educational Psychology, School Psychology, or Counseling will focus heavily on original research—Ph.D. students are expected to make unique advances in their field. If you’re thinking of applying for academic positions in universities & higher education settings, or research positions in government agencies & educational organizations, the Ph.D. is probably going to be your best bet. For certain jobs, you may also prefer to have an APA-accredited doctorate on your résumé (e.g. counseling work that involves clinical research).
As always, we recommend you talk to recent Ed.D. and Ph.D. alumni before you make your decision. Job requirements often change and expectations shift within fields. If you do commit to a Ph.D., be aware that it will usually take longer than an Ed.D. and may require full-time study.
Note: If you are interested in becoming a licensed clinical psychologist, you need to be looking at APA-accredited Ph.D. or Psy.D. programs in Clinical Psychology. Ed.D. programs do not deal with this subject.
Earning an Ed.D. in Counseling or Educational Psychology
Counseling & Educational Psychology Prerequisites
Ed.D. candidates are expected to have a master’s degree. A relevant Ed.S. will usually grant you advanced placement.
- Ed.D. in Educational Psychology & Related Fields: Schools will often ask for a master’s degree in education, psychology, or a closely related field. School Psychology applicants who haven’t graduated from an NASP-approved Specialist Level program may have to demonstrate that they have similar foundational coursework to students who did.
- Ed.D. in Counseling & Related Fields: Schools will often ask for a master’s degree in counseling or counseling-related field (e.g. psychology, counseling psychology, clinical social work, mental health counseling, community counseling, marriage and family therapy, school psychology, school counseling, or school social work). In some cases, the university will ask that your master’s degree be CACREP-accredited or have equivalent standards.
Some programs may also require a minimum GPA (e.g. 3.0), GRE scores, an admissions essay, letters of recommendation, a résumé, and/or work experience (e.g. 2-3 years). A few programs, such as Loyola University Chicago’s Ed.D. in School Psychology, specifically require that applicants be licensed in their field. Counseling programs may specify that you be licensed or license-eligible.
Counseling & Educational Psychology Coursework
- Ed.D. in Educational Psychology & Related Fields: The curriculum typically blends elements from an educational leadership program with relevant psychology coursework (e.g. Beliefs About Knowledge and Learning, Human Lifespan Development, Group Dynamics, Theories & Practice in Educational Psychology, etc.). As you might expect, doctorates in School Psychology will contain advanced coursework in School Psychological Services and Counseling.
- Ed.D. in Counseling & Related Fields: Coursework is often a mix of psychology subjects (e.g. Advanced Human Growth and Development, Social Bases of Behavior, Culture & Race, etc.), advanced counseling credits (e.g. Effective Interventions, Clinical Mental Health, Counselor Supervision, etc.), and clinical work/practicums. Ed.D. programs in Counseling and Supervision may also include leadership courses (e.g. Ethical Leadership, Advanced Appraisals, etc.).
Ed.D. programs in these fields tend to be practical, not academic. Sure, there are core courses in areas such as quantitative & qualitative research and research design, but the focus is usually vocational. Universities want to help you apply your coursework to your current situation.
Counseling & Educational Psychology Internship and Practicums
- Ed.D. in Educational Psychology & Related Fields: Unless you’ve chosen a concentration or electives that deal with hands-on work (e.g. counseling), Ed.D. programs in Educational Psychology may not include practicums. Having said that, you may still be expected to gather data and implement projects in your workplace. The one major exception to the rule is Ed.D. programs in School Psychology—these almost always have “on-the-ground” components such as internships & field practice.
- Ed.D. in Counseling & Related Fields: Because of the clinical nature of the field, Ed.D. programs in Counseling contain internships, practicums, or fieldwork requirements. For example, TSU’s Ed.D. in Counseling includes a 600-hour counseling internship in an appropriate clinical setting. Boston University’s Ed.D. in Counseling Psychology has a clinical core of 20-22 credits that includes 2-semester practicums and a separate internship.
Counseling & Educational Psychology Dissertation
All Ed.D. programs—regardless of the subject—are going to contain a research-based dissertation, Dissertation in Practice (DiP), or capstone project. For example, students in LaSierra University’s Ed.D. in Educational Psychology submit a portfolio based on fieldwork in lieu of a traditional dissertation. We explore the differences between these options in our guide to No Dissertation Ed.D. Programs.
Online Ed.D. in Educational Psychology and Counseling Programs
Are Ed.D. Programs in Educational Psychology and Counseling Offered Online?
Yes. You’ll see an “Offered Online” marker under all relevant programs in our listings. Some of them are in traditional subjects, like USC’s Online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership – Educational Psychology. Some are highly unusual, like the Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Online Ed.D. in Educational Psychology and Technology and its focus on cognitive science and human-computer interaction.
Are Online Ed.D. Programs CACREP- or NASP-Accredited?
- CACREP: We didn’t find any online counseling programs in our listings that were CACREP-accredited, but it’s always good to double-check! View a complete list of CACREP-Accredited Ph.D. & Ed.D. Programs in Counselor Education & Supervision.
- NASP: There are NASP-approved Ed.D. programs in our listings (e.g. Loyola University Chicago), but none of them are available online at the present time. View a complete list of NASP-Approved Doctoral Programs in School Psychology.
Note: It is worth reiterating that no Ed.D. programs in Educational Psychology or Counseling (online or otherwise) hold APA accreditation. The APA only accredits psychology & counseling doctorates that use the Psy.D. or Ph.D. designation.
Do Online Ed.D. in Educational Psychology and Counseling Programs Contain Residency Requirements?
Yes. To date, every Online Ed.D. program in Educational Psychology or Counseling in our listings requires some visits to campus. But that doesn’t mean the residencies are always lengthy. For example:
- Students in the Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Online Ed.D. in Educational Psychology and Technology spend a grand total of 7 days on campus over the course of two 3-4 day residencies. The first residency covers a wide variety of relevant cutting-edge issues in a mini-seminar format; the second consists of a comprehensive exam.
- USC’s Online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership – Educational Psychology contains an initial on-campus immersion/orientation experience on the USC University Park Campus.
Educational Psychology and Counseling Careers
Ed.D. in Educational Psychology and Counseling Jobs
Graduates of an Ed.D in Educational Psychology might pursue job titles such as:
- University Faculty in Education
- K-20 Administrator (e.g. Principal, Dean, etc.)
- Curriculum & Instruction Specialist
- Educational Technology Specialist
- School District Administrator
- Professional Development Provider
- Education Analyst in State and National-Level Agencies
- Education Consultant
- Research Associate in Education
Graduates of an Ed.D. in School Psychology qualify for jobs such as:
- School Psychologist
Graduates of an Ed.D. in Counseling or Counselor Education with appropriate licensure qualifications seek positions such as:
- University Faculty in Counseling
- Clinical Services Director
- Approved Counselor Supervisor
- Administrator in Counseling Practice
- Mental Health Administrator
- Research Associate in Counseling-Related Fields (e.g. Public Health)
- Addiction Counselor
- Clinical Mental Health Counselor
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) ranks Psychologists and School and Career Counselors among the fastest-growing occupations in the country, with 14% and 13% growth projected, respectively, over the 2016-2026 period. But for licensed counselors who choose to work in private practice, these numbers are dwarfed by the anticipated 23% growth over the 2016-2026 period in the category of Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors.
Ed.D. in Educational Psychology and Counseling Salaries
Your salary bump with an Ed.D. will depend on your job title, location, and your employer’s policy on educational qualifications. You can get a broad sense of the territory by examining the BLS’s Occupational Employment Statistics. The Bureau provides median annual wage data & state wage maps for a number of relevant jobs, including:
- Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists
- Kindergarten through Secondary Education Administrators
- Postsecondary Education Teachers
- Postsecondary Education Administrators
In addition, salary sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and Payscale will help you get a gauge on salary numbers for specific roles.
Is an Ed.D. in Educational Psychology or Counseling Worth It?
- If you wish to bring psychology to bear on administrative, curriculum-related, or technology-related roles in education—yes.
- If you’re already a licensed psychologist or counselor, and wish to expand your career horizons—yes.
- If you intend to become a licensed counselor (e.g. Clinical Mental Health Counselor), and the Ed.D. program satisfies licensure requirements in your state—yes.
If you’re interested in working as a school psychologist or counselor in a school setting, bear in mind that you must meet the specific licensure requirements of your state. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the American Counseling Association (ACA) have prepared useful reports addressing licensure requirements in each state.
Ed.D. in Educational Psychology and Counseling Resources
- APA Division 15: Although the APA does not accredit Ed.D. programs, the Educational Psychology division of the American Psychological Association is the gold standard for academic research and networking.
- American Counseling Association (ACA): The ACA offers membership benefits, career development, continuing education, a magazine, a journal, conferences, public policy advocacy, and other related benefits for people who practice counseling as a profession in every U.S. context, including educational institutions.
- American School Counselor Association (ASCA): The leading professional organization for U.S.-based school counselors, the ASCA promotes public policy initiatives, helps school counselors network and further develop their knowledge base, and publishes a magazine and volumes summarizing the latest research in the field.
- International Journal of Educational Psychology (IJEP): IJEP covers educational psychology from an international and interdisciplinary point of view. It’s a peer-reviewed open-access journal, with articles available online and at no cost.
- National Association of School Psychologists (NASP): In addition to approving and accrediting School Psychology programs, the NASP offers member benefits, a podcast, a speaker’s bureau, and other features useful to those working in the industry.