Date of Conferral





Counselor Education and Supervision


Walter Frazier


Many researchers have found that differences exist in counselors' professional identity (PI) associated with gender, learning opportunities, and specialty area. However, researchers have not focused on the impact of counselors' type of education program (online vs traditional) to PI. The purpose of this study was to address this gap and determine if differences exist in PI across program types for novice counselors. The framework for this study was built around the concept of PI, defined as including knowledge, expertise, professional roles, attitudes, behaviors, and interactions. The research question was designed to examine the differences in PIs across traditional and online education settings. A convenience sample of 140 new graduate participants was obtained for this cross-sectional survey study-113 from traditional programs and 27 from online programs. PI of participants was measured using the Professional Identity Scale in Counseling (PISC) and data were analyzed using an analysis of covariance with the covariates of gender and specialty area. The results did not show a significant difference in PI between program types, however, the means of the PISC showed that the group of online graduates scored slightly higher. While not statistically significant, the findings of the study contribute to positive social change by showing that no differences exist across the PI development of novice counselors based on program type. Therefore, counselor educators can continue to practice in ways that foster the development of students based on their education program type. Counselor education that fosters the development of student PI contributes to the community as a whole by producing individuals who are competent and knowledgeable for professional practice.