Date of Conferral





Counselor Education and Supervision


Geneva Gray


Little is known about the experiences of doctoral students who are active duty military or veterans seeking a degree in counselor education and supervision (CES). The purpose of this research was to positively impact the counseling profession by ensuring adequate representation of military-competent counselors through an exploration of the academic journey of military students. This research sought to highlight military students' perceptions of barriers and contributors to degree completion. Selection criteria for participants involved any United States military personnel classified as active or inactive. These military personnel had to have earned within the past 12 months or were currently enrolled in a counselor education and supervision PhD program at an institution accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. This research adopted a phenomenological hermeneutic theoretical approach to explore the lived experiences of 6 military students on their journey to degree completion in a CES doctoral program. The central research question focused on the lived experiences of military CES students related to their journey towards degree completion. Key results emerged in the form of themes that contributed to degree completion such as helping other veterans/giving back and programmatic fit. Themes that showed prevalent barriers to degree completion included professional identity development, military students and degree completion, environmental factors, and access to military counselors. The implications of this study for social change include supporting academic institutions in reducing the attrition rates of military CES students.