Child psychologists assist children in developing emotionally, cognitively, socially and on a behavioral level. Working with children takes a special type of individual who enjoys both the rewards and challenges inherent in working with kids. Assisting children as a child psychologist can allow you to make a difference in the lives of kids and help them grow up to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted adults.
In 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics listed the median salary of a child psychologist as $69,280. To work as a child psychologist, a master’s degree is the minimum amount of education required; however, a wider range of opportunities will be available to those with a doctorate degree. A trained, qualified child psychologist can put their skills to use in a wide variety of settings and arenas, including:
Child psychologists in private practice generally see children on a one on one basis and/or with one or both parents present. They assist children in processing and healing emotional issues that can stem from divorce, bullying at school, or other social, cognitive and developmental challenges. They may consider keeping evening and weekend hours, so children are able to see them outside of the school day.
School psychologists work within the school system alongside teachers, administrators, guidance counselors and families. They help students succeed both emotionally and socially within the academic setting. A school psychologist may provide counseling, diagnose learning issues, create behavioral interventions and offer insights about how to foster a more positive learning environment in the school. A specialty degree and internship are likely prerequisites for this position.
Social workers assist families, and many great social workers specialize in working with children. A child psychology degree can be indispensable in this profession. Many children in the system face emotional and behavior problems, and a social worker can assist in connecting them with the resources they need to heal and thrive. Social workers help to protect and advocate for their young and vulnerable clients when they need it most.
Art therapists facilitate clients’ emotional processing and healing using art as an expressive medium. In this field, art is combined with psychotherapy principles to enhance the mental health and well-being of clients. Art therapy can assist children in processing trauma as well as overcoming developmental challenges. Art therapy credentials along with a master’s or doctorate degree will likely be required.
A developmental psychologist specializes in studying human growth and development. Some may focus on aging and lifespan, while others study the development processes of children. They conduct research to augment their studies related to how language, reasoning, and the personality develops based upon family life, school and other influences. A developmental psychologist with a child psychology degree can assist children in overcoming developmental disabilities or delays.
Clearly, there are a number of compelling options available to those with a child psychology degree. No matter which path you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to make a positive impact on children that can last a lifetime.