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Master’s Degree Programs in Child Psychology Overview

Majors Overview January 18, 2016

This article talks about master’s degree programs in child psychology and their educational requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master’s Programs in Child Psychology

Enrollees in master’s degree programs in child psychology can expect to become adept at applying contemporary research methodologies and psychological knowledge to children in a variety of developmental phases. An area of specialization can typically be chosen by students, including personality, learning, linguistics or cognitive neuroscience. Research predominates graduate degree programs in this field, and hands-on clinical experiences are also in the program. In most states, licensure as a clinical psychologist is only given to doctoral degree holders.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree, preferably in psychology, in addition to submitting letters of recommendation, standardized test scores, a personal statement, and a resume. Participation in research during their undergraduate education would also prove useful to incoming students.


Program coursework is a combination of didactic learning and hands-on experiences. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Research methodologies
•Parent-child relationships
•Sensory Perception
•Learning methods and disabilities
•Social development
•Applied statistics

Career Choices

Graduates may seek careers as mental health counselors or school psychologists.

Job and Wage Outlook

Psychologists are expected to see a faster-than-average 19% job growth over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The growth is due to an increased demand for psychology professionals in mental health centers, schools, and hospitals. State licensure is compulsory for professionals who wish to practice. In May 2014, clinical, counseling and school psychologists brought in an average annual wage of $74,030 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

License renewal in many states can be accomplished only through continuing education. These professionals may obtain national licensure offered through the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) or the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Those seeking careers as teachers or clinical psychologists should consider enrolling in Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in Psychology. Students can complete most Ph.D. programs within 5-6 years; coursework in doctorate programs incorporates grading of undergraduate tests and assignments, writing a dissertation on a specialized topic and passage of a comprehensive exam.

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