Child development psychology is the area that covers the behavioral traits and the mental processes of infants through to adolescence. If you are intrigued and want to understand children and how they function, an associate's degree in child psychology just may be a perfect fit for you! As a child psychologist you will work with a variety of therapy methods to help children and their family members. You may spend time diagnosing learning disabilities, treating learning disabilities, giving educational and IQ tests to children, and working with children and their families to resolve behavioral issues the child may be exhibiting. It is likely that you will spend your time working within a clinic setting, at a daycare center, or at a child development center.
To be adequately prepared to enter the work force as a child development psychologist you will first need to obtain your associate's degree. However, a master’s degree or a doctor of psychology degree will be necessary in order for you to actively practice psychology. You will also need to obtain appropriate licensure for this field of study. Since the requirements for licensure vary from one state to another you will need to check into what is required by the state you reside in. however, it is important to note that regardless of the requirements you cannot practice as a child psychologist without having proper licensure. Your educational training will teach you about theories that are related to children’s growth and development, early social development, multicultural issues, language development, peer relationships, family influences, psychopathology, behavioral traits, and the relationship that exists between biology and behavior.
Upon completion of a child development psychology program you should know how to better understand children and how to help them become well-adjusted and more expressive about their feelings. Ideally you should be capable of interacting successfully with children and their families, improving a child’s management skills, developing treatment plans that specifically address an individual child’s needs, responding to situations that may occur when a child is in a supervised setting, and encouraging students to express their feelings and views. It will be important for you to be well-versed regarding special needs children, nutrition, safety, and health concerns for young children, gender and sexuality, infant and toddler education, and literacy and language education.
Upon completion of your associate's degree program in child development psychology you can seek employment as a licensed professional counselor or as a psychological associate who works under the direction of a doctorate holding candidate. If you complete your doctor of psychology degree program you would also have the option to start your own private psychology practice or to work within a mental health institution. Should you decide to pursue your career by obtaining your degree in child psychology you will be eligible to seek employment as a behavioral analyst, a primary grade teacher, an assistant to a counselor, or a secondary school teacher. If you further your level of education by pursuing your master of science degree will need to earn a satisfactory score on the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and will need to complete course work such as psychology law, developmental science, behavioral analysis, and school counseling. Upon completion of this degree program you will be eligible for employment as a government agency advisor, a professor, a school counselor, or a drug or substance abuse counselor. If you decide to work on your doctor of psychology degree you will take classes that focus on intervention, depression, developmental science, attention disorders, patient assessment, and family psychology. This degree level will make it possible for you to work as a counselor supervisor, a private practice psychologist, or a consultant for child study research.