Developmental Psychologist: Salary, Duties and Requirements

Sep 17, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a developmental psychologist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about education, job duties and salary to find out if this is the career for you.

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Psychological and emotional changes, and growth and development that occur throughout our lifespan are the developmental psychologist's area of focus. They monitor and study the transitional phases of human development, typically working as researchers. Licensure requirements differ by state.

Essential Information

Developmental psychologists are interested in the emotional and psychological changes and growth individuals experience over their lifespans. They work in schools, hospitals, clinics, and universities, as well as in private practices. To become a developmental psychologist, one must earn a doctorate in developmental psychology and obtain state licensure.

Required Education Doctorate
Other Requirements State licensure required to work with patients in a counseling or clinical setting
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 14% for all psychologists
Median Annual Salary (2018)* $100,770 for psychologists, all other

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Developmental Psychologist Salary and Employment Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for all psychologists are expected to rise much faster than the average through 2028. This is a faster-than-average rate. High predicted job growth may be due to an increased demand for psychological services. While the BLS doesn't publish information pertaining specifically to developmental psychologists, it does include them in the category of 'psychologists, all other'. In May 2018, the BLS reported that all other psychologists in the 90th percentile or higher earned $127,510 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $41,220 or less per year.

Developmental Psychologist Duties

Developmental psychologists are concerned specifically with the various social, physical, and mental processes that occur in an individual's lifetime, from infancy to old age. Areas of study include aging-related behavior and changes, abnormal developmental changes, and emotional development. Specialization in a specific period, like adolescence, middle age, or childhood, is possible.

Practitioners may study developmental disabilities and conduct research. Their research may help uncover, for instance, methods to help elderly patients remain in their own homes and independent. Applied developmental psychologists take research findings and put them to use in healthcare and human services settings.

Developmental Psychologist Requirements

Education Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the minimum education required to become an independently practicing psychologist is generally a doctoral degree ( Developmental psychology programs at the doctoral level require students to take core courses in developmental theory, statistics, and methodology, as well as social and emotional development. Students may attend seminars in specialized areas.

Some holding a master's degree in the field may work under the supervision of a licensed, doctorate-holding psychologist, according to the Northamerican Association of Masters in Psychology ( Others with a psychology master's degree may work independently using a title other than psychologist, such as psychological associate, psychological examiner, psychological assistant, or psychological practitioner.

Licensure Information

All states require that psychologists who work with patients in a counseling or clinical setting obtain licensure, says the BLS. Licensure may not be required for psychologists working in a university, research lab, or a state or federal agency, in some states.

In addition to completion of an accredited doctoral program, according to the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB), licensure as a psychologist generally requires completion of supervised experience totaling 3,000 hours ( Candidates must also pass an examination such as the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.

Developmental psychologists look at the broad scope of human development focusing on environmental, social, and cognitive factors that influence our lives. Most research and teaching positions as well as clinical practice require a doctorate, although some may find employment with a master's degree.

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