Infant Development Psychologist: Job Description and Requirements

Infant development psychologists require significant formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

It is recommended that aspiring infant development psychologists earn a doctoral degree in psychology, but this is not a requirement, since they generally do not work in a clinical environment. A master's degree in psychology might be sufficient for work in a research capacity, while individuals with just a bachelor's degree may become a consultant.

Essential Information

An infant development psychologist studies changes in behavior and development changes in infants and young children, usually between birth to age 2. These individuals typically study developmental and social changes for research purposes to help parents and policy-makers raise healthy children. They can work in many settings, including childcare centers, universities and at companies that develop products for babies. A doctoral degree is standard, but positions are available with a master's degree. Additionally, depending on the work conducted, individuals may need to meet licensing requirements.

Required Education Doctoral degree in psychology is recommended
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 19% for all types of psychologists
Median Salary (2015)* $94,590 for psychologists, all other

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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Job Description of an Infant Development Psychologist

An infant grows at a rapid rate, with a large amount of change happening in the first couple of years of life. An infant developmental psychologist uses scientific research methods to describe and calculate these changes in a growing baby. Several categories of change are important to infant development psychologists, including emotions, morals and language development, universal traits, and abnormalities in development. As information is discovered by researching developmental psychologists, it is applied to existing information in the field and used to make choices in infant care and parent education.

Some developmental psychologists work in applied psychology instead of the research and teaching field. Whether they work for childcare centers or toy companies, their goal, just like researching psychologists, is fostering healthy development. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), most developmental psychology has traditionally been centered around understanding childhood development (

Psychologists in general are expected to see 19% job growth from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As of 2015, the median annual wage among this category of psychologists was $94,590.

Infant Development Psychologist Requirements

As with most other disciplines in psychology, a doctoral degree in psychology is required for researching and teaching in infant developmental psychology. Those holding a master's degree in psychology are eligible to assist in research, while those with either a master's or bachelor's in psychology may be able to work in a consulting capacity. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that those who hold only master's degrees will face competition for jobs because there are few psychology jobs that only require a master's degree (

Since infant development psychologists typically do not work in a counseling or clinical setting, they are not bound by the same licensing regulations as practicing clinical psychologists. However, if they offer any type of patient care, they must follow the licensing regulations of the state in which they practice.

Infant development psychologists typically study just the first two years of a child's life, concentrating on areas such as emotional development, language skills, and abnormalities. A doctoral degree is required to conduct research and is needed for most job opportunities.

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