Master's degree programs in child psychology prepare students to apply contemporary psychological knowledge and research methodologies to issues concerning children in various developmental phases. In many programs, students can choose an area of specialization, such as learning, personality, cognitive neuroscience or linguistics. Research is a major part of graduate degree programs in this field, and some programs require students to gain firsthand clinical experience prior to graduation. In most states, a doctoral degree is required in order to obtain licensure as a clinical psychologist.
To apply for one of these programs, students need a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field and may also be required to submit standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, a resume and a personal statement. Many successful applicants have also conducted research as undergraduates.
Masters Program in Child Psychology
In master's degree programs in child psychology, theoretical coursework is integrated with hands-on learning. Here are some classes that might be offered:
- Learning methods and disabilities
- Sensory perception
- Parent-child relationships
- Research methodologies
- Applied statistics
- Social development
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Master's degree holders may find work as school psychologists or mental health counselors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the employment rate for psychologists will increase by 19% between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than the national average. As of May 2015, the median annual pay for psychologists was $72,580.
Continuing Education Information
Professional psychologists engaged in school or clinical practice typically must be licensed by the state, and many states require psychologists to periodically take continuing education courses to renew their licenses. National licensure may be obtained through the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) or the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).
Doctoral (Ph.D.) programs in psychology are available for individuals interested in teaching college-level courses or becoming clinical psychologists. Most Ph.D. programs take five to six years to complete and involve both teaching and research.
In summary, master's degrees in child psychology offer theoretical, research and clinical training that prepare students for professional positions or continuing educational opportunities in the field.