Online programs in adolescent psychology are available at the bachelor's and master's degree levels and as graduate certificates. A bachelor's degree program serves as a springboard for further education in psychology, while a master's degree may be sufficient for someone who wishes to work as a school psychologist. The graduate certificate programs are designed for individuals who hold bachelor's degrees and already work in the profession of family and child services.
Most of these adolescent psychology programs offer online courses, and they may also require internships or other hands-on clinical experience like residencies. Courses may cover psychological and behavioral development in children as well as substance abuse and mental health disorders. Master's degree programs have a strong research component.
In most states, anyone using the title of 'psychologist' must be certified or licensed. Requirements vary, depending on the career chosen. Students should make sure any online education program they are considering is approved by the state licensing board.
Bachelor's Degree in Adolescent Psychology
Studies in adolescent psychology at the bachelor's level prepare graduates for a master's program in child and adolescent psychology. Students learn about unique developmental, psychological, social, physical and cognitive changes in children and adolescents. Students may learn about psychological research, as well as becoming familiar with fundamental concepts in psychology. They hone their critical thinking, communication and sociocultural awareness skills.
Program Information and Requirements
Most online educational programs award a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Psychology concentrating in child and adolescent psychology or development. Just like traditional bachelor's degree programs, online studies take approximately four years to complete. Some schools offer courses both online and on-campus.
Although facilitation tools are school dependent, online courses are usually delivered via a distance-learning computer content delivery system. Questions, guidance and online discussions with peers and faculty are all conducted via e-mail and the Web.
Students must have access to a personal computer and have an Internet service provider (ISP). Students may register and submit an application, along with tuition payments and book orders, online.
Class requirements may include courses in biology, basic psychology, English, humanities and other common bachelor's degree general education credits. Students may be required to maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) and select from several electives to complete their degree program.
Adolescent and Child Psychology
Courses may focus on psychology of children and adolescents, disorders classifications and current treatment methods for disorders. Students also use case studies to research the impact of different approaches on society, individuals and families.
Psychological Development in Children
Students explore child development from conception to adolescence using psychological theories and principles. Cognitive, social and emotional skills, as well as physical and personality development are also areas of concentration.
Adolescent and Child Social Development
Lessons look at the influence of social factors on attitudes, interpersonal attraction, leadership and other behaviors related to child and adolescent psychology. Students explore how children and adolescents interact and develop relationships with peers, parents and caregivers, as well as how they perceive, analyze and respond to different social situations.
Graduate Certificate in Child and Adolescent Psychology
Professionals in the field of psychology may benefit from this certificate program regardless of where they work i.e. nonprofit agencies or private practices. Students develop the skills to help adolescents with issues relating to mental health, as well as problems with alcohol, drugs or relationships.
Program Information and Requirements
Applicants must have a bachelor's degree, along with being familiar with the Internet and possess computer skills. This is a blended program. Courses are available online, and there is an on-campus component.
Certificate program is for students who do not want to earn a degree. It consists of nine credits specializing in adolescent psychology. It generally takes approximately six months to complete. Earned course credits from the certificate program can be used to meet some of the course requirements for a master's degree in the field.
Behavior Disorders and Psychopathology
Students learn the difference between behavioral and psychopathology disorders. They study the different drugs used to treat major disorders.
Students are introduced to the basics of the field of addictions, along with the field's history and its evolution. Students investigate treatments and methods of assessment, as well as how addiction affects a person's life.
Students hone their listening skills, as well as techniques used to conduct an interview. They learn how to handle cultural differences when interviewing.
Master's Degree in Adolescent Psychology
Program is designed to educate students on assessment and treatment of adolescent and child psychological disorders. Up-to-date clinical psychology and counseling techniques tailored to adolescents are the focus of the program, along with necessary research methods and evaluation techniques used in the field. This program may interest social services, education, government or healthcare professionals who want to move into adolescent psychology. Online master's programs may or may not lead to licensure.
Program Information and Requirements
Programs are offered entirely online or as blended programs (online and on-campus components), depending on the institution. A program may have a residency requirement, where students spend a specific period of time on campus. Some program may have a 'virtual residency' where once a term all students are required to be online together for a 1-2 hour class.
Applicants to the program are required to have a bachelor's degree. They need to have Internet technologies and computing skills. Having work experience after completing a bachelor's is preferred. Applicants need to submit an application, fee, resume, essay and transcripts.
Students need a computer with a broadband Internet connection and e-mail capabilities. Institutions specify processor, operating system, browser and memory requirements for Macintosh and PC computers. Some schools may offer students mobile apps and the ability to do some work on an iPad, although a student still needs computer access to submit assignments.
Coursework varies by school, but some of the core psychology courses are crucial to any of the online master's degree programs in adolescent psychology. Specific credit hour requirements may apply to courses in psychology foundations, a research project and the concentration in adolescents and children psychology. Program is generally completed in 1-2 years. Within the child and adolescent concentration, an institution may allow students to choose to focus on juvenile offenders or family systems.
Lifespan of Psychology
This course concentrates on perceptual, cognitive and familial interpersonal process and psychosocial role development from infancy through old age. Students use different views in theory to explore recent research findings and current clinical approaches. Cultural and individual diversity are also a concentration of the class.
Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy
Students explore developmental and therapeutic options used in psychotherapy in children and adolescents. Lessons focus on basic psychotherapy techniques and theory, along with treatment and therapy in relation to the patient's stage of development. Students also learn how to work with schools and parents to achieve successful results.
Child and Adolescent Assessment and Psychopathology
The class covers child psychopathology theories of etiology and diagnosis, consultation and treatment outcomes, cognitive and educational testing, and methods of personality and behavioral rating scales. Other topics studied include age group development and considerations, along with differences related to child and adolescent psychopathology.
A bachelor's degree in psychology specializing in adolescent psychology does not lead to a specific career. Graduates generally continue their education and obtain a master's and perhaps a Ph.D. Graduates with a bachelor's in psychology may seek careers as research assistants, counseling assistant or assistant in a program for drug abuse or alcohol. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), research assistants in the social sciences made a median wage of $42,480 in 2015 (www.bls.gov).
Most master's programs prepare graduates to continue their studies by enrolling in a Ph.D. program. Students interested in finding work at the master's level may take positions as a researcher in judicial, health or education settings or with childcare services or social services agencies.
Continuing Education Information
A master's-level graduate may go on to earn a doctorate in psychology in order to become eligible for the state licensure necessary to work as a psychologist in child and adolescent psychology. The BLS stated that clinical, counseling and school psychologists made a median annual wage of $70,580 in 2015.
For those interested in adolescent psychology education, online programs can be found at the bachelor's, master's, and graduate certificate levels. Applicants should check with their state licensing board to make sure the online program they are considering is approved and can prepare them for licensure.