What Can You Do With a Master's in Developmental Psychology?

Oct 01, 2019

Career Options for a Master's Degree in Developmental Psychology

Master's degree programs in developmental psychology provide individuals with an understanding of psychological development in different age ranges and social groups. While these degrees are generally designed for individuals who want to matriculate to a doctoral program, graduates can also be prepared for employment in various positions. For clinical and counseling careers, licensure after earning a degree is required.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Psychologist $79,010 14%
Postsecondary Psychology Teacher $76,710 12%
Career Counselor $56,310 (for all school and career counselors) 8% (for all school and career counselors)
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, or Mental Health Counselor $44,630 22%
Rehabilitation Counselor $35,630 10%
Marriage and Family Therapist $50,090 22%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Master's Degree in Developmental Psychology Jobs


Although most practicing psychologists need a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology or a Doctor of Psychology, a master's degree in developmental psychology could be a stepping stone to one of these doctoral programs. Psychologists can work with different groups or individuals depending on their position. For example, developmental psychologists might observe children and adolescents to study their cognitive and emotional development or work with older adults.

Postsecondary Teacher

Community colleges typically require entry-level educators to hold at least a master's degree, though some positions teaching the social sciences might require a doctorate. Educators not only grade and advise students but they usually are also responsible for developing course structure and lessons. Psychology teachers may be responsible for providing instruction of psychology courses, counseling students, as well as conducting research. They could use a developmental psychology master's degree to search out entry-level teaching positions or prepare for a related doctoral degree and a career in academia.

Career Counselor

Career counselors assist individuals with development of their careers. They might help clients explore their interests, make important career decisions, or resolve problems in the workplace. Although some employers prefer that career counselors have a degree in counseling, a master's degree in developmental psychology could provide individuals with extensive knowledge of social functioning, cognitive development, and personality, enabling them to recognize problems that their clients may have and make suggestions for solving them.

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, or Mental Health Counselor

Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors help people who suffer from addiction as well as behavioral and mental health issues. Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors may work in group or individual counseling settings to help patients cope with problems and lead clean, productive lives. Mental health counselors may help groups, families, individuals, and couples with various conditions, such as suicidal impulses and anxiety. These positions have varying requirements, ranging from a bachelor's to a master's degree, but all could utilize the knowledge of normal and abnormal patient behaviors learned within a developmental psychology master's degree program.

Rehabilitation Counselor

Rehabilitation counselors provide services for patients with mental, emotional, developmental, and physical disabilities. These counselors provide both group and individual counseling, and provide referrals when necessary. Rehabilitation counselors assess patients' abilities and interest, create a plan of treatment, and assist patients with becoming independent. These counselors typically need a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling or a related field, such as psychology, to ensure they can provide knowledgeable and effective services.

Marriage and Family Therapist

Marriage and family therapists assist individuals, couples, and families with issues that may exist in their relationships. These therapists promote openness with their clients, encouraging them to be honest about their emotions, in order to detect and address problems. Marriage and family therapists take a family-centered approach to counseling and seek to improve both familial relationships as well as individual members' emotional health. A master's degree in marriage and family therapy or psychology is required for these positions and provides individuals with a comprehensive understanding of psychological topics and treatment methods.

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