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Child Psychologist Career Information and Education Requirements

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

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If you're interested in a career in child psychology, you will need a doctoral degree, and a license or certification, which may require continuing education for renewal. Child psychologists work in private practice, hospitals, schools and government agencies.

Essential Information

Child psychology involves treating children with a spectrum of issues and disorders. Child psychology professionals might administer tests or conduct research in psychology or child development. They also might engage in individual or group sessions with children. Child psychologists must have a doctoral degree and a license to engage in clinical practice. Some school psychologists can practice with a specialist or master's degree and certification.

Required Education Doctoral degree in psychology
Licensing Licensure or certification required in most states
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 19% (for all psychologists)*
Median Annual Salary (2015) $70,580 (clinical, counseling and school psychologists)*

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

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Child Psychology Career Information

Child psychologists work with minors who have emotional, mental or behavioral issues. Typically, these professionals meet one-on-one with a child, although sometimes the child's family is involved in therapy sessions.

Child psychologists are trained to administer tests that help them evaluate, assess and diagnose children's issues. Some conduct extensive research projects in academic, government or private institutions. Child psychologists coordinate care with parents, educators or social workers. These professionals can be found working in private practices, schools, hospitals and government agencies.

Employment Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected 19% growth in employment for all psychologists for the period of 2014-2024. There is growing demand for school psychologists due to increased sensitivity to child development and mental health.

The BLS indicated that in May 2015, the median salary for clinical, counseling and school psychologists was $70,580, with the lowest paid 10 percent earning $40,920 or less and the highest paid 10 percent making $116,960 or more.

Education Requirements

A Ph.D. is required to work as a child psychologist. Doctoral degree programs might include coursework in assessment and testing, psychopathology, developmental psychology and behavior therapy. All doctoral programs require completion of a dissertation project, a clinical practicum at a professional facility and an internship. Emphasis is placed on research methods and clinical practices. A doctoral degree program in child psychology prepares graduates for state licensure.

Licensing Information

Child psychologists are required to be licensed by the state in which they practice. Licensing requirements vary by state. Common requirements for licensing include a degree from a doctoral program that's been accredited both regionally and by the American Psychology Association (APA).

Applicants must also complete a minimum number of clocked hours of supervised practicum or fieldwork. Additionally, individuals must take and pass the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP). Some states require continuing education courses for license renewal.

A child psychologist works with minors who have mental, emotional or behavioral issues. They can administer tests, conduct research and coordinate care between different agencies. Demand for all psychologists, including those who work with children, is strong, with a predicted 19% increase in job openings through the year 2024.

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