Child Psychology Degrees by Degree Program Level

Apr 24, 2020

Essential Information

Child psychology analyzes the mental processes and behavioral traits of infants and adolescents. Those interested in this field can pursue related bachelor's, master's or doctoral degrees. Bachelor's students receive a foundational education in child development, behavior modification, cognition, clinical research methods, family relations and child disorders over 60 credit hours. Applicants must have a high school diploma or its General Education Development (GED) equivalent, letters of recommendation and acceptable Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Testing (ACT) scores. The master's path is flexible, as coursework is designed around a pupil's specialty. Curriculum includes an internship and lectures on advanced counseling approaches and behavioral analysis. A bachelor's degree and appropriate Graduate Records Exam (GRE) scores are necessary for admission consideration. Doctoral studies focus more on theory versus practice and require the completion of an apprenticeship with a professor. Prospective enrollees must have a bachelor's or master's degree, letters of recommendation and high standardized test scores.

Bachelor of Science in Child Psychology

A bachelor's degree program in child psychology provides a solid foundation for a career working with school-aged children in a teaching or counseling capacity. Students learn concepts of child growth and development as well as clinical research methods. Common issues with behavior, family relations and child-specific disorders are discussed. Skills learned in this program may be applied by those who wish to directly treat psychological disorders or by those more interested in analyzing human behavior. Students must complete approximately 60 credit-hours in core courses to earn a Bachelor of Science in Child Psychology. Bachelor's coursework involves in-depth study of cognitive and emotional growth. Key subjects are:

  • Introduction to psychology
  • Personality development
  • Cognitive processes
  • Attitude and social behavior

Master of Science in Child Psychology

A Master of Science in Child Psychology affords graduate students the opportunity to gain knowledge and training through courses tailored to their specialty area. Programs may include a graduate-level internship. Those who complete the program are prepared for advanced careers working with children. Preparing students for counseling positions, master's-level classes are progressive. Core subjects include:

  • Developmental science
  • School counseling
  • Psychology law

Doctor of Philosophy in Child Psychology

A Doctor of Philosophy in Child Psychology (Ph.D.) is the highest degree level available in the field. Coursework focuses on theory as opposed to practice; this may be particularly relevant to roles in research and academia. Earning this degree may also be beneficial for those interested in starting their own practice. Many institutions require students to complete an apprenticeship with a professor as part of the curriculum. Doctoral classes give students an understanding how to approach and treat mental health and emotional issues, addressing topics like:

  • Developmental science
  • Family psychology
  • Attention disorders
  • Depression
  • Patient assessment and intervention

Popular Career Options

Graduates are qualified for a number of positions in the field. Some individuals work as behavioral analysts and counselor assistants. Master's degree holders often find employment as school and substance abuse counselors. Popular job titles for Ph.D. holders are:

  • Private practice psychologist
  • Counselor supervisor
  • Consultant for child study research

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for clinical, counseling and school psychologists is predicted to grow at a rate of 15% over 2018-2028, with a median salary of $78,200 as of May 2019.

There are many requirements necessary for those interested in child psychology degree programs. The level of the child psychology degree obtained will dictate the type of job available.

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