How to Become a Child Psychologist

Those who want to become a child psychologist must first complete an accredited psychology degree program. Children, like adults, may need the assistance of a clinical psychologist for treatment of psychological problems; in this field of psychology, individuals provide assistance to children, specifically in the areas of social and mental development. Child psychologists have many potential job opportunities. They may be hired by colleges or universities to teach and perform research. These individuals are also in high demand by hospitals and private practices. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the need for child psychologists will gradually increase at least through 2014.

What degree is required to become a child psychologist?

Child psychologists must obtain specific psychology degree requirements before they may be licensed to practice, and in most cases, it is necessary for the individual to obtain a doctorate degree in psychology. The licensure requirements vary from state to state. However, most states will require that someone pursuing the career of child psychologist must not only complete their doctorate in psychology, but also between one and two years of work experience and an approved internship. Many states will also require child psychologists to participate in continuing education in order to renew their license.

The American Psychological Association reports that nearly 75% of all doctorate in psychology degrees are Ph.D.’s, however, the Psy.D. is becoming more popular for those individuals who are more interested in pursuing a professional practice rather than going into a research career.

How long does it take to become a child psychologist?

The overall time frame that is needed to become a child psychologist will depend primarily on whether a student opts to attend their degree program on a full-time or a part-time basis. Typically, most doctoral psychology programs take an average of four to seven years by the time that all educational requirements are complete. There may also be an additional period of time that must be spent for fulfilling clinical and/or internship requirements. Many online psychology programs may help in more quickly fulfilling a student’s degree requirements for becoming a child psychologist.

Course work in child psychology may also include the academic study of pharmacology. Most programs will require students to perform specific types of research on an issue in the field, such as economic or biological factors that affect child development.

What is a child psychologist’s salary?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that in May 2010, the median annual pay for all psychologists was $68,640. This, however, is just an average and pay can vary a great deal depending upon one’s specific industry focus as well as the demographic area in which they work. For example, those who are considered to be in the top 10% of the field in child psychology can earn in excess of $100,000 per year. However, in most cases, child psychologists typically earn between $64,000 and $85,000 per year. Pay is generally higher in the developmental area of this branch of psychology.