Child psychologists explore factors that affect behavioral development and learning patterns in youth of all ages. To work as a practicing child psychologist, you'll need to possess a master's degree, but a bachelor's enables you to pursue fulfilling career opportunities as well. This page offers an overview of bachelor's child psychology programs and potential careers for graduates.
Child psychologists examine the social, emotional, cognitive, and language development in children and adolescents. At its heart, the field addresses psychological needs and offers solutions to the array of problems children often face, such as cognitive deficits, emotional and developmental issues, trauma and loss, mental disorders, and stress. Psychologists also study the social contexts that influence child development, such as family dynamics, school, and communities.
In practice, child psychology involves the study, evaluation, and treatment of biological and psychological issues, as well as research into how early experiences affect one's later life. Psychologists take a keen interest in the various factors that affect children's lives, such as school, bullying, parenting, social media use, and social pressure. Child psychology majors commonly find employment in social work, child services, education, and healthcare. Given the nature of the work, child psychologists may also consult with businesses and other organizations that serve children.
The best child psychology online programs equip you with a versatile skill set that can lead you to professions outside of psychology, such as social services or education. This section offers an overview of the common competencies stressed in child psychology programs, along with potential jobs for graduates.
A child psychology program builds comprehensive knowledge both in general psychology and child psychology principles. Most programs offer a core that covers major topics such as human development, research methods, the history of psychology, and introductions to subfields (e.g., abnormal, social, and physiological psychology). Specialized topics include child development, psychology of learning, pediatric neuropsychology, applied behavior analysis, and preferred behavior enhancement. Some programs also offer courses exclusively in the abovementioned subfields.
Through academic coursework and experiential learning activities, a child psychology program builds its students' communication, observation, evaluation, and problem-solving skills. Graduates will use these skills to work directly with children, and to organize and manage mental health programs and other initiatives.
Child psychology jobs can be emotionally taxing, particularly when working with children who have undergone trauma or anxiety. To this end, those who anticipate working in this field should exhibit trustworthiness, empathy, and patience.
While a child psychology bachelor's won't allow you to serve as a dedicated child psychologist, you can still find rewarding work in schools, social services agencies, and community organizations. Gaining hands-on experience serves as valuable step in your professional development process and can make you more competitive when applying to graduate programs.
An online bachelor's in child psychology degree prepares you to work in education, social services, mental healthcare, and the private sector. The list below outlines common career options and average salaries for child psychology graduates.
Annual Median Salary: $47,980
Social workers help clients navigate social and family issues. Predictably, child psychology majors most commonly work with children.
Annual Median Salary: $56,900
Instructing young students in math and reading, elementary school teachers help students develop foundational skills, such as communication and problem-solving.
Annual Median Salary: $58,980
These teachers tailor curriculum and teaching strategies to meet different student needs. They may also teach basic skills such as communication and literacy.
Annual Median Salary: $64,100
At a higher level, social workers may move into community management positions as organizers and administrators. Child psychology graduates often manage organizations that serve children.
Annual Median Salary: $33,120
Social services assistants support families and children in social work and education. They typically work alongside other social workers to help clients and arrange for care.
Annual Median Salary: $34,000
These specialists develop lessons plans and other curriculum measures for young children (typically pre-school or elementary age). They may work with students in groups or individually.
Annual Median Salary: $47,979
These specialists work with social services agencies, such as Child Protective Services, to ensure the wellbeing of children. They may assess family situations and determine appropriate care measures for families and children.
Annual Median Salary: $46,890
These directors oversee operations at preschools and childcare centers, managing staff and directing education programs. They also typically hire employees and budget management.
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