Earning a Master’s in Child Psychology Online

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September 16, 2021

Should I Pursue a Master's in Child Psychology Online?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment for psychologists will increase by 14% through 2026, or roughly double the growth rate for all jobs. The rising need for mental health services in educational settings should lead to particularly strong job prospects for school and child psychologists. Increased demand, in turn, leads to higher salaries. In 2017, psychologists earned a median salary of $77,030, more than twice the median pay for all other occupations.

To take advantage of new opportunities in this field, however, you need an advanced degree. Online master's programs in child psychology allow you to watch lectures, complete assignments, and even take exams on your own schedule, from any location with an internet connection. Students who need to balance their studies with a full-time job or other obligations may find an online program more convenient than traditional campus-based offerings. But while online education offers a great deal of flexibility, it also requires self-motivation and time management skills.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Child Psychology Graduates

Master's in Child Psychology Salary

Earning a master's in child psychology online opens up new career opportunities and strengthens your earnings potential. For example, academic and career counselors at elementary and secondary schools earn approximately $25,000 more per year than the median pay for all other occupations, but most of these roles require, at a minimum, a master's degree in a related field.

Generally, salaries in the field increase with career advancement. The BLS projects that the top 10% of school counselors, typically those with a graduate degree and significant professional experience, earn more than $91,960 each year.

Salaries for School and Career Counselors by Industry

Industry Annual Mean Wage
Elementary and Secondary Schools; State, Local, and Private $62,990
Other Educational Services; State, Local, and Private $49,570
Junior Colleges, Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools; State, Local, and Private $49,150
Healthcare and Social Assistance $37,300

Master's in Child Psychology Careers

An online child psychology master's degree prepares you for a variety of professional roles. You may, for example, work as a family therapist, providing support to children coping with challenges like divorce or the death of a loved one. You could also serve as a mental health counselor, treating adolescents for addiction to alcohol or drugs.

Regardless of the path you choose, careers in child psychology require extraordinary compassion, patience, and interpersonal skills.

School and Career Counselor

Annual Median Salary: $55,410

School counselors help students develop the skills they need to succeed academically. Career counselors focus on supporting students as they choose a profession and look for work. Both may also work with teachers and administrators to design educational programs and policies. Most school and career counselors hold a master's degree.

Social Worker

Annual Median Salary: $47,980

Social workers help young people cope with problems. Social workers conduct interviews to assess their clients' needs, refer families to community resources like childcare and housing, or respond to various crisis situations. While clinical and supervisory roles require a master's in social work, you may qualify for entry and mid-level positions with a master's in a field like child psychology.

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor

Annual Median Salary: $43,300

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors work with patients struggling with addiction, eating disorders, and related issues. Mental health counselors treat individuals with conditions such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. While some substance abuse counselors find work with a bachelor's degree, most mental health counseling jobs require a master's degree.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Child Psychology Program?

The educational experience of a child psychology degree program varies by program and the student's professional goals. For example, programs that prepare students for work as family therapists may involve intensive field experiences. Programs that aim to prepare students for doctoral study, by contrast, may feature more coursework in research and analysis. The curriculum of the program you choose should reflect your professional interests.

Curriculum for an Online Master’s Degree in Child Psychology

Themes and Theories of Child Psychology

This course introduces students to the core concepts of child and development psychology. Students explore both the history and contemporary applications of these theories.

Gender and Human Development

In this class, students analyze the biological, social, cultural, and psychological theory of sex difference and gender identity. Topics covered include differentiating sex and gender, stereotypes of gender, the influence of socialization agents such as the schools and media, and transgender psychology. The course also tracks important developmental issues related to gender, like body image and sexuality.

Developmental Psychopathology

Whether they hope to diagnose mental disorders as a child psychologist or connect families with mental health resources as a school counselor, professionals in this field need an understanding of the psychopathologies that may arise in infants, children, and adolescents. This class offers an overview of various emotional and behavioral disorders, including classification systems and therapeutic approaches.

Behavior Analysis for Children and Adolescents

Behavior analysis plays a key role in assessing and treating individuals with behavioral issues and developmental delays, including autism spectrum disorder. Students in this course develop skills in observation, reinforcement, and repeated measures design. They learn to develop intervention plans and use data to evaluate treatment effectiveness.

Research Theory, Design, and Methods

Many students who attend child psychology master's programs online plan to continue their education at the doctoral level in order to become licensed psychologists. Through an exploration of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research design and data collection methods, this class equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to write their dissertation.

Certifications and Licenses a Master’s in Child Psychology Prepares For

Professional Organizations and Resources

Professional organizations allow members to meet colleagues, take continuing education, and access job listings in child psychology or family therapy. Many organizations host annual conferences and regional events, providing members opportunities to expand their professional networks. They may also offer formal certification programs in areas such as the treatment of childhood trauma or working with immigrant populations. Some even administer mentorship programs to connect recent graduates with more experienced professionals.

Methodology

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