How To Become a Child Psychologist | (2023)

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Updated on November 23, 2022

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Everything you need to know about starting a career in child psychology, including educational requirements, job responsibilities, and income potential.

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Child psychology deals with the healthy psychological development of children. Child psychologists help children and their families diagnose and treat mental illnesses or provide expert advice.

If you enjoy working with children, are a hard worker, and want to use psychology to help children grow and learn, then you should consider this career. Learn how to become a child psychologist, including required education, licensing requirements, and salaries.

What is child psychology?

child psychologistsHe works in schools, hospitals, and health care systems, in private practice, and in government and nonprofit organizations. They support the healthy development of the child by diagnosing and prescribing therapeutic approaches for related mental, emotional, behavioral, learning, or mental illnesses.

When you become a child psychologist, you'll explore approaches such as play therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, childhood trauma therapy, and talk therapy. Child psychologists often specialize in a specific type of condition or approach.

Child psychologists often work alongside other child development and health professionals. For example, a child psychologist specializing in learning conditions might work with school administrators, the school psychologist, teachers, and parents to diagnose a condition such as ADHD and develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

A trauma psychologist might work with the family health care provider, a social worker, or other professionals to help a child recover from a traumatic event.

child psychologist Salaries
10% loweraverage annual salary10% higherProjected growth rate (2021-2031)
47.850 $81.040 $133.890 $6%

Those: BLS

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How do I become a child psychologist?

They must have a doctorate in psychology, work under the supervision of a licensed psychologist, and qualify for a state license. Specific requirements vary by state.

If you want to work in the field of child psychology but do not have a Ph.D. or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), you may consider becoming a child therapist orTutoroschool psychologist. School psychologists earn an Education Specialist (Ed.S) degree, which takes less time.

Training as a child psychologist.

Abe a child psychologistYou need extensive training. Clinical psychologists must have a Ph.D., either a Psy.D. or a practical doctorate. Both types of PhD require a thesis and an internship in addition to face-to-face work. In many federal states, school psychologists only require a master's degree. However, most master's degrees still require extensive clinical hours.

Child psychologists typically earn their bachelor's degrees in psychology or child psychology, though others earn their degrees in related subjects, such as education. Some master's programs require the GRE test, but may exempt students with a GPA above a certain level.

A Psy.D. The program focuses on clinical psychology, while a Ph.D. focuses on research. A graduate of a Ph.D. The program is more likely to go to research or academia. However, you can become a licensed psychologist with both doctoral degrees. Most states require two years of supervised practice before you can practice independently.

License to become a child psychologist

All federal states require a doctorate, a qualifying internship, and passing the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) to become a child clinical psychologist. Many states also require professionals to pass a law exam that covers state laws regarding the practice of psychology.

Eligibility requirements for other child psychology jobs, such as B. school psychologist, vary. These requirements often include at least a master's degree, passing the EPPP, an internship, and passing a legal exam. Many states offer cross-licensing or endorsement licenses, which require credentials that meet or exceed that state's requirements. You must attend continuing education to maintain your license.

Die Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards bietet aRequirements GuideTo be a psychologist or school psychologist in different federal states and aDirectory of State Licensing Agencies.

Board Certification for Child Psychologists

Das American Board of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (ABCCAP) bietet anBoard Certified in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. Candidates must have a Ph.D. from an American Psychological Association (APA) accredited program, be state licensed, and have specialized clinical experienceChild and Adolescent Psychology, an internship, a supervised postdoctoral practicum, and at least three years of postgraduate experience in child psychology.

Maintaining your certification requires continuing education. Although certification is not required by law, most employers require or prefer certification because it demonstrates your knowledge and experience to clients.

Pre-professional experience for child psychologists

Certification and licensure as a clinical child psychologist require an internship. Many states also expect an additional phase of supervised practice for careers related to child psychology. Internships are almost always carried out in the last year of the doctorate. There are often more applicants than there are open internships, so you may not be placed in an internship on the first try.

During your internship, you can expect to work alongside a practicing child psychologist. This is a demanding job, especially if you are writing your thesis at the same time. If you have a break between your application and your internship, use this time to further your thesis.

Frequently Asked Questions on Becoming a Child Psychologist

  • How many years does it take to become a child psychologist?

    Usually it takes at least ten years to become a child psychologist. This includes a Bachelor's, Master's, Ph.D., and Scholarship.

  • What is the fastest way to become a child psychologist?

    There are no shortcuts to becoming a child psychologist. If you enter college with enough AP points to graduate early and attend graduate school full time, or enroll in an accelerated program, you may be able to graduate early.

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  • How difficult is it to become a child psychologist?

    To become a child psychologist, you need a Ph.D., which requires long years of study, internships, research, and writing a thesis. You must also work under the supervision of a licensed psychologist and pass the EPPP prior to becoming licensed. Individual states may have different requirements.

  • Do I need a PhD to become a child psychologist?

    You must have a PhD to become a child clinical psychologist. Other careers in child psychology, such as school counselors, require at least a master's degree.

Child Psychology Resources and Professional Organizations

Choice of a psychological specialty.

Page last revised: November 1, 2022

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