How to Earn a Masters in Child Psychology – Forbes Advisor

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Child psychology is a specialized field focusing on the psychological processes, development and behavior of children. Obtaining a master’s degree is essential for career advancement in this field, preparing you for a doctorate and licensure exams. A doctorate is the minimum training required to practice as a clinical child psychologist.

Admission Requirements for a Masters in Child Psychology

Admission requirements for a master’s degree in child psychology vary by program and institution. To be eligible for registration, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. They must also meet a minimum GPA and submit undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores. Applicants may also need to write a Letter of Intent or Statement of Purpose.

Master’s Course in Child Psychology

Below are examples of course titles and topics included in child psychology courses.

developmental psychology

Developmental psychology courses provide an overview of the stages of human development, including biological, social, emotional, and cognitive development throughout the lifespan. Courses explore how biological, genetic, and environmental factors affect development. Learners examine fundamental theories, research, research design, application, and methods in the field.

Intervention strategies

In intervention strategies courses, students examine the theories, strategies, methods, and best practices of behavioral prevention and intervention in psychology. Course topics typically include the history and theory behind psychotherapy and different therapy techniques. Students learn empirically supported treatment methods for various psychological disorders. This includes planning, implementing and evaluating behavior change interventions.

Cognitive processes

Cognitive Processes courses provide an overview of the fundamental theories, principles, concepts, and research methodology of cognitive psychology. Students examine the components of internal mental processes that make up human behavior, including perception, memory, problem solving, attention, sensation, language, and imagery.

social psychology

Social psychology courses explore fundamental theories, key concepts, research, and research methods in the field. Students examine individual behavior in social contexts, self-identity in social contexts, interpersonal behavior and relationships, social attitudes, social cognition, and cultural phenomena.

Child Psychology Career Options

Family and child therapist

Average annual salary: About $46,000 per year
Job description: Family and child therapists promote the well-being of children and their families, focusing on the social, emotional, behavioral, developmental, and cognitive well-being of clients. These professionals administer assessments, provide diagnoses, and develop treatment and care plans. They often work with parents, teachers, and healthcare professionals closely involved in a child’s life to provide comprehensive care.

Child Welfare and Protection Social Worker

Median annual salary: $50,390 per year
Employment growth (2020-2030): 12%
Job description: Child welfare and protection social workers provide a variety of services and advocate for vulnerable children and their families. They work closely with children affected by many circumstances including poverty, homelessness, poor academic performance, discrimination, abuse, neglect and mistreatment. Child protection social workers provide counselling, parenting and educational support, and housing assistance. They investigate cases of abuse and neglect and sometimes intervene to protect children from harm.

Marriage and family therapist

Median annual salary: $49,880 per year
Employment growth (2020-2030): 16%
Job description: These therapists assess, diagnose and treat mental illnesses. They also address interpersonal and behavioral issues as well as psychological distress. These professionals can also help resolve conflicts within relationships and family systems. Marriage and family therapists help their clients cultivate healthier relationships through counseling for children, relationships, premarital, and separation and divorce.

Frequently Asked Questions About Child Psychology

What is the highest degree in child psychology?

The highest degree a person can earn in child psychology is a doctorate. Child psychologists can earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree.

Can I do a masters in psychology without an undergraduate degree in psychology?

Prerequisites and admission requirements for master’s programs in psychology vary by school. It is possible to complete a master’s degree in psychology without having a bachelor’s degree in psychology. However, most programs require students to complete a certain number of credits in psychology courses.

How to start a career in child psychology?

To start a career in child psychology, you must complete extensive educational requirements, including at least a master’s degree for some career paths and a Psy.D. or doctorate for clinical psychologists. You must also meet the licensing requirements of the state where you plan to practice.


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