Is a Child Psychology Degree Right for You?

An online bachelor’s degree in child psychology is a good fit for students who are passionate about helping troubled children adjust to difficult circumstances or overcome mental and behavioral disorders. While relevant careers are available at the bachelor’s level, prospective students must be willing to commit to graduate study on top of an undergraduate degree to become licensed as a therapist or clinical psychologist, if this is your end goal in pursuing this discipline. Finally, those who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree in child psychology online must recognize that a career working with children will also involve working closely with a child’s parents/guardians, teachers, health care practitioners, and other people concerned with the child’s well-being.

Advice for Earning Your Child Psychology Degree Online

We recommend choosing an online child psychology degree that incorporates site-based internships, practicum experiences, and volunteer work to supplement what is being learned in online courses. It is also crucial for students to choose a program that emphasizes undergraduate research in child psychology, as this will shine on future applications for graduate school. Along these lines, it is important to maintain a GPA of 3.00 or higher to increase your chances for success in applying to the best graduate programs in child psychology after completing your undergraduate degree.

Required Courses

Students enrolled in child psychology programs will start out gaining a firm grounding in the behavioral sciences through courses in general psychology, abnormal psychology, lifespan development, personality theory, and cognitive psychology. Course work emphasizes child development and learning, and students will also learn how to conduct research in psychology. Courses you may see in a child psychology curriculum might include:

  • Educational Psychology
  • Social Development in Childhood and Adolescence
  • Assessment and Testing
  • Counseling Process and Techniques
  • Counseling Special Needs Children

Common Career Paths

After graduating, students who have earned a child psychology bachelor degree online can go on to become school psychologists, counselors, or even educators, provided they obtain the appropriate certification or licensure. Students can also use what they have learned to pursue careers as early intervention specialists who assist children with developmental disorders. As an alternative, child psychology majors can also consider writing children’s literature, or becoming child care workers or directors. The field of child psychology therefore opens up many possible paths of employment. Salaries for the following careers vary depending on your level of experience, the region of the country you live in, and the size and type of your employer or client base.

Clinical Child Psychologist

  • Expected Growth: 22% (for all psychologists; not limited to child psychology)
  • Average Annual Salary: $73,090

Clinical child psychologists help children and adolescents who exhibit a wide variety of issues, including emotional, developmental, and cognitive problems; mental disorders; trauma and loss; and problems with stress and coping, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). These psychologists provide assessments to determine what the root issues are, develop interventions to address those issues, and evaluate a child’s progress toward achieving greater well-being, social adjustment, or mental health. Clinical psychologists must possess a Ph.D. in their field in order to become licensed to practice psychology, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), but a bachelor’s degree can pave a path toward future graduate study. The above salary and employment growth statistics were provided by the BLS.

School Psychologist

  • Expected Growth: 22% (for all psychologists; not limited to school psychology)
  • Average Annual Salary: $73,090

School psychologists primarily work with children in schools who exhibit learning disabilities and/or behavioral disorders that prevent them from learning effectively in class. They assess students who act out or who are having difficulties in class, develop interventions in conjunction with teachers and parents, and implement preventative strategies aimed at decreasing disruptive behavior and removing barriers to learning. To work as a school psychologist, you need a minimum of an education specialist degree (Ed.S), or a doctoral degree in school psychology, the BLS explained, although a bachelor’s degree can help prepare you for future graduate study. The employment growth projections and salary figure listed above were provided by the BLS.

Marriage and Family Therapist

  • Expected Growth: 37%
  • Average Annual Salary: $48,710

Marriage and family therapy is a fast-growing career in which licensed professionals help couples and families of all types improve their relationships with each other and cope with issues like the death of a family member, a divorce, mental illness, stress or anxiety, or substance abuse. Marriage and family therapists often perform short-term therapy, and may focus on mitigating marital strife or repairing parent-child relationships. A minimum of a master’s degree is required to obtain a license to practice, according to the BLS, but a bachelor’s degree in child psychology can help prepare students for graduate study, where they will learn how to work with children in the context of a family unit. The above job growth projections and salary figures are provided by the BLS.

Preschool and Childcare Center Director

  • Expected Growth: 25%
  • Average Annual Salary: $51,290

Preschool and childcare center directors make sure that the children under their center’s care can learn age-appropriate lessons in a safe and fun environment. They direct all childcare staff, implement educational programs, handle the day-to-day operations, hire and train personnel, and ensure the center is abiding by applicable regulations for childcare facilities. While a high school degree may be all that’s required for some director positions, a bachelor’s degree may be required in other instances, the BLS explains, and a bachelor’s in child psychology is fitting because of the course work in child development and educational psychology. The above salary average and employment growth statistics were taken from the BLS.

Juvenile Probation Officer

  • Expected Growth: 18%
  • Average Annual Salary: $52,110

Juvenile probation officers supervise youth under the age of 18 who have committed crimes and have been released on probation. These officers make sure that the young people assigned to them are abiding by the court orders that have been issued by a judge, which could be anything from drug rehabilitation to community service to anger management. Since they are assigned to some teens for one to two years, they get to know their clients well and have an open door to discourage them from falling back into criminal activity and helping them get social support.

A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, social work, psychology, or another applicable area is common for the profession, although to work in the criminal justice system, prospective probation officers will also need to pass a psychological exam, criminal background check, and drug test, the BLS explains. The above job outlook and salary figures were provided by the BLS.

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