Child Psychologist Education Requirements

This article gives you a clarity on the education requirements, training, license necessary to become a qualified child psychologist.

Updated by Rakshitha N on 30th September 2020

Over the years, children’s differential development and behavior have been monitored from childhood through adolescence. A child psychologist is one who is specialized in traditional psychology, developmental psychology, abnormal psychology or adolescent psychology to treat physical, mental, behavioral or learning disabilities.

Their concern is to assess child health, child stress, development, learning disability, mental illness, emotional and behavioral issues. They also study the learning patterns, behavioral developments, and environmental aspects disturbing a child from infancy through adolescence and trained to cope with the abnormal psychology or adolescent psychology.

Becoming a child psychologist requires several commitments of years which is worth as the job pays about $81,331 per year in 2020 and also has job growth of 14 percent during the period of 2018 to 2028. 

In this article, we will study the various educational requirements to become qualified as a child psychologist. 

Education requirements for child psychologists

It is necessary to complete the education, get trained and then obtain a license to enter the psychology field. Here are the education levels necessary,

  • A bachelor’s degree in psychology: It acts as a foundation for doctoral programs and provides necessary skills that are crucial to building one’s career. It also covers numerous programs such as cultural diversity, communications, fundamentals of psychology, child development, general psychology, social sciences and statistics . Few positions with the federal government demand bachelor’s degrees as its minimum educational requirement.

  • A graduate degree in psychology: This program focuses on advanced course works in psychological theories and research. Programs require a distinct project or theory, which includes research and study in a particular topic or area of psychology. To work as a child psychologist a student needs to pursue the Master’s degree or a doctorate degree in psychology. Coursework is designed to provide students with skills in behavioral, biological and cognitive approaches to child psychology.

Experience

According to state requirements, you must get a license to work as a psychologist. To obtain a license there are certain criterias such as gaining experience or completing a practicum under the guidance of the American Psychological Association. Depending on your degree level and the college specifications you may gain experience in an internship or practicums which provide experience in the field to handle professional responsibilities and convert the theoretical concepts to understand practically. 

In an internship, students get opportunities to learn quickly and independently by working at organizations, hospitals and clinical settings. Also, most internships require you complete the minimum period of 1,000 hours in the field. 

Licensing

The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) provides an opportunity to become a board-certified psychologist. To convert into a board-certified, student needs to meet education and experience requirements and complete an examination.

Every state has a distinct licensing requirement for the applicants to follow and earn a state license to practice medicine legally. Some regulations include that you must complete a degree at an accredited college and clear the EPPP test which demonstrates your knowledge in the subject.

Some states may issue the license to candidates just by clearing the jurisprudence exam.

Some states may not require a license while you are already a part of a research laboratory, state or federal institution, or a research corporation.

Stand out skills 

As a child psychologist, identifying and treating the issues is important. Alongside, the additional skills are required to excel in the career. They are,

Communication: Interacting with the children and adolescents who face problems to communicate about themselves is a challenge. Hence the child psychologist must be well versed in communicating and develop rapport with various techniques to talk to children. 

Empathic: when the child has faced issues and trauma, the psychologist must show compassion and empathize the children. This helps in understanding what the child has gone through and comforting the child with different books, toys, and programs. These techniques make the child open up sooner. 

Problem-Solving: as a child psychologist there may be various challenges such as an unstable situation, uncertainties. Hence you must assess the patient well and develop a treatment plan that fits with the child’s life with the professional skills and years of experience.

Trustworthy: As a doctor, you must make your patients feel safe and secure with the information they share. You must build trust with the patients so that they talk openly about themselves. With a welcoming personality the patients feel comfortable and welcoming to talk about the concerned issue. 

Conclusion

By meeting the educational requirements and the career requirements, you become a qualified child psychologist. By spending years to become a child psychologist, you can expect a rewarding career in return with a handsome salary in hand.