Developmental Child Psychology

Developmental Psychology Degrees, Child Psychology Degrees

Unlike general psychology – which studies the human psyche and behaviors associated with it – developmental psychology is the study of lifetime human growth and development. It includes physical development, as well as cognitive, social, intellectual and emotional progression. When developmental psychology first was established, it mainly focused on children. Now, developmental psychologists who have earned a developmental psychology degree or child psychology degree study the development of the human brain and body from infancy through adulthood.

Required Education

The field of developmental psychology is large in scope; therefore, those considering a career in this field may wish to determine a specialty for their field before embarking on their educational journey. Some developmental psychologists will opt to work with a specific age group – such as children or the elderly – which will then determine which kinds of jobs they will be eligible for upon graduation. Others choose to focus on research of developmental disorders and delays. Before choosing the school that is right for you, determine which aspect of developmental psychology you wish to pursue.

Some colleges and universities – such as the University of Pittsburgh – offer Applied Developmental Psychology degree programs, which combine classroom education with real-life experience in facilities such as the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. Students who earn an applied developmental psychology degree, which is considered an undergraduate degree program, can then choose whether to seek employment, or continue their education toward earning a master or doctorate degree. Those who choose to enter the workforce should research their state’s licensing regulations. Some states, like Pennsylvania, require those with an undergraduate degree in applied developmental psychology to take a licensing exam in order to be able to practice. Additional degrees, coursework and programs may be required in order to take and pass such licensing exams. Because requirements differ by state, it is best to research the rules in your state before pursuing an education in this field.

According to the American Psychological Association, there are 100 colleges and universities in the Unites States and Eastern Canada which provide master degree and doctorate degree programs in developmental psychology. One of those schools – Virginia Tech – offers a developmental and biological degree program, which trains students in the areas of developmental research, as well as enabling them to teach developmental psychology at a college level.

The majority of students pursuing developmental psychology degrees choose to earn a doctorate degree, which increases their earning potential, as well as their career options. Developmental psychologists who possess doctoral degrees earn on average $88,000 to $110,000 annually.

Where to Work

Unlike traditional psychology, developmental psychologists are able to work in a variety of careers. The options are endless.

The most popular career choice for those with developmental psychology degrees is research. Colleges and universities often hire developmental psychologists to oversee new studies concerning the development of the human mind and body. Many will study current developmental disorders and help to find new ways to help people with those disorders.

Developmental psychologists can work as instructors at colleges and universities as well; although, competition for jobs in education is steep and turnover for these types of positions is low.

They also can choose to work with patients and other medical professionals. Those who choose to work with children may find themselves consulting with behavioral therapists, who craft treatment and therapy plans for children with developmental disabilities. Careers in child psychology are among the most popular among those pursuing developmental psychology degrees.

Developmental psychology also is an important component in the fields of biology, anthropology, sociology, education and history, because human development impacts all of those areas.

Future Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average median annual salary for a psychologist with a four-year degree is $68,640. Demand for trained psychologists is expected to increase over the next eight years by 22 percent. Those who have earned doctorate degrees in psychology will be in the highest demand over the next decade.

Article by Shari Berg,

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