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What is a child psychologist?

Child psychology is the treatment of various issues and disorders that affect children and teenagers. It also extends support to families. Child psychologists will provide mental health services to children and teenagers by conducting research, managing tests, and participating in both individual and group therapy sessions.

School psychologists, a subset of child psychology, collaborate with teachers, parents and other school personnel to help children with both learning disabilities and those who are gifted and talented and require a more challenging curriculum. Their role is to also work with teachers and parents and make suggestions for classroom management and parenting techniques.

Some child psychologists work in research positions. Here, they study emotional, cognitive, and behavioral issues that can affect children. They also conduct studies on development, such as morals, personality, and language.

Child psychologists can also specialize in art therapy, animal-assisted therapy, or social work

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What are the Responsibilities for Someone Working in Child Psychology?

Child Psychologists focus on diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional problems specific to the age group of children and adolescents. A Child Psychologist evaluates and monitors the behavioral, social, emotional, and mental states of their clients.  Their clients include children with developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, autism, phobia, attention deficit disorder, and other mental health issues affecting children.

Child Psychologists use psychological theories to counsel and teach children to manage depression and anxiety resulting from emotional and developmental issues. They assess a child’s psychological problem and develop therapeutic approaches to help the child, their family, and other support networks to provide proactive behavioral strategies.

Where do Professionals in Child Psychology Work?

Child Psychologists work in a variety of settings. For example, School Psychologists work in educational settings, at private and public institutions, where educational professionals and parents refer students for assessment of mental health issues.

Child Psychologists also work in research facilities where they conduct scientific study of behavioral, cognitive, and emotional issues that affect children. They may work in laboratories, studying human mental development of cognitive skills, language acquisition, development of morals, and personality development.

Many Child Psychologists work in private practice, providing mental health assessment and diagnosis, as well as psychotherapy for children and adolescents. Child Psychologists also work in healthcare settings, mental health facilities, government agencies, and legal settings.

Are Child Psychologists in Demand?

Overall, employment for child psychologists is expected to grow around 3% from 2020-2030.

There are a few reasons for this expected growth:

  • Replacing other child psychologists, if they are about to retire, are moving to a new location, or a new occupation.
  • Increasing awareness of the connection between learning and mental health will lead to projected job growth in schools.
  • More and more people are turning to psychologists to help with their problems, which is leading to a growth in clinic psychologists. Child psychologists are expected to be included in this growth

What Skills are Required in Child Psychology?

Child Psychologists must have good listening skills. They should listen actively, paying attention not only to what their client is saying but also what they do not verbalize. This requires strong communication skills and the ability to help clients feel comfortable enough to relate relevant information. Child Psychologists must possess strong critical thinking skills. They should have the ability to quickly assess the effectiveness of treatment plans, questioning what is and is not working for the client, and then changing the plan as necessary for the well-being of their client. A good therapist should have the ability to empathize with many types of personalities and try to understand their clients’ thoughts and feelings.

How Much Money Can You Make in Child Psychology?

Child Psychologists make an average salary of $78,000 per year. This figure can vary wildly depending on specialty and location. The annual average salary of a school psychologist can range between $59,00 and $81,000. Child Psychologists who are just beginning their career earn an average of $41,000 per year, and they typically start their career working in rural or less populated areas of the country. Seasoned Child Psychologists can earn upwards of $135,000 annually in urban and other largely populated areas. Government industries average $96,000 per year. Hospital and ambulatory healthcare settings pay an average annual salary of $82,000.

What Jobs Are There Within Child Psychology?

There are many different roles within child psychology. Each presents its own challenges and difficulties, but they are also incredibly rewarding roles.

School psychologist 

School psychologists help children succeed academically, socially, and emotionally.

They can suggest ideas for classroom management and a positive learning environment, discuss plans for improved performance. They also help children talk about their problems, and provide support and counsel for legal guardians and teachers. They will also focus on assessing how mental and behavioral disorders affect learning.

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Developmental psychologist – a developmental child psychologist’s work primarily involves research. They will conduct studies on early childhood attachment and its impact on later relationships. They also research the development of moral ethics and reasoning, and language acquisition. Sometimes, developmental psychologists work directly with children to determine whether a child has a developmental disability or delay.

School counselor – a school counselors are there to advise children about personal and academic issues. They can help resolve social conflicts, offer advice, and talk through sensitive issues with a child. Additionally, they can help children with choosing classes, choosing a college, and discussing career options.

Family Therapists – family therapists can offer both individual and family therapy sessions to discuss and offer counsel on emotional, behavioral, and social issues. They will help to discuss, diagnose, and treat mental illness.

Animal-Assisted Therapist- research has shown that spending time with animals can have numerous benefits to a person’s health – such as an improvement in social, physical, and emotional well-being.

Animal-assisted therapy can work for numerous people of all ages, but some therapists choose to specialize in animal-assisted therapy for children who suffer from developmental or physical difficulties such as autism spectrum disorders or delayed physical development.

Art therapist – child psychologists who specialize in art therapy combine the principles of psychotherapy with art to help the mental health of children. They use art to help their clients experiencing both mental illness, such as anxiety, and psychological distress.

Social worker- social workers have many responsibilities. They work with parents to arrange adoption or foster care, act as advocates for children, and protect those who are vulnerable. Social workers also look for support in communities to help children and help children work towards overcoming behavioral issues.

Do you need a Ph.D. to become a child psychologist?

To practice psychology in any state, you will need a license.

To get this license, you will first need an undergraduate degree in psychology. This will provide you with the foundational skills needed for the remainder of your career. A lot of the time, this undergrad degree will offer a child psychology major, allowing you to delve further into the subject.

After you graduate, you’ll need to get a master’s or doctorate in psychology. You will also need a doctoral degree if you want your own practice. Graduate degrees focus on theories and research, and you may need to have your own specialist thesis.

After gaining a master’s or a doctoral degree, you need to complete a supervised internship. This is part of your training and usually lasts for about 2 years. You will be supervised by another child psychologist who will assess the quality of your work and your knowledge of the practice.

Once you have practical experience, you can obtain a license. From there, the American Board of Professional Psychology will offer you the opportunity to become board-certified. In addition to the practical experience, you will need to give practice samples for review. If your work is accepted, you can then sit for a board-certification exam.

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Position Company Location Posted
Associate Director for Case Management and Outreach, Student Intervention Services University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania US 06/26/2022
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FBH Psychiatric Care Coordinator Catholic Community Services of Western Washington Tacoma, Washington US 06/26/2022
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Child Welfare Evaluation Specialist - REMOTE 102 ICF Incorporated, LLC Washington, Washington US 06/26/2022
ICF is Seeking a Child Welfare Evaluation Specialist who will be responsible for providing technical assistance and evaluation capacity building support as well as to conduct research and evaluation for child welfare projects within the Child Welfare and Education Line of Business. This position will provide direct service to jurisdictions to support state, regional, and local level child welfare contracts with evaluation as well as to provide support to federal contracts as needed. The successful ... More
Targeted Assistance Projects (TAPs)- Summer Fellow (Washington) 102 ICF Incorporated, LLC Olympia, Washington US 06/26/2022
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Targeted Assistance Projects (TAPs)- Summer Fellow (Indiana) 102 ICF Incorporated, LLC Indianapolis, Indiana US 06/26/2022
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