Master’s in Child Psychology – Everything You Need to Know in 2024

By Staff Writer

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A master’s degree in child psychology is a graduate-level program that focuses on understanding the psychological development, behavior, and mental health of children and adolescents. This degree equips students with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills necessary to work with children in various settings, such as schools, clinics, hospitals, or research institutions.

Child psychology master’s programs typically take 2 years to complete and open the door to a number of job opportunities such as school psychologistsresearch assistants, or mental health counselors as well as doctorate degrees.

Why get a master’s degree in child psychology?

A Master’s in Child Psychology covers a range of topics related to child development, psychopathology, assessment, and therapeutic interventions.

Here are the subject areas likely to be covered:

  • Child Development: delve into various aspects of child development, including cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development from infancy through adolescence.
  • Psychopathology in Children: understand and diagnose psychological disorders that affect children and adolescents.
  • Assessment and Evaluation: learn about different assessment methods used to evaluate children’s cognitive abilities, emotional functioning, and behavioral issues.
  • Therapeutic Interventions: learn about evidence-based therapeutic approaches for treating children and adolescents.
  • Cultural and Diversity Considerations: explore how cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic factors impact children’s experiences and mental health. Students learn strategies for providing inclusive and culturally sensitive interventions.
  • Research Methods and Statistics: Master’s programs often include courses on research design, data analysis, and research ethics. Students develop skills in critically evaluating research literature, designing research studies, and conducting empirical research relevant to child psychology.
  • Professional Ethics and Practices: Students gain an understanding of ethical guidelines and professional standards in the field of child psychology.
A master’s degree in child psychology can be a valuable asset for anyone who wants to work with children and families. It provides the knowledge and skills necessary to understand and help children develop emotionally, socially, and academically. With a master’s degree, you can work in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, clinics, and private practice.
Dr. David Elkind, a professor of child development at Tufts University

Growing Demand for Child Psychologists

One compelling reason to pursue a master’s degree in child psychology is the increasing demand for professionals in this field. The prevalence of mental health issues among children and adolescents is on the rise, and there is a growing recognition of the importance of early intervention and support. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 17.1 million children in the United States have or have had a psychiatric disorder, representing a significant portion of the population in need of mental health services. However, there is a shortage of trained professionals to meet this demand. Pursuing a master’s degree in child psychology positions individuals to address this critical need and make a meaningful impact on the lives of children and families.

Career Opportunities and Job Stability

Another compelling reason to pursue a master’s degree in child psychology is the wide range of career opportunities available in this field. Child psychologists can work in various settings, including schools, hospitals, clinics, research institutions, and non-profit organizations. They may provide assessments, counseling, and interventions to children and families, contribute to research and policy development, or work as consultants and advocates for child mental health. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of psychologists is projected to grow by 3% from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. Additionally, the demand for psychologists in schools and healthcare settings is expected to remain high due to the increasing need for mental health services among children and adolescents.

Competitive Salaries and Advancement Opportunities

A third compelling reason to pursue a master’s degree in child psychology is the potential for competitive salaries and advancement opportunities. While specific salary figures can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and work setting, child psychologists generally earn a favorable income. According to the American Psychological Association’s 2020 salary survey, the median salary for doctoral-level child psychologists working in applied settings was $80,000 per year. Furthermore, pursuing a master’s degree in child psychology can serve as a stepping stone towards advanced degrees, such as a Ph.D. or Psy.D., which can open doors to higher-level positions, research opportunitiesteaching positions, and private practice.

What’s covered in a master’s in child psychology?

Studying for a master’s in child psychology can be a challenging but rewarding experience. You will learn about the development of children from birth to adolescence, as well as the factors that influence their behavior. You will also gain skills in research, assessment, and intervention. If you are passionate about working with children, a master’s in child psychology can prepare you for a rewarding career in a variety of settings.
Dr. Alice Sterling Honig, a professor of psychology at Syracuse University

Here’s a sample curriculum for a Master’s in Child Psychology:


First Year

  1. Child Development and Theories
  2. Psychopathology in Children and Adolescents
  3. Assessment and Diagnosis of Childhood Disorders
  4. Research Methods in Child Psychology
  5. Ethical and Professional Issues in Child Psychology
  6. Cultural Diversity and Child Development
  7. Play Therapy and Expressive Arts in Child Psychology
  8. Family Systems and Interventions

Second Year

  1. Advanced Topics in Child Development
  2. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Children and Adolescents
  3. Social and Emotional Development in Childhood
  4. Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Interventions
  5. School-Based Interventions and Consultation
  6. Trauma and Resilience in Childhood
  7. Psychopharmacology for Child and Adolescent Disorders
  8. Research Practicum or Internship

What jobs can you do with a master’s in child psychology?

Many students pursue a PhD in child psychology after obtaining their master’s degree however there are a wealth of job opportunities available to you. Here are some common jobs for holders of a master’s degree in educational psychology:

  1. ABA therapist: use the principles and techniques of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to provide interventions and support to individuals with behavioral or developmental challenges.
  2. Child psychologist: assess the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral development of children and provides therapeutic interventions to address psychological issues specific to children and adolescents.
  3. School Psychologist: Providing psychological services to students in school settings, such as assessments, counseling, and behavioral interventions.
  4. Educational Psychologist:Improve the learning and development processes of individuals within educational settings.
  5. Developmental Psychologist:Study the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional changes that occur across the lifespan, from infancy to old age.
  6. Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW): Licensed social worker providing clinical assessment, diagnosis, and treatment to individuals or groups with mental health or emotional issues.
  7. Mental Health Therapist: Licensed therapist providing individual or group therapy to address a range of mental health conditions or concerns.
  8. Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC): Licensed therapist providing counseling to individuals or groups on a range of mental health or emotional issues.
  9. Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC): Licensed counselor providing mental health assessment, diagnosis, and treatment to individuals or groups.

It is important to note that all of the above positions will require additional training, certification and licensing. Additionally, a PhD or PsyD may be required or at least preferred.

How much can you earn with a master’s in child psychology?

It is difficult to put an exact figure on how a master’s in child psychology can impact your earnings because the career path that students choose vary considerably from pursuing a PhD to switching fields entirely.

Here are the average annual salary figures for some of the jobs you can obtain with this degree:

  1. ABA therapist: $42,000
  2. School Psychologist$78,970
  3. Educational Psychologist$82,180
  4. Developmental Psychologist$78,000
  5. Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW): $58,000
  6. Mental Health Therapist: $78,534
  7. Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC): $47,660
  8. Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC): $47,660