What does a child psychologist do?
Child psychologists study the mind and behavior of children from infancy to adolescence. They treat children with a wide range of mental issues related to physical abuse, psychological abuse, anxiety, separation anxiety, divorce, death, drug and alcohol use, peer pressure, mental illness, and other factors. They also treat patients with developmental delays and learning disabilities. They take all issues into consideration and create and implement age-appropriate treatment plans and monitor the progress of their patients. Child psychologists often use play, music, art, drawings, and other activities to facilitate communication to work through issues. Sometimes child psychologists counsel just the child and other times they involve the whole family.
What kind of training does a child psychologist need?
Child psychologists usually need a doctoral degree in child psychology. A master degree may be sufficient for some positions. Child psychologists receive intensive training to work with child and their parents to resolve issues. Doctorate degrees typically take 5 to 7 years to complete and involve core coursework and research. Child psychologists also usually complete 1 to 2 year internships and a postdoctoral fellowship in child psychology where they complete two years of experience concentrating on children and teens.
Child psychologists who are involved in direct patient care or wish to practice independently must be certified in all states. Licensing laws vary by state, but typically include a doctorate degree in child psychology from an accredited institution, at least 1 to 2 years of experience, an approved internship, and passing a state examination.
What are the prospects for a career as a child psychologist?
Employment of all psychologists is expected to have faster than average growth for all professions, increasing 15 percent from 2006 to 2016 (1). Employment growth is driven by the increased demand for psychological services for children.
Job prospects are expected to great especially for child psychologists with extensive experience. Job openings will also arise from the need to replace child psychologists who retire or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do child psychologists make?
As of October 2009, the average annual salary for child psychologists is $54,000. Average annual salaries vary greatly on location, field, company, and experience (2).
A career as a child psychologist is an excellent choice for individuals who have a strong interest in wanting to help children overcome problems and live a happier life. Child psychologists must be emotionally stable and be able to deal with a wide variety of issues. They must be caring, patient, non-judgmental, and able to view situations from all angles. Excellent communication, sensitivity, and compassion are also essential qualities of child psychologists.