Child psychology majors study adolescent development, educational psychology, and abnormal child psychology. During a child psychology degree, majors complete coursework in general psychology with focused classes dedicated to children's social and emotional development. They explore how children learn language and morality, using the research and methodology of psychology. The degree builds valuable skills in analytical thinking, research, and abstract reasoning.
A child psychology bachelor's degree prepares graduates for career opportunities in psychology, education, mental health, and healthcare. Graduates work as child advocates, caseworkers, and behavior therapists, while others pursue a doctorate in child psychology to become a licensed child psychologist. This guide considers the ins and outs of child psychology degrees, including common coursework, benefits of earning the degree, and career advancement opportunities.
Typical Admission Requirements:
High school diploma or the equivalent; SAT or ACT scores; admissions essay; letters of recommendation; high school transcripts; college transcripts for transfer credits
Time to Completion:
A bachelor's degree typically takes four years for full-time students.
Why Get a Bachelor's Degree in Child Psychology?
Child psychology majors study a fascinating subject and build professional skills that prepare them for opportunities in many fields. Here are some of the benefits of earning a child psychology degree:
- A degree in child psychology prepares students for careers in other fields like child development. Graduates apply their training in several fields that work with children.
- A child psychology degree provides training for professionals in education, counseling, and mental health fields, leading to opportunities as a behavioral therapist, case worker, or school counselor.
- Graduates can apply for master's and doctoral programs to become a licensed child psychologist. An undergraduate degree in child psychology prepares students for graduate programs.
- The degree builds strong research and analytical skills. Child psychology majors gain valuable skills that transfer to multiple careers.
- A background in child psychology leads to advancement opportunities in careers that work with children, such as early childhood education specialists and child advocates.
Students earning a bachelor's degree in child psychology complete coursework in general psychology and within their concentration area. They study human development for children and adolescents, educational psychology, and abnormal child psychology. In addition to major requirements, students complete general education courses to earn their child psychology degree.
The specific curriculum for a child psychology bachelor's degree varies depending on the program. This list provides sample courses that build research, assessment, and intervention skills, which help child psychology majors pursue several career paths after graduation.
Children's Rights and Child Advocacy
Classes on children's rights and child advocacy train psychology majors in the ethical, legal, and professional responsibilities of child advocates. Students draw on psychology theory and research to understand child neglect and abuse. The course prepares graduates to respond to the needs of children, youth, and families.
Educational psychology courses introduce students to the theories and psychology principles that relate to education. Students explore motivation, development, learning, and instruction from a psychological standpoint. The course also explores the role of human development in education, including social science research on the psychology of education.
Social and Personality Development
Classes on social and personality development examine major theories and research on development from infancy through adolescence. Students explore the social, emotional, and moral development of children, including the role of social context, biology, and culture. The course trains students to analyze personality and social development, including how they relate to cognitive development.
Disabilities and Abnormal Child Psychology
Child psychology majors often take a course on disabilities and abnormal child psychology. The class introduces students to the psychopathology of children, the treatment of children, and intervention modes for children and adolescents. Coursework prepares students for advanced study in clinical psychology, special education, or social work.
What Can You Do With a Bachelor's Degree in Child Psychology?
A bachelor's degree in child psychology prepares graduates for careers in social services, mental healthcare, and education. With a graduate degree, child psychology majors can become school counselors, education specialists, or child psychologists. In general, most child psychologists hold a doctorate.
After earning a bachelor's degree in child psychology, graduates can advance their careers in several ways. Many enroll in a graduate program to continue their training for child psychologist jobs. Earning a graduate degree also meets licensure requirements. Graduates can also turn to professional organizations for career advancement.
A bachelor's in child psychology prepares majors for graduate programs in psychology. Most professional psychologists complete a graduate degree as part of their training. During a graduate program in child psychology, students complete advanced coursework in psychology theory, clinical practice, and human development. The degree provides specialized training for psychology careers.
A master's in psychology leads to opportunities in counseling, psychology, and healthcare fields. A master's in child psychology meets the requirements for many school counselor positions, for instance. Many psychology jobs require a doctorate. For example, most practicing child psychologists hold a doctoral degree.
Child psychologists must typically hold a state-issued license to practice with patients. In most states, the licensure process requires a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in child psychology; however, some states license psychologists who hold a master's degree. During the licensure process, candidates submit proof of their educational and professional experience. To maintain the license, they generally must pass an examination testing their skills and meet continuing education requirements on an annual basis.
Each state also sets its own professional experience and examination requirements. As a result, prospective child psychologists should carefully research the requirements and the process in their state.
- Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology SCCAP offers student resources, a membership directory, and a career center for job seekers. The society publishes several journals, including the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.
- Society of Pediatric Psychology The society hosts an annual conference and events that offer networking opportunities. It also provides professional resources geared toward psychology students and professionals.
- American Psychological Association APA offers career resources, a psychology help center, and publications to keep students and grads up-to-date on child psychology. The association also provides grants, awards, and funding.