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Becoming a Child Psychologist – Work With a Psychology Degree

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To become a child psychologist, you need at least one psychology degree. Learn what a child clinical psychologist does in this career and job description.

A child clinical psychology degree – whether it is earned online or in-person – can bring many work opportunities for psych graduates. A popular, fulfilling psychology career involves working as a child psychologist.

What Does a Child Clinical Psychologist Do?

Child psychologists work with children, their parents, and sometimes the whole family to diagnose and treat developmental and emotional problems. A child psychologist can work in schools, pediatrician’s offices, juvenile detention centers, private practice, and with various government organizations.

People with psychology degrees in this field are dedicated to improving children’s lives.

Psychological testing is often involved in child psychology, to help with diagnosis and treatment. Child clinical psychologists are specially trained to administer psychological tests; only psychologists are authorized to administer and interpret psychological tests for children (or adults). Playroom testing and interviews are also used to diagnose children, and may be more effective than psychology tests (depending on the child’s age, personality, and specific circumstances).

Treating Psychological Disorders in Children

Children who are most likely to see a child psychologist are often struggling with anxiety, phobias, depression, difficulty with peer or sibling relationships, parent-child attachment problems, or acting out at school. Many child clinical psychologists specialize in one particular area, such as eating disorders, phobias, depression, or developmental disorders.

Different psychological disorders require different treatments, depending on the child’s specific disorder, genetics, personality, and age. Play therapy is commonly used to diagnose and treat children, because they naturally express themselves through play.

A Research Career for Child Psychologists

A child psychology job can be academic, and not involve direct work with children. Psychologists can work at universities or other research settings, and focus on research in child development, treatments, and psychological disorders.

Academic child psychologists may also work as consultants, expert witnesses, interview sources for journalists, or their own professional writing.

Becoming a Child Psychologist Requires Psychology Degrees

More than one psychology degree is required to be a child psychologist in most states and provinces. Often, child psychologists need to complete graduate level work to be certified as a child psychologist. Child counselors, on the other hand, may practice if they have a psychology degree or diploma – depending on their state or provincial regulations.

Related Articles – Psychology Degrees and Careers

To learn more about psychology careers, read Jobs for Psychologists and Psychology Graduates.

What Does PsyD, PhD, MSW, and MFT Stand For? may also be helpful, as it describes different types of psychology and other degrees.

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