How to Become a Child Psychologist

Child Psychologist Key Stats
Education 4+ Years
Job Outlook 14%

Child Psychologists are trained professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating children and adolescents with mental, learning disorders or emotional problems.

There are many sectors a Child Psychologist can perform their services including schools, health centers or private therapy clinics.

Child Psychologists should have a personality that encourages a child to trust them and feel comfortable sharing their private information and thoughts.

Child Psychologists play an extremely important role in their clients lives and teach young clients that don’t have the necessary coping skills to learn techniques that help them in their lives; they can teach highly effective skills that will help their clients succeed in their adult lives.

Possible conditions that Child Psychologists are able to treat include depression, Attention Deficit Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, self esteem and family related problems that affect a child’s ability to function in a healthy manner.

Family problems can include things such as divorce, death of a parent, child abuse or if a family member is an alcoholic or drug addict.

People who want to become a Child Psychologist may have an interest in interacting with children and have a passion for helping them become healthy and functional adults.

If you feel like you can succeed in a career helping kids, choosing a route that prepares you to become a Child Psychologist is one option.

Education Requirements to Become a Child Psychologist

People who want to become a Child Psychologist must fulfill educational requirements in order to find employment in the field.

The most qualified Child Psychologist candidates have a minimum of a doctoral degree.

Candidates with a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree will face stiff competition among doctored candidates.

Interested students should begin their career by majoring in Psychology as an undergraduate because most graduate programs require it in order be considered for admission.

In an undergraduate program, students will take courses that educate them about the human mind, child development, learning processes and the many ways a family is structured.

In order for candidates to practice independently, they must acquire a doctoral degree.

On average, this type of degree typically takes about five years to complete.

After completing a graduate program, candidates must complete a yearlong internship in order for them to learn the ropes.

Internists will learn how to interact and interview patients and take notes on important patient information.

Licensure requirements depend on the state a candidate will work in, and in order to get licensed, an applicant will need to take a certification exam.

Some states require Psychologists to continue their education in order to renew their license.

Child Psychologist Job Description

There is one major difference between a Child Psychologist and a Psychiatrist.

One professional solely diagnoses and treats while the second can also provide medical prescriptions.

Child Psychologists can work in conjunction with a licensing professional in order to suggest medical prescriptions if it is determined that medicines will help a patient improve.

However, they are unable to write medical prescriptions for their clients.

An experienced Child Psychologist should be able to work with a parent or legal guardian as well as the patient themselves.

They can work with the parent in order to take an initial inventory regarding health and medical information.

Child Psychologists will interview patients in order to evaluate their mental state, analyze and make assessments, determine the best treatment for a patient and prevent the onset of mental disorders.

They will take their evaluations in order to create, design and apply techniques that are geared to provide behavior modifications.

Child Psychologist Salary and Career Path

The job outlook for these professionals is expected to grow at the average national rate of other careers.

Candidates with doctoral degrees will have more opportunities available to them as well as those with specialized degrees.

Candidates with a Master’s degree will face stiff competition among candidates that have doctoral degrees or more experience in the field.

The national median wage for all psychologists was approximately $77,000 according to reports from 2008.

Wages also depend on the sector a professional works in; positions in healthcare facilities pay the highest wages with a median of $68,000 while positions in individual and family services is approximately $$57,000.

The national salary range for all Psychologists is from $37,900 to $149,000.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists, OCC Code 19-3031, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a child psychologist?

Child psychologists evaluate and treat children and adolescents who have developmental issues or are experiencing emotional difficulties and help them cope with different stressful situations.

The types of disabilities they evaluate and treat vary from learning disabilities and depression to severe mental disorders.

Child psychologists are also trained to help children who have experienced trauma.

They assess the child’s problem, develop a strategy and meet with him or her in therapeutic sessions.

As a child psychologist, you will need a variety of skills, including compassion, patience, and good listening and speaking skills.

Child psychologists can find employment in a variety of places; they can work as school psychologists, can open their own private practice, or work in a hospital setting.

How much does a child psychologist make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median wage for psychologists, in general, was $79,010 as of May 2018.

Salaries vary depending on a wide range of factors, including the place of employment, the psychologist’s experience, and the region.

Some earn less than $45,000 a year, while others make around $130,000.

How much does it cost to become a child psychologist?

If you want to become a child psychologist, the first step is to pursue an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related field.

Bachelor’s degree programs in psychology cost, on average, around $40,000 a year, but tuition costs vary widely, depending on the school you choose.

Afterward, you will have to enroll at a doctorate program in child psychology.

Doctoral programs give students the possibility of spending time in clinical settings, working with patients under the supervision of a faculty member.

Costs for doctoral programs vary widely and can be anywhere between $10,000 and more than $40,000 a year.

In order to be able to practice you may also need national certification and a state license; requirements vary by state.

The National Board of Certified Counselors offers a National Certified Counselor credential.

The Board also offers specialty certifications.

What is the demand for child psychologists?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for psychologists, in general, is projected to grow 14 percent from 2018 to 2028 but the expected growth varies depending on the specialty.

More clinical, counseling and school psychologists are expected to be needed in the future because the demand for psychological services is expected to be higher in schools, hospitals, and mental health centers.

How long does it take to become a child psychologist?

In order to become a child psychologist, you will need a bachelor’s degree which can be obtained in 4-5 years and a master’s or doctoral degree which can be earned in 3 to 7 years, depending on the program you choose.

Most states also require child psychologists to get licensed; exact requirements vary by state.

The National Board of Certified Counselors offers a National Certified Counselor credential.

In order to apply for certification, you will need at least a master’s degree in counseling and 100 hours of postgraduate counseling supervision over the last 2-year period and you must obtain endorsement from a colleague who holds a master’s degree or higher in a mental health field.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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