Child psychology degree programs prepare students to work with children and families to correct behavioral, language and learning problems. Many child psychology schools offer both bachelors and masters programs, and some universities also offer online courses and programs for students who need a more flexible schedule. Child psychology programs are designed to train students in areas of family behavior and dynamics, cognition, learning, perception, sociology and behavioral science among others.
Students who are interested in working in clinical settings or doing research in the field may choose to get a masters in child psychology. Master degree programs prepare students for more research-oriented career paths and the student may choose to specialize in children, teens or families.
Types of Child Psychology Courses
The most common types of child psychology courses available include:
Early Childhood Development
Introduction to Education
Child Health, Safety and Nutrition
Children with Special Needs
Cultural and Linguistic Diversity
Psychology as a Natural Science
Social Influences on Behavior
Students may also have the option to take courses online. Online child psychology programs are structured slightly differently than standard programs and may require students to complete online quizzes and tests, participate in discussion forums, and complete web-based tutorials.
The types of courses required vary by degree specialization. For example, courses taken when completing a bachelor's degree in child development or child and adolescent studies will be different and require varying amounts of clinical hours. Students who are interested in furthering their educational careers may choose to complete a masters in child psychology or complete a non-doctoral certificate in a specialized field.
Child Psychology Programs
Many colleges and universities offer several types of child psychology programs and degrees at both the bachelors and masters level. Degree programs are typically offered through the college or university's Department of Child Psychology or Department of Psychology and focus on several areas, including medicine, law, education, sociology and general psychology. In many cases, programs are offered through the College of Liberal Arts and are available as a Bachelor of Arts degree or Bachelor of Science degree. Child psychologists must have at least a master's degree to be practicing.
Master Degree Requirements
Students who have successfully completed a bachelors degree in child psychology may consider graduate training to obtain a master degree. Many colleges offer both a Master of Science and Master of Arts in psychology with a concentration in child psychology or child development. Child psychology master degree programs are more focused on research and clinical studies, and provide students with one-on-one training with children who are having behavioral or learning problems.
Some master degree programs also focus on training for gifted and talented children and teens, and provide students with the tools and training needed to work with exceptionally gifted patients who have their own set of special needs.
Attending Child Psychology School
Child psychology schools may offer several degree programs and specialized training sessions for students who want a well-rounded education. A Bachelor of Arts degree program typically focuses on the basic processes in development and includes courses in early childhood education, parent education and developmental disabilities.
A Bachelor of Science in child psychology typically includes specialized courses such as cognitive development, language development and biological foundations of development. Many universities and colleges also host lectures, workshops, onsite research activities and study abroad programs.
Career Options with a Child Psychology Degree
Students who complete a degree program at the bachelor's degree level or a masters in child psychology can explore a variety of career options and job options. Some career options include:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of psychologists is expected to grow as fast as average through 2018. In May 2008, the median annual wages of salary clinical, counseling and school psychologists were $64,140 and median annual wages for clinical and counseling psychologists working in offices of health practitioners were $68,400.