Children are wonderful little people who are full of personality. Often, they grow up to be completely different people, while other times, they’re exactly as they are when they were kids.
There’s no doubt that their upbringing can hugely impact the adults they become, as well as their environments. And if they’re in less-than-ideal situations, they may have troubled futures.
Do you want to help shape children’s paths and ensure they have the best chances in life? Then child psychology may be a good industry to get into.
Read on for some great child psychology jobs that are worth considering.
Clinical Child Psychologist
A clinical child psychologist works with both children and their families. Their main goal is to diagnose and treat both mental and emotional disorders. They may use techniques like applied behavior analysis to explore how behaviors change and are affected by the environment. Other techniques used include talk and play therapy.
Areas of focus in this job include:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Behavior and conduct disorders
- Eating disorders
- Trauma and abuse
- Learning and developmental disorders
If you’re interested in becoming a clinical child psychologist, you’ll need a PhD or PsyD in clinical psychology, with a focus on child and adolescent development. You’ll need to go to graduate school, do a one-year internship, and get one year of supervised professional experience. Then, you need to get your state license.
When you’re properly licensed, you can work in a variety of settings, including:
- Mental health clinics
- Private practices
Child and Family Therapist
Child and family therapists also provide help for children and their families, using many of the same techniques listed above. However, the focus here is on improving family relationships. This can involve addressing emotional and behavioral issues.
As a child and family therapist, you’ll focus on many of the issues that clinical child psychologists deal with, as well as:
- Parent-child relationships
- Child behavioral problems
- Family dynamics
- Divorce and custody issues
To become this type of therapist, you’ll need a master’s degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field. Then, you’ll need to get your state license too.
You can work in the same settings as clinical child psychologists would.
If you’re fascinated with how people make the journey from childhood to adulthood, then a career as a developmental psychologist may be ideal for you. This job requires that you study the social, emotional, and cognitive development of children, ranging from infancy to adolescence.
Areas of focus here for development include:
- Social and emotional
- Physical and motor
You’ll also work with cultural and contextual factors that can affect the above.
To get into this career, you’ll need a PhD in psychology, with an emphasis on developmental psychology. In addition, you’ll need to do a one-year internship with one year of supervised professional experience. If you wish, you can specialize further in something like adolescent development.
Settings you can work as a developmental psychologist in are:
- Research institutions
- Government agencies
Did you wish that you had someone to guide you through the difficult times at school? Now that you’re grown up, you can be that important adult support in students’ lives.
A school psychologist provides support for students’ social, emotional, and behavioral development. You’ll identify and address learning and mental health issues too.
Some of your responsibilities will include:
- Assessing student needs and abilities
- Providing counseling
- Collaborating with teachers and other staff to support students
- Providing support to families and caregivers
You’ll need a master’s or PhD in school psychology to become a school psychologist. You’ll also need a state certificate or license.
While you’ll find most school psychologists in public schools, you can find opportunities in private schools and educational research settings too.
This type of child psychologist focuses on supporting children with physical health challenges and chronic illnesses. As part of this support, you’ll also work with their families, so they know how to handle the situation better. This can entail talk, play, and behavioral therapy.
Areas of focus in this career involve:
- Chronic medical conditions
- Pain and stress management
- Eating disorders
- Trauma and abuse
- Developmental delays and disabilities
- Family and relationship issues
To become a pediatric psychologist, you’ll need a PhD or PsyD in psychology, with an emphasis on pediatric psychology. Plus, you’ll need a state license, which typically involves a one-year internship and one year of supervised professional experience.
Because the job involves health issues, you’ll usually find job opportunities in:
- Private practices
Child Forensic Psychologist
This is perhaps one of the toughest child psychology jobs out there, as you’ll have to work with difficult home situations. However, if you’ve always had an interest in law enforcement, then this job is the perfect blend between that and child psychology.
In this career, you’ll usually provide expert testimony and support in cases with children. Typically, they’ll be child abuse and neglect cases, but not always. Other areas include:
- Child custody
- Juvenile delinquency
- Child witness testimony
- Parental fitness and competency
- Domestic violence
Not only will you provide expert testimony, but you can give the children and their families therapy too. It’s a job that combines many other elements of the above careers.
You’ll need a PhD or PsyD in psychology with an emphasis on forensic psychology to become a child forensic psychologist. And like many other jobs on this list, you’ll need a state license.
You can expect to work mainly in court systems. However, there are opportunities in private practices and government agencies too.
Make a Difference in Children’s Lives
You can’t take every child’s hand and guide them through life. But what you can do is pick a child psychology job that’ll help them through tough times.
It’s not going to be an easy career, but in the end, it’ll be highly rewarding. When you see how you’ve touched these little ones’ lives, it’ll be worth every challenging moment you’ve gone through to get there.
Are you still trying to decide on a career? Then browse our blog page for some inspiration.