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Salaries, Educational Requirements, and Job Growth – Forbes Advisors

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A child’s mental health affects how they think, behave, feel and relate to others, and poor mental health can have devastating effects. Even toddlers and toddlers can suffer from mental health issues.

If you love working with children and want to know how to become a child psychologist, read on for what you need to know to get into this career field. If you want to make a difference in children’s lives, becoming a child psychologist might be a good career option.

Child psychologist job prospects

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report data on child psychologists specifically, but tracks data on psychologists overall. The BLS predicts that psychologist jobs will grow by 8% between 2020 and 2030.

Children of all ages need mental health care. According to a Centers for Disease Control study, 1 in 6 of her children aged 2 to her 8 are diagnosed with a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. Also, 8.9% of adolescents aged 12 to her 17 and her 8.9% of her teens have attempted suicide. These statistics show that child psychologists need to help children of all ages manage their emotional, behavioral, and mental health problems.

What Do Child Psychologists Do?

Child psychologists provide psychological services to children and adolescents to promote their mental health and well-being. These professionals use their specialized knowledge and strategies to address the psychological needs of children struggling with behavioral, emotional, or other mental health problems.

Below are some ways child psychologists can support your child’s well-being.

  • They use tests and assessment procedures to assess children’s psychological, intellectual, and cognitive problems.
  • They address psychological, emotional, developmental, cognitive and behavioral issues that children may be experiencing.
  • They report trauma and loss, anxiety, stress, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), cognitive disorders, behavioral problems, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidal ideation, addiction, and eating disorders. , treating children suffering from other conditions. .
  • They offer interventions such as psychotherapy and behavior modification.
  • They may work to develop prevention programs against problems such as bullying, teenage pregnancy, childhood obesity, and substance abuse.

child psychologist salary

The average annual base salary for child psychologists is approximately $65,000. The average annual salary for a child psychologist with 20+ years of experience is approximately $96,000.

Steps to becoming a child psychologist

If you want to become a child psychologist, plan to spend six to eight years completing the education required to become a licensed child psychologist. Bachelor’s degrees, doctoral degrees, internships, and postdoctoral fellowships must be completed before proceeding to licensing and certification exams.

Learn the state-specific requirements when planning your career path, as each state sets its own licensing requirements.

get a bachelor’s degree

To become a child psychologist, you must have a bachelor’s degree in child psychology, psychology, or a related field. Majoring in one of these subjects will prepare you to begin your doctoral program by learning the fundamentals of psychology. Bachelor’s degree coursework varies by major.

If you choose a BA in Child Psychology, coursework may include child development, adolescent development, educational psychology, and childhood and adolescent disabilities.

A BA in Psychology includes more general coursework. Courses may include introduction to psychology, introduction to anatomy and physiology, statistics and scientific research. If you choose this path, consider taking a class that focuses on your child’s mental health issues, if possible.

Complete Psy.D.or PhD program

A master’s degree allows you to work as a mental health counselor, but a PhD is required to become a child psychologist. To become a child psychologist, you could theoretically go straight to a doctoral program after completing your bachelor’s degree. However, if your bachelor’s degree is in a field unrelated to psychology, you may need to complete a master’s degree in child psychology or psychology first.

You can pursue Psy.D. Or Ph.D. for your Ph.D. Both of these degrees provide a deep understanding of the principles of child psychology and prepare you to work as a child psychologist. However, there are differences between the two degree types.


Ph.D. is more focused on research than Psy.D. It is common for people with this degree to work in teaching, research, or clinical practice. Choose a Ph.D. if you want to learn more about the principles of research relevant to your field.

Coursework required for Ph.D. May include advanced research methods, statistics, abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, personality psychology, and experimental methods.


Select Psy.D. If you want to focus less on research and more on working directly with children in a clinical setting. This degree program can be completed faster than a PhD. A program for Psy.D. Fewer requirements.

Coursework required for Psy.D. It includes child development, adolescent development, social psychology, cognitive bases of behavior, psychological theory, research methods, and more.

gain pre-pro experience

Doctoral programs in psychology usually require an internship. The Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers provides information on internship searches and helps candidates match internship opportunities.

To become a child psychologist, you must complete a postdoctoral fellowship. A fellowship involves working a specified amount of time under supervision, usually lasting her one to two years. Fellowships give you real-world experience working with children in a clinical setting.

apply for a state license

To become a licensed child psychologist after completing your PhD, you must pass the National Examination for Professionals in Psychology (EPPP). The State and Local Psychological Board (ASPPB) Association oversees her EPPP.

Specific licensing requirements vary by state, so check your state’s guidelines to make sure you meet the requirements. ASPPB maintains an online directory of US and Canadian licensing boards.

Get board certified

Becoming board certified means you have demonstrated your expertise in your chosen area of ​​expertise. The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) processes accreditation for licensed psychologists in 15 specialties.

The American Board of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (ABCCAP) is a member board of the ABPP that processes board accreditation of clinical child and adolescent psychology qualifications. To become certified, you must pass the ABCCAP exam.

Child Psychologist Frequently Asked Questions

What skills do you need to become a child psychologist?

Child psychologists should have good analytical, observational, problem-solving, and research skills. They also need compassion and understanding as they may work with children with severe mental disorders or who may be victims of abuse.

How long does it take to become a child psychologist?

It should take six to eight years to complete the educational requirements. All in all, it will take him eight to ten years to complete the fellowship, take the exam, and go through the licensing and accreditation process.

What is the difference between child psychology and child psychology?

Pediatric psychologists typically work in medical facilities, such as children’s hospitals, treating children with life-threatening illnesses. Child psychologists may work in other settings, such as outpatient clinics, hospitals, government agencies, and private practitioners.

Are Child Psychologists Doctors?

No, child psychologists are not doctors. In most states, psychologists cannot perform medical procedures or write prescriptions.