Child psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses exclusively on the mental and social development of children. Child psychologists work to improve the lives of children through behavior change.
A specialist in child psychology is licensed and trained only to treat and counsel children. Though a child psychologist works in tandem with parents, the primary focus is on improving the mental health of the child.
There are various levels of academic degrees for those wishing to specialize in child psychology. One first has to obtain either a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in psychology. This will take at least four years. The BS in psychology will involve more science coursework compared to the BA degree. After the bachelor’s degree, you will have to enroll in a master's degree program. This can take up to two years to complete. You have the option of entering a terminal master's program and study only for a master's degree, or opt for a program that combines a master's degree with a PhD. The extended program can take at least four years and might stretch to eight years. The time needed is a function of your and the field of specialization. With a master's or PhD. degree in psychology one can specialize in child psychology.
Typically, those with a master's or PhD in psychology work in research facilities at universities or become counseling psychologists. The majority of child psychologists have either a Master's or PhD. degree. Yet another psychology degree for those wanting to become a doctor of psychology is the PsyD degree. With a PsyD, you can open your own practice or work in a mental health organization. However, cannot conduct research.
Child psychologists are employed in many institutions. They can become a teacher or researcher in a university, or community college, or professional school. They can also become counselors in hospitals and community agencies. Other avenues include working for a school district or setting up private practice. To be a practicing child psychologist one needs at least a master's degree though a doctoral (PhD.) degree is more useful.