People with a Master of Science in Child Psychology typically work as psychological assistants with supervision by doctoral-level psychologists. Much of their time is spent conducting research. Master’s degree holders can also work as industrial-organizational psychologists. In order to work as a child psychologist, a doctorate degree is typically required. A master’s degree is a stepping stone to enrolling in a doctoral program. Job settings typically include private practices, hospitals, doctors offices, and elementary schools.
Steps Toward an MS in Child Psychology
To become a child psychologist, requirements vary significantly by state. Successful students typically complete the following steps:
- Earn proper undergraduate degree (requirements vary by state). Common undergraduate degrees include Bachelor of Science programs in education, psychology or human services.
- Earn proper graduate degrees (requirements vary by state) from an accredited institution like Capella, Kaplan, Liberty, or Walden University. Typically includes completing a Master of Science degree with a concentration in child psychology. In order to practice independently, a doctorate is typically required.
- Obtain proper licensure. Licensure requirements differ greatly by state, occupational specialty, and work setting. The licensing requirements for a practicing child psychologist is fairly rigorous, including completing a doctorate in psychology, an approved internship and 1-2 years of professional experience. Candidates must also pass an examination.
- Consider certification and continuing education options. The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) recognizes professional achievement by awarding certification in 13 specialty areas. Psychologists can advance their careers by earning an advanced degree and by participating in continuing education. Many child psychologists start their own private practice after gaining experience working in the field.
Professionals in the field may also want to consider becoming a member of the Society of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, which offers student benefits, access to conventions and journals, and aids in continuing education.
My Degree and What It’s Worth
A child psychologist is typically responsible for the following job duties:
- Administer psychological tests and conduct scientific research on childhood development.
- Help understand, prevent, diagnose and treat developmental, cognitive, social and emotional issues in children.
- Offer case management support and guidance, especially when cases of domestic abuse and other family problems that can affect a child’s development are identified.
- Arrange for medical care, additional therapy, and other outside services.
Master’s degree holders in fields other than organizational psychology will experience competition for jobs due to the limited number of positions that require only a master’s degree. Job prospects are better for people who have a doctoral degree. For more information on your earning potential, please visit our salary outlook for counselors page.
Online MS in Child Psychology Degree Programs
- Grand Canyon University: MS in Professional Counseling: Childhood and Adolescence Disorders
- Northcentral University: PhD in Marriage & Family Therapy: Child & Adolescent Therapy
- Southern New Hampshire University: MS in Psychology: Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology
Closely Related Programs
The following degrees are closely related to a master’s degree program in child psychology, often allowing you to pursue a career in this field or others: