According to the Society of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, working as a clinical psychologist for children requires completion of a doctoral degree. However, numerous programs at the master's level can open doors for interim jobs or other careers focusing on child psychology. You may choose a program that focuses on social work, therapy or education.
Numerous schools offer school psychologist master's degrees, giving you an opportunity to work with students in an educational setting. Coursework in these programs focuses on utilizing educational services in such a position, the role of the guidance counselor, diversity, graduate level psychological research and writing, and bias and assumptions. Programs such as the one through the University of Texas at Tyler also require an internship for supervised, real-world experience and help prepare students for state required certification exams.
A master's in educational psychology does not prepare students to be school counselors in the same manner. Instead, educational psychology is aimed at classroom teachers who want more knowledge about development, motivation and learning. Classes include information about assessment strategies and tools, principles of learning, cognition, growth and development and research in the social sciences. Students in the University of Northern Colorado's program write a paper to apply what they have learned. This program culminates in comprehensive exams.
Clinical Child Psychology
Some schools offer a master's program that more specifically prepares students to enter doctoral study for clinical work with children, such as the program through Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. The clinical child psychology option is one of two available from the university that gives students the basics such as biopsychology, psychotherapy, assessment through emotion and behavior, addiction, ethics, prevention methods and research, all focused on young people. SIUE's program also requires numerous practicum experiences for supervised work in a clinical setting.
Child and Adolescent Development Psychology
A master's degree in child and adolescent development such as the one from Capella University opens opportunities to work as a children's program director, early childhood education specialist or family services agent, as well as providing a base for future Ph.D. work. Beyond statistics and research methods coursework, this specialization may include classes covering topics such as development through the different stages in life, multicultural issues in psychology and ethics, focusing more on the biological aspects of psychology than some other programs. Capella's program also requires a research project.
- Society of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology: Frequently Asked Questions
- Society of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology: Interested in Clinical Psychology Grad School? Here's What You Need to Know!
- University of Texas at Tyler: School Counseling MA Degree -- Online
- University of Northern Colorado: Educational Psychology Master of Arts: Teaching Applications Emphasis Online Degree Program
- Southern Illinois University Edwardsville: Clinical-Child and School Psychology
- Capella University: Child and Adolescent Development Specialization: Master of Science in Psychology
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