Clinical Child Psychology Program
Degrees in Child Psychology: Are you interested in helping parents and their children to cope with traumatic events and other serious life issues? Are you detail-oriented, able to notice and record small observations -- yet personable and interested in being able to interact with and help children? If any of this describes you, a degree in Child Psychology online may be the right path for you to pursue. These degrees will help you get involved in a growing area of specialization that is absolutely critical to the well being of millions of children around the United States.
Degrees in Child Psychology prepare you for a number of counseling, educational, and research roles. You could find yourself as a staff psychologist at a school or school district, could become a counselor who works directly with children on a private basis, could work with any number of organizations that cater to young people, or could even go forward to achieve a medical degree and become a psychiatrist. The importance of mental health is becoming more and more clear to children and their caretakers, and great minds will be necessary in this valuable field.
Child Psychology Degree Levels Available Online
Undergraduate/Graduate Certificate: 1 year to complete
Associate Degree: 2 years to complete
Bachelor's Degree: 4 years to complete
Master's Degree: 1-3 years to complete
Doctorate Degree: 4-6 years to complete
Someone with a current background in Psychology or who is simply exploring the field for the first time may be interested in looking for a Child Psychology undergraduate certificate. These certificates generally do not prepare you to practice as a child psychologist -- instead, they serve to provide a broad introduction in the field. This will help you discover the rudiments of the psychological field and profession while still leaving your options open to pursue it further or specialize in some other way. Graduate certificates are also available to those with a current degree in psychology or some closely related field.
A bachelor's degree in Child Psychology will generally be presented to you as a general degree in psychology with a focus -- meaning several specialized classes -- in Child Psychology or what is known as "developmental psychology," relating the principles of psychology to the human mind throughout the life cycle. The bachelor's degree takes about four years to complete and will allow you to get a firm grounding in everything related to Child Psychology. This includes, for example, important theories and theorists in the field as well as the basics of conducting psychological research.
A master's degree in Child Psychology is usually the minimum requirement to be allowed to practice as a child psychologist. Depending on the material covered by your master's degree, you may be able to practice within a school or school district, at a private practice, or as a teacher who educates others who want to become child psychologists in the future. The master's degree is a highly specialized degree that usually includes a variety of research tasks in addition to specialized classes. With the background in research that you acquire as a master's degree student, you will usually be able to become a published scholar in the field as you prepare to graduate. This will also help you develop new approaches in Child Psychology.
Psychology is a field that places extreme value and emphasis upon the doctoral degree. If you wish to teach others about Child Psychology at an advanced level, you will usually have to pursue this degree. This degree is also required by a variety of different schools and by many of the private mental health practices and facilities that cater mainly to young people. While a master's degree may be completed in one or two years, a doctoral degree usually takes about four, approximately as long as your bachelor's degree took. During this time, you will finish some major, independent research in the form of the dissertation.
A Child Psychology admissions packet will usually include the following:
High School Diploma
High School Transcript
Letters of Recommendation
In Child Psychology, it is typically very important to be able to communicate well in writing. SAT and ACT scores that indicate a high verbal ability can help you to gain entry into an exclusive program -- even when you are competing against many very highly qualified applicants.
Online Child Psychology vs. Traditional College Programs
An online Child Psychology course is typically very similar to traditional courses. Many of the assignments will involve reading and evaluating psychological theories, case studies, and other material related to mental health. Discussions and chats may be held so that you can interact directly with your professors and with fellow students. You will learn a wide variety of advanced psychological material -- comparable to any conventional program.
Tuition and Accreditation
Accreditation is extremely important in psychology programs, and these programs are typically held to a very high standard. In addition to a university's regional accreditation, a program may be endorsed by various nationwide associations of psychology and mental health professionals. These endorsements are not required and some programs may not have them, but it is a good idea to compare accreditation standards between programs.
Tuition for an online program is typically lower than tuition for a traditional program. Annual tuition may range from about $6,000 to close to $22,000 depending on a college's reputation and the facilities that it offers.
Choosing the Best Child Psychology Degree
When choosing a Child Psychology degree, investigate how many graduates of your program go on to achieve higher degrees at other institutions and how many become employed as child psychologists. Also find out as much as you can about the professors in the programs; are they published scholars in Child Psychology? How much experience do they have? The more experienced your professors are, the more insightful your class material will be in this challenging and complex field.