How do I get a Child Psychology Degree?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 11 January 2019
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There are several types of degrees that may be earned in child psychology. It should be noted these are most often more accurately referred to as developmental psychology degrees, and the latter term may be used with greater frequency when universities discuss their degree programs. In virtually all of these degrees, the term “child” or “developmental” is an add-on that might not be present on a diploma. Instead, many degrees simply reflect studies in psychology, though some may be more specific and state a study in child psychology degree.

The first possible child psychology degree is at the bachelor or four-year level in most schools. People will study general psychological concepts in their first few years and gradually add on more specific studies on developmental topics. Some of these can specifically focus on children, infants or adolescents, providing a more extended evaluation of this area. This degree in regular or child psychology could be excellent preparation for advanced studies. On its own, it may not provide much in the way of job opportunities, unless it paired with additional studies or credentials.


Many child psychology programs offer people the opportunity to get either a master’s degree or a doctorate. Again, in either of these programs focus would be on developmental psychology with special emphasis on children. In most cases, the master’s degree is thought less useful. It rarely allows people to practice as a psychologist and counsel children, though it might be of use in educational settings, particularly if people combined studies of educational and developmental psychology together. Yet, with only a master’s degree, a person cannot get a license to be a psychologist in most cases.

With that in mind, it makes sense for a person hoping to get a child psychology degree to aim for the doctorate. Though this involves more study, it usually means having the preparation needed to get a license in psychology. On this point, things can get a little confusing. Most regions require 1500 observed hours of work before people can be licensed, and when a license arrives, it's not specific to child psychology

Essentially, anyone might claim to have a child psychology degree, but this claim is only accurate if a person has spent significant time studying developmental psychology. This would suggest people apply to programs that specialize in this area, so they will have the opportunity to take many classes, and have a supportive faculty that can comment on doctoral research in this area. Those who claim to have a child psychology degree should be able to prove it by producing transcripts and original work that show this expertise. Fortunately, there are many psychology programs offering an Ed.D, Psy.D or PhD that have strong emphasis in this area.



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