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The childhood development courses you will need to take will largely depend on what you are intend to do with your training. You can study various parts of childhood development or the development of special needs children. There are also various career paths one can take working with children, including teaching and child therapy or psychology. Parents might also choose to take courses to better understand their own children. The exact childhood development courses you will need to take will depend heavily on what you intend to do with them once you finish.
Teachers have to take childhood development courses based on the age group they want to teach. If you are aiming to enter this field, you will probably have to learn about early and middle childhood development if you will be teaching elementary school children. Your focus will likely be on how children in various age groups learn and effective teaching methods. Separate childhood development courses may be needed if you will be teaching high school students.
You will take much more extensive classes if you want to become a child psychologist or therapist. This will involve taking courses on not only the ways in which kids learn, but also on how the brain actually works and develops from the inside. You'll also learn about common learning disorders and how to treat them. You might study certain mental illnesses and other conditions as well as the proper ways to treat them in children. Many conditions may require specialized treatment in those under 18.
To determine which childhood development courses you need for your degree or certification program, you should speak with a student adviser at the school you want to attend. He or she can give you direction on the classes you will need, as well as any prerequisites needed before you can take those classes. If you are already working in a child-related field, your employer may give you information on the types of courses they would prefer you to take in order to move up within the company. Sometimes, employers might have their own training programs for current employees.
If you will get getting an advanced degree, take related child psychology courses before doing a masters or doctoral program. Your adviser can probably guide you in this area as well, but you should also check with the school where you want to obtain your advanced degree for further guidance. This will give you a better idea of what to study during your undergraduate programs.