wikiHow to Become a Child Psychologist

A child psychologist has a doctorate degree in psychology (some positions only require a Masters degree), with a special interest in working with children. Although there are no specific degrees for child psychology, you may choose to make working with children or doing research in child development your focus in the program. If you want to become a child psychologist, you will most likely have a specific interest in subjects concerning children and families, and may do research in these fields during your doctoral program, such as focusing your thesis on it. Once you have graduated, you'll complete your training in the field of child psychology before becoming licensed, and then will focus on a career in counseling or aiding children.


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    Focus on studying child psychology in college. Find a college that has a good 4-year degree program in the field of psychology, and offers several different child psychology and child development classes for undergraduates.
    • Take as many psychology, social sciences, statistics in psychology, child psychology and child development classes as you can while you are an undergraduate. Graduate schools look at these courses when decided on who gets accepted into the master's and doctorate programs.
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    Prepare and take the Graduate Readiness Exam (GRE). You will need a certain number of points on this exam before you can apply and get into graduate school. Graduate schools use the scores to compare their applicants and decide who gets accepted to these highly competitive programs.
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    Take specialized classes and do research projects in the field of child psychology once you've been accepted into your graduate program. Your program adviser can help you decide which ones are best for you.
    • In graduate school you can get a master's degree (either the Master of Arts or Master of Science degree) in psychology concentrating in child psychology and child development. Or you can obtain the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Child Psychology.
    • During your program, take classes specified to your field, such as child psychopathology, behavioral therapy, family therapy and legal parameters. Focus on classes that will develop your skills in the behavioral, cognitive and biological bases of psychology.
    • Some advanced courses in graduate school that you'll need are child development theories, professional evaluation, adolescent personality assessment, research method and design, and lifespan development.
    • You'll most likely need to complete your thesis, a research project where you can choose to focus on a topic in child psychology, in order to graduate.
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    Apply for state licensing in the state you wish to practice in once you've completed graduate school. You will now be able to call yourself a psychologist.
    • Check with the state you wish to practice in to learn their requirements for licensing.
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    Complete a postdoctoral fellowship in child psychology. Continue to focus on specializing with children and adolescents. You will then be required to take and pass a specialty board exam.
    • You will take the Board Examination as given by the American Board of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (ABCCAP) to certify that you have completed all of the requirements of the specialty.
    • You will also take an exam that will assess your competency to provide quality services in the specialty of Clinical Child Psychology.
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    Complete 2 years of experience in a practice that focuses on treating children and adolescents.
    • One of those 2 years should be spent in a post-doctoral residency program, focusing on child and adolescent psychology.
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    Look for a job in the field of child psychology. There are several different types of entry-level child psychology jobs.
    • Put your skills to work in a number of different areas where you can work with children. Work as a social worker or therapist, become a teacher, or begin working for an existing child psychology practice.


  • You have to be calm with children while working with them.

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Categories: Psychology Studies | Health Care