Help Others as a Child Psychologist
If you desire a rewarding career helping children learn to successfully manage psychological disorders and heal emotional wounds, consider becoming a child psychologist.

What They Do

Child psychologists administer diagnostic tests, assess, diagnose and treat children who exhibit learning disorders, emotional development problems (such as challenges with social adjustment), and psychological disorders such as attention deficit disorder, plus substance abuse and family issues. They may create behavior modification plans to help the patient succeed and meet goals, and meet with physicians and other specialists to create specialized treatment programs. Sometimes other family members are included as a group or individually in the treatment process. Child psychologists may have their own private practice or see patients in a mental health facility, hospital, school or substance abuse center. Some teach in a college or university, conduct research or work in the advertising industry.

Qualifications

Child psychologists must have a doctoral degree in Child Psychology, Counseling or a related psychological field. To treat patients typically requires a 1-year supervised internship. Licensure and certification vary by state. To earn a Ph.D. involves research and analysis skills and the completion of a dissertation and usually takes from 5 to 7 years, depending on the school's program requirements.

The Demand

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for psychological services in hospitals, schools and mental health facilities is expected to expand by 15 percent between 2006 and 2016. Median annual earnings of wage and salary clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in May 2006 were $59,440. The middle 50 percent earned between $45,300 and $77,750. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $35,280, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $102,730.

Increased demand from government, social service agencies and schools and an emphasis on prevention of emotional disorders, substance abuse and family problems will drive growth in this field.