How to Become a Child Psychologist

Everything you learn about the world starts when you’re a child. Traumatic events or mental, emotional, or physical disorders can fundamentally alter how a child sees himself, the world, and the people around him. Becoming a child psychologist is a powerful way to help children grow, thrive in their environments, and work toward overcoming developmental problems that could lead to depression and anxiety later in life. So if you’ve ever wondered “how do I become a child psychologist?” here are six straightforward steps to start you on your way.

Step One: Earn your bachelor’s degree.¬†Start your educational journey with a four year bachelor’s degree in psychology. Take as many classes as possible on child development, child psychology, and family dynamics. You’ll also have to enroll in statistics courses and general psychology classes.child psychologist near me

Step Two: Volunteer your time. During your time at college, scout out volunteer opportunities at hospitals and counseling centers. Watching and working with professionals as they treat children can give you the hands-on experience you simply can’t get in a classroom.

Step Three: Attend a graduate school program. When you reach your senior year of college, stop to celebrate, and then take the GRE exam. Good scores on this test, combined with your volunteer experience, will boost your applications to graduate school-which is a requirement for most aspiring child psychologists. Consider online master’s degree options as well, and be sure to have a few fallback choices in case your first pick for school is a no-go.

Step Four: Find a one-year internship. Once you’re finished with graduate school, you need to partake in a one- to two-year internship. Now’s the time to get your feet wet and work one-on-one with children. Another child psychologist will coach you and monitor your progress.

Step Five: Register for a psychology license. Before you head out into the work world on your own, you’ll need to register with your state as a licensed psychologist. Specific requirements vary, but every state requires some kind of license before you can start practicing.

Step Six: Work for others, then work for yourself.¬†With your license in hand, you’re ready to start your career as a child psychologist. Typically, you’ll start by working for a company that employs numerous psychologists to cover their large client lists. If you prefer your own office, however, consider striking out on your own after three to five years of gaining experience in the field.

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