Child psychology is a specialist field within the broader ambit of psychology. A child psychologist studies the development of children from various perspectives, including the mental, emotional and behavioral aspects of the child. They look at the child’s cognitive functions, language skills or lack thereof, motor skills or lack thereof, etc. to determine if there are any major psychological disorders, including autism, behavioral issues, extreme fluctuations of mood, trauma, etc. A child psychology degree will train you in therapy methods and techniques, intervention techniques, journaling, besides teaching you the theories, concepts and principles of child psychology.
There are several subspecialties under child psychology such as pediatric child psychology, adolescent child psychology and abnormal child psychology, among others. These subspecialties essentially train you to work with children of different age groups. So, a pediatric child psychologist will primarily work with infants, while an adolescent child psychologist will primarily work with adolescents and young adults. Some child psychologists exclusive work with children affected by behavioral disorders.
If you’re interested in clinical practice, you will need a doctoral degree (certain online master’s degrees in child psychology are acceptable too) and a license from the American Board of Professional Psychology in the state you will be practicing. You will also need extensive supervised work experience to get licensed. Child psychologists typically work in schools, in the juvenile justice system or have a private practice.
Levels of Child Psychology Degrees
The levels of academic degrees in child psychology are the same as any other discipline within psychology. The bachelor’s degree is usually 4 years, the master’s degree is typically 2 years and the doctoral degree can vary between 5 to 7 years. Plus, there’s a period of internship or practicum of about a year or two that needs to be completed after a doctoral degree (and sometimes after a master’s degree as well). There are excellent child psychology courses online as well for each degree level.
Some of the courses you will be taught in a bachelor’s degree in child psychology include lifespan development, disorders of childhood and adolescence, child development and adolescent development, besides research and evaluation techniques. A master’s degree in child psychology will take you deeper into the subject and teach you courses such as social psychology, cognitive processes, intervention strategies and theories of personality. A doctoral degree will explore more nuanced issues such as development in the digital age, gender and development, advanced methods of reasoning and analysis, principles and foundations of behavior analysis of children and adolescents and diversity in development and learning, among others.
Top Child Psychology Courses Online
Let’s take a look at some of the best child psychology courses online.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers an online Master of Arts in Psychology: Child and Adolescent Development degree program. This online program will teach how to carry out an intervention during a crisis or for a child or adolescent suffering due to trauma or abuse, how to deal with addictive disorders, how to evaluate and treat juvenile offenders and evidence-based programs for youth. You will be trained to work as a counselor, in school and higher education settings, with government agencies and social service agencies focused on children and adolescents, mental care and treatment centers, etc.
Each student will be given access to an online Global Student Dashboard, where they can access coursework and assignments. Students can also use the platform to interact with each other or their instructor.
The program comprises 36 credit hours, with 21 credit hours dedicated to foundational psychology, 9 credit hours earmarked for the specialization in child and adolescent development and in the remaining 6 credit hours, students will work on an applied research project. The tuition is $1,164 per credit hour and there are certain additional fees. This online program allows students the flexibility to pursue it full time or part time. Full-time students complete the program with 12 months, while part-time students complete it within 24 months.
You must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution to apply for this program. You can apply online.
Capella University offers an online Master of Science in Psychology: Child and Adolescent Development degree program. The program is available in two different formats. In the first, known as GuidedPath, the schedule is set by Capella and you will have to meet weekly assignment deadlines. Academic coaches will help you through the process. You will also get to interact with other students via message board discussions, guided by faculty. You still get to decide whether you want to pursue the program full time or part time, but the added structure will help you stay on track. In the second, known as FlexPath, there are no pre-decided semesters or quarters. You create the schedule yourself. You finish a course and move on to the next. Plus, the deadlines are decided by you as well. The other advantage of FlexPath is that it’s subscription based. So, you get to control how much you spend on the degree. It’s ideal for working students. You $485 per credit in GuidedPath and $2,700 per 12 weeks in FlexPath.
Some of the courses you will be taught in this program include foundations of theory and practice in psychology, tests and measurements, survey of research methods, quantitative design and analysis, human prenatal development, topics in child and adolescent development, lifespan development, child psychology and adolescent psychology, among others.
Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University offers both online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology: Child and Adolescent Development and online Master of Science in Psychology: Child and Adolescent Development Psychology degree programs.
In the bachelor’s degree program you will be taught courses such as introduction to psychology, research: statistics for psychology, research: scientific investigations, lifespan development, disorders of childhood and adolescence, etc. In the master’s degree program you will be taught courses such as social psychology, cognitive processes, theories of personality, cognitive neuropsychology, intervention strategies, etc.
The bachelor’s program consists of 120 credits and the tuition is $320 per credit, while the master’s program consists of 30 credits and the tuition is $627 per credit.
Ideally, you should study child psychology at each of the three degree levels for a career in clinical practice. However, in case you majored in a different subject at the bachelor’s level and later developed an interest in child psychology, you can take up foundational courses in child psychology at the master’s level to get up to speed.