Overview of Available Online Child Psychology Degrees
Degree programs in child psychology are available at the, , , and level. The bachelor's program includes courses in brain and behavior, cognitive psychology, human memory, childhood and adolescent development, and human sexuality. While some choose to continue on for more schooling, graduates at this level can go on to become child advocates, social workers, teachers, and social services managers.
A master's degree is the minimum requirement to become a licensed counselor specializing in school or child psychology. Master's programs include advanced theoretical coursework, as well as clinical practicums that require interviewing and counseling patients. During the child psychology doctorate program, students usually work on a research project while also interning in a child psychology treatment setting. Working professionals may choose to attend a certificate program in child psychology to extend their knowledge of the field.
The educational and training requirements to become a licensed child psychologist are extensive and require much more than a four-year degree. A master's degree is the absolute minimum to practice as a child psychologist, though this is highly dependent on state laws; most states require that licensed child psychologists hold a PhD or a PsyD. Along with an advanced degree, those pursuing this career will need to complete a doctoral fellowship and a set amount of supervised clinical training hours.
Online Associate Degrees in Child Psychology
Associate degrees in psychology are generally similar, as they don't tailor to specific areas of focus, such as child psychology. Some associate programs will allow students to have a focus in child psychology with elective courses on early childhood development. Associate programs admit students with a high school diploma and usually take two years to complete. As a precursor to the child psychology field, an associate degree will provide students with psychology basics and fundamental information. General education courses will include English, history, math, fine arts, speech, composition, and biology. Psychology courses may include an introduction to psychology, developmental psychology, human behavior, child development, and history of psychology. Associate degrees are often tailored toward students who plan on continuing their education and receiving a or degree.
Almost all psychology careers, especially those in child psychology, will require a minimum of a master's degree, although many will require a PhD. Child psychologists will need to also be licensed to practice. If practicing in a school, licensure will come from the National Association of School Psychologists, and if practicing independently, licensure will need to be obtained from the state board. An associate degree will help students get jobs as administrative assistants or other entry-level positions in psychology offices until they advance their education.
Since an associate degree program in child psychology mainly covers introductory courses in psychology, most or all of the training in an online program is typically Web-based with Internet support tools and accommodating faculty. More advanced programs in the field, such as a master's or degree, are likely to involve a balance between online coursework and on-site laboratory instruction.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Child Psychology
A Bachelor of Arts (BA) in child psychology provides students with an understanding of the mental and behavioral development of children; it is often used as a stepping stone in the process of earning a master's degree. Applicants must have a high school education, and these programs take four years to complete.
The undergraduate child psychology curriculum contains a broad overview of the major facets of child development. Students study the developmental, behavioral, and learning disorders that can affect children at various stages in their lives, and they learn how a child's social or cultural environment affects his or her development. In addition to a foundation in psychology, bachelor's degree students also take courses in English, history, math, science, foreign languages, and other humanities areas before narrowing their focus during the last two years of the program. Many child psychology programs require students to complete an internship in a setting where they can observe child behavior, such as in a school or day-care setting.
Although the bachelor's degree is quite flexible and will prepare student for many different career paths, graduates will not yet be qualified to work as a psychologist, since that requires a doctoral degree along with licensure. They may choose to work for a social service organization or as a substance abuse counselor or child care worker. With a child psychology bachelor's degree, some graduates become elementary school teachers, provided they earn a teaching certificate. Preschool teachers and day-care operators do not need certificates but can benefit from a child psychology background. Other graduates work as social and human services assistants or go on to earn master's degrees in counseling.
Online Master's Degrees in Child Psychology
A Master of Arts degree in child psychology provides graduates with an advanced understanding of childhood mental, emotional, and intellectual development. Applicants typically have degrees in a relevant social science area; however, programs may accept applicants with other backgrounds, provided they have had foundational psychology coursework. Most programs last two to three years. Individuals who are interested in school psychology could alternatively pursue an Education Specialist (EdS) master's program in school psychology. Students must complete a thesis and research project during this degree program, as well. These programs discuss education theory and techniques, as well as psychological principles. They take about two years of full-time work to complete.