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There are numerous careers in child psychology, all of which can be very rewarding. Child psychologists may work in various settings, including schools, hospitals, governmental settings, or in a private practice, and they may treat patients or perform research. At the absolute minimum, careers in child psychology require a master's degree, though most child psychologists pursue a doctoral degree as either a PhD or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). Every child psychologist is also required to be licensed in the state in which he or she practices.
One of the most common careers in child psychology involves working directly with children who have behavioral or mental issues. A child psychologist will typically work in a school or private practice, and may work with children until they are approximately age 12. He or she might assist children who are having difficulty dealing with issues such as a death or divorce in the family, or children who are suffering from hyperactivity, depression, or anxiety. A child psychologist employs different methods than an adult psychologist might, which is why a specialized degree is especially important. Each treatment needs to be tailored to the specific child, as age is a significant treatment factor.
Some careers in child psychology might focus on abnormal child psychology, which is a similar profession, but may focus more on the study and treatment of long term mood disorders, schizophrenia, psychopathology, sociopathy, or other personality disorders. Child psychologists will also need to administer psychological evaluation tests to children. In addition, he or she will need to work with teachers, family members, and other caregivers when planning treatment for the child.
Child psychologists will also often work with social workers and the court system as well, to assist families and children. In schools, a child psychologist may diagnose learning disorders and work with the child to improve his or her abilities. A psychologist may administer other tests in schools as well, including IQ tests.
Aside from these careers in child psychology, in which the psychologist will work directly with patients in order to treat them, another career path is developmental psychology. In this field, the psychologist typically conducts research to learn about the psychological development in children, including such issues as emotional and language development, and human behavior as a whole. A developmental psychologist will frequently work with patients as well, though it is primarily for research purposes.
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