What Do You Need to Start a Career in Developmental Psychology

The field of developmental psychology was originally concerned with the mental and psychological development and changes of infants and children. However, now the field has extended its scope of study to teenagers, adolescents and even adults. A developmental psychologist studies areas such a personality, motor sills, emotional development, problem solving, moral understanding and so on.

If you have the interest and patience for studying the mental and psychological growth of a patient throughout their lifespan, then you should become a developmental psychologist. The first thing you need to do in order to be a step closer is to seek academic qualification and certification for becoming a psychologist. Education and certification are extremely important in almost all fields of science, and developmental psychology is no exception.

Importance of Higher Education

Advanced academic concepts, routine academic exercises and examinations have the effect of expanding ones thinking, horizon and thought processes. They develop a student’s mind, intellect and thinking capacity – all of which have a positive impact on the student’s future in the job market.

The job market is extremely competitive these days and it is not going to get easier. This is why educational qualifications and accomplishments are given high weightage when trying to stand out among a crowd. Job hunters and potential employers may prefer candidates who meet or fulfill academic requirements when selecting new recruits. Therefore it is important for you to pursue a degree in psychology if you want to become a developmental psychologist.

Degree Options and Requirements

Developmental psychology is a popular field of psychology and hence has a number of degree options for students and interested professionals who are trying to gain the competitive edge for their careers. Degree options include bachelors, masters, and doctorate. Each degree has its set of requirements and advantages that should help students.

To start their career in developmental psychology, students must first go through an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in psychology – the most commonly picked option is a bachelor’s degree as it is more thorough and comprehensive for students. To enter either one of these programs, students should have successfully completed a high school diploma with a background in science. At the undergraduate level of education, a student mostly comes across subjects pertaining to general psychology as well as other supplementary courses for a well-rounded and thorough academic experience.

There may not be many options for a focused bachelor’s degree in developmental psychology. Bachelor options in general psychology are plenty. In this case you can opt for a focus in developmental psychology at the master’s level. However, you may find other undergraduate concentrations in developmental psychology such as associate’s degrees or diplomas.

The option to focus on developmental psychology on a more extensive level is presented in a master’s program. To enter into a master’s program, you will need to have a recognized undergraduate qualification in psychology from a reputable academic program. In a master’s program you can focus on developmental or child psychology exclusively. The course work, training material and research work will be largely revolving around the subject of developmental psychology and this will give students a chance to build a solid foundation of the subject.

Students also have the option of a doctorate in developmental psychology. The level of this academic qualification is quite advanced and focuses on research and training. Here students may prepare a research paper, thesis or dissertation which is crucial to their grade and completion of the doctorate. Education at this level is more practical and applicable than it is theoretical. A doctorate is a great qualification to have for candidates who are looking for a boost in their careers.

Career Potential

The average annual salary for a developmental psychologist is $67,000 (indeed.com). This figure is likely to increase as you gain more market experience and a keen understanding of the market’s dynamics. Your experience with working on a number of cases and patients is vital to your growth and expansion in the circles. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), the employment growth of psychologists during 2010 to 2020 is expected to be 22%.

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