What Can I Do With a Degree in Developmental Psychology?

What Does Developmental Psychology Involve?

Developmental psychology involves the study of the types of changes that can take place in human beings during the course of their lifetimes. While once only focusing on the development of babies and children, the field has now been expanded to focus on adolescent development, adult development and the ageing process over the entire life span of human beings.

The field of developmental psychology focuses on examining changes over a wide range of topics including cognitive development, conceptual understanding, moral understanding, personality, motor skills, problem solving, and social and personal development.

Developmental psychologists will often focus on areas such as how environmental factors can affect and altar a person’s behavior, or on whether children learn through experience or are born with certain mental structures. Their studies in these areas tend to focus on showing how people change over time, with the majority of the focus taking place in childhood, as this is the point in a person’s lifespan when the majority of changes take place.

Developmental psychology has a part to play in many diverse applied fields, including in child psychopathology, educational psychology, social psychology, cognitive psychology, ecological psychology, and forensic psychology. Some of the areas that developmental psychologists are currently focused on exploring include attachment theory, nature versus nurture, and social development theory.

Employment Outlook

The employment outlook may remain positive for the holder of a degree in developmental psychology, as there is a growing demand for developmental psychology professionals to assess, diagnose, and provide treatment for people with mental, developmental and emotional needs.

Career Options

School Counselor

A school counselor provides a safe environment for children to turn to when they are feeling troubled. They are employed in schools and offer advice and guidance to children who seek their help. School counselors are employed to aid students in coping with the demands of school and personal issues, as well as offering them support to help them succeed academically.

School counselors also offer counseling services in the areas of education and career paths to students. They can offer advice on which classes to choose and which colleges or universities to attend, as well as explaining various career options.

This occupation has an annual mean wage of $56,040, according to the latest data for 2014 (BLS).

Developmental Psychologist

A developmental psychologist’s role is to study the growth and development of humans throughout their entire lifespan. Some developmental psychologists will focus on a specific type of patient, such as young children who are exhibiting developmental delays; while others will work with a particular age range of people, such as teenagers or adults.

Some of the main tasks that a developmental psychologist may be involved in include examining ways to help elderly people keep their independence for longer; evaluating young children to see if they are showing signs of a developmental disability; or researching the ways in which children show moral reasoning.

Some areas where developmental psychologists may be employed include in psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, homeless shelters, or assisted living homes for people with a disability.

This occupation has an annual mean wage of $89,810, according to the latest data for 2014 (BLS).

Rehabilitation Counselor

A rehabilitation counselor is focused on helping people with disabilities to identify and achieve their goals in the areas of their personal lives, career path and independent living. They do this role through a counseling process. A rehabilitation counselor can work with a wide variety of clients, including people who are suffering from physical disabilities; sufferers of psychological disabilities; former offenders; disadvantaged youths; or the long term unemployed. They may also work in conjunction with other professionals including medical, rehabilitation and therapy professionals in their role as a rehabilitation counselor.

This occupation has an annual mean wage of $37,890, according to the latest data for 2014 (BLS).

Substance Abuse Social Worker

A substance abuse social worker provides therapy sessions to individuals and groups who are suffering from addictions, such as drug addiction or alcohol addiction. The role of the substance abuse social worker is to help their patient find the root of their addiction and help them address this cause as they continue their journey in sobriety.

There are a wide range of areas in which substance abuse social workers may be employed, and many of them find work in treatment settings such as outpatient centers, healthcare facilities, rehabilitation units, social agencies, correctional institutes, and residential centers. Substance abuse social workers may also work with the family members of addicts to help them to cope with the problems of their loved one. Areas such as eating disorders or gambling addiction may also be treated by substance abuse social workers.

This occupation has an annual mean wage of $45,820, according to the latest data for 2014 (BLS).

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