How to Become a Child Psychologist and Salary

Okoma V.
11 Min Read

How to Become a Child Psychologist and Salary: A desire to know child psychologists salary opens doors to several lucrative careers today.

These careers are centered on fostering mental wellness, healthy development, and academic success for young people.


Keep reading to know how to become a Child Psychologist and know the possible child psychologists salary as well.

Who is a Child Psychologist?

Child psychologists study learning patterns, behavioral developments, and environmental factors affecting children from infancy through adolescence.

They may specialize in developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, or adolescent psychology. Parents of children who have suffered trauma or who have physical, mental, or learning disabilities often seek help from child psychologists.


These professionals can work as counselors, advisors, or researchers for social, academic, corporate, or community programs. Read on to learn more about the practice of child psychology and how to maximize opportunities in the field.

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Many child psychologists work in private practices, often collaborating with academic and healthcare professionals. Depending on their specialty, child psychologists may work in the court system, daycares, elementary and secondary schools, government organizations, hospitals, or research facilities.

Successful child psychologists, therefore, possess the following core skills:

  • Strong Communication and Observation
  • Complex Problem-Solving
  • Analytical Evaluation
  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Motivation to Help Others

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Areas of Expertise in Child Psychology

Various concentrations address different patient needs basing on age or specific psychological or behavioral issues.


These areas of professionalism can, however, affect the child psychologists salary as well.

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The following sections detail the three primary concentrations in child psychology:

  • Adolescent Psychology
  • Developmental Child Psychology
  • Abnormal Child Psychologist

Adolescent Psychology

Adolescent psychologists like the name imply, therefore, work with patients between the ages of 12 and 18. They also examine issues relevant to teenagers.

These psychologists also develop a system of therapeutic techniques and behavior modifications for pre-teen and teenage patients through regular psychotherapy sessions and frequent communication with parents and family, teachers, and medical providers.


Examples of Issues Examined

  • Depression
  • Anger management
  • Anxiety
  • Eating disorders
  • Learning disabilities

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Developmental Child Psychology

Psychologists conduct research and therefore study how aging affects children by observing emotional and cognitive developments.

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Developmental psychologists also emphasize the impact of early development on later life.


Research methods such as systematic observation, structured interviews, and correlation exercises, moreover, are often used.

Examples of Observed Developments

  • Language
  • Moral understanding
  • Motor skills
  • Social skills
  • Identity formation
  • Environmental factors

Abnormal child psychologists

Abnormal child psychologists treat issues considered atypical by child psychology development standards, often the result of trauma, emotional or physical abuse also.

In severe cases, however, abnormal child psychologists may continue to see patients well into adulthood. Parents and families often also require consultation to understand the severity of the patient’s psychological issues and behavior.


Examples of Issues Treated

  • Anxiety
  • Mood disorders
  • Psychopathology
  • Sociopathy
  • Depression
  • Personality disorders

Child Psychologist Salary Estimate

Psychologists can, however, explore a variety of lucrative career opportunities across the field, focusing on different disciplines.

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They enjoy an annual median child psychologists salary of $79,010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In 2018, the lowest 10% of child psychologists salary is less than $43,800, while the highest 10% earned more than $129,250.

These salary figures, however, break down further by psychology type, with clinical, counseling, and school psychologists earning median annual wages of $87,450.


Industrial-organizational psychologists earn median annual wages of $111,150, while all other psychologists enjoy annual median wages of $98,230.

The top-paying industries for psychologists include government, hospitals (state, local, and private), ambulatory healthcare services, and elementary and secondary schools also.

Employment for clinical, counseling and school psychologists continue to grow since the demand for psychological services in schools, mental health centers, hospitals, and social service agencies remains constant.

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Be sure to know the child psychologists salary before picking an area of specialization.

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How to Become a Child Psychologist?

Becoming a child psychologist requires a minimum of a master’s degree, with a major in child development or clinical psychology studies.

Therefore, Psychologists need a Ph.D., which focuses on research, or a Psy.D., which focuses on clinical practice, to advance to top positions in the field.

Beginning at the master’s level, clinical internships and practicums are also integrated into the standard curriculum.

Individuals, moreover, need post-internship experience or fieldwork to obtain state licensure and professional certification.

Select the status that, however, best describes your present level of education in the field:


You’re an Undergraduate or Have Completed my Undergraduate

Declare as a psychology major

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Undergraduate psychology courses are likely to include:

  • Intro to Psychology
  • Behavioral Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Biological Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Statistical Methods

Consider a specialty

Focus your interest. Explore a niche related to child psychology.

Seek out professors or professionals working in your specialty and talk with them. Getting a head start on your thesis topic is always recommended.

Take the GRE

Look up minimum admittance score requirements for your school.


Practice taking the test multiple times.

Consider a paid GRE prep course if your scores are low.

Schedule your test date, leaving enough time to re-test if you need to try again for a higher score.

Get reference letters

Maintain a friendly relationship with your professors. Make an effort to stand out. They will remember you when it’s time to start requesting references.

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If you’ve fallen out of touch with your instructors or academic acquaintances, don’t feel intimidated about contacting them. Most likely, they will ask about your goals and interests to learn about your background and aspirations.


Choose a graduate school

Use our psychology database to find the best child psychology graduate programs. The school you select is directly related to your employment prospects post-graduation.

Choose a school with both a recognized child psychology program and a strong alumni network.

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You’re Pursuing a Graduate Degree

Come up with a thesis

This will create the framework of your early career. Ideally, you will already have decided where your interests lie. If not, don’t hesitate to select a research topic.

Input from professors can help flesh out a full hypothesis from your initial idea.


Find an internship

Aim to be working while you are in school. Internships can lead directly into jobs and networking opportunities, as well as strengthen your qualifications.

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Network with professors and professionals in the field

Networking is the most important part of the job-search process.

Hone your interview skills with the help of your school’s career services department. Professional communication and networking skills will prove advantageous throughout your entire career.

You Have a Master’s or PhD

Refine your resume and keep it current

Maintain a professional, relevant, and interesting resume.

Ask trustworthy friends or colleagues to proofread your resume and make suggestions for improving it.


Remember to update your resume frequently to include your most recent experience.

Start sending out job applications

Expect a long and laborious process from application and potential employment. Those with a systematic method will have the best chances of finding a job.

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Always customize your cover letters to each position.

Reach out to potential employers through LinkedIn; making a personal connection can increase your chances of being invited to interview.

Prepare for interviews

Ask friends to help you practice interviewing.


Research the company so that you can briefly describe its mission to your interviewer if asked.

Remember to dress professionally, bring your resume, and act respectfully.

You’re now a child psychologist

Congratulations! Remember, don’t stop building your career now. Pay attention to the latest developments in the industry and seek out new opportunities to advance your skills and grow your income.

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Licensure for Child Psychologists

Each state requires its own specific licensing requirements that professionals must meet. To practice child psychology, professionals must obtain licensure from their state’s licensing board.


In some states, however, psychologists working at a college, university, research laboratory, state or federal institution, or a research corporation might not need to obtain licensure.

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Licensing requirements also include meeting educational criteria. Most states require a doctoral degree in psychology from a regionally accredited college or university.

All states, therefore, require candidates for licensure to complete and pass the EPPP test, demonstrating their competencies in core areas of psychology. 


Usually, it takes about 7 years long or more to become a child psychologist which includes 1 year of experience. This timeline, therefore, helps you in gaining the necessary skills and hands-on experience to become qualified.


The Colleg Monk


Careers in Psychology


Bureau of Labor Statistics

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