Psychologists treat patients who suffer from mental disorders or need a person to listen to their worries and concerns. For the most part, psychologists come in two forms. Counseling psychologists talk to people about problems with work, school or family issues and provide advice. Clinical psychologists, on the other hand, focus on the diagnosis, analysis, treatment and prevention of mental disorders. Like adults, children may need the assistance of a clinical psychologist.
Universities created psychology departments to train students to treat mental diseases. Children, like adults, have always suffered from psychological disorders. Psychologists created a developmental psychology specialization to provide assistance to children. Child psychologists are licensed only to treat children and are not allowed to have adults as patients. Child psychologists focus on a child's social and mental development.
Psychologists must meet strict education requirements. According to the 2010-2011 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, psychologists usually must obtain a doctorate degree before they can apply for a license to practice. Licensure requirements vary by state. Most states require a doctorate of psychology, an approved internship and at least one to two years of experience before a person can apply for a license to practice child psychology. Additionally, most states demand that applicants pass an examination. Some states also require psychologists to participate in continuing education programs to renew their licenses.
Psychologists earn a competitive salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists received a median salary of $64,140 in 2008. The bottom 10 percent earned $37,000 a year, while the top 10 percent earned well over $100,000. Child psychologists are considered specialists and usually receive between $64,000 and $85,000 a year. More and more psychologists are interested in developmental psychology because they can earn more than in other fields of psychology.
The job outlook for psychologists in all fields is promising. Specialists, such as child psychologists, are especially fortunate because their doctoral degrees make them very competitive. Child psychologists are hired by universities to teach and perform research. They are also in high demand by hospitals and private practices. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the need for child psychologists will gradually increase until 2014.
Child psychologists are needed in all parts of the World. Children, like adults, often suffer from psychological disorders. Children can benefit from the assistance of someone trained in developmental psychology. Unfortunately, children from less developed countries have a harder time obtaining help from a child psychologist. As a result, groups including Doctors Without Borders have sent child psychologists to countries around the world.