Developmental psychology is a branch of psychology and a scientific approach that aims to explain and analyze how people change from infancy through old age.
Advanced careers such as child, cognitive, clinical and school psychologists heavily involve developmental psychology. An individual with a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology can be qualified to perform research and teach, and may work for laboratories, research institutes, public research firms and governmental agencies. Some psychologist may also be involved in research and development of ways for the elderly to maintain independence. There are also applied programs, such as youth programs or parent education, where a graduate with a bachelor’s or master’s degree would be qualified. You may also find work as a psychologist by working for museums, educational television or toy companies.
Developmental psychology is a specialized major at some schools, but it’s an integral part of many undergraduate programs in general psychology. Many schools of education and psychology allow students to pursue advanced degree programs in developmental psychology through the doctoral level. The Psy.D. is a clinical degree often based on practical work and examinations rather than a dissertation. In clinical, counseling, school, or health service settings, students usually complete a 1-year internship as part of the doctoral program.
School psychologists need an advanced degree and either certification or licensure to work. Common advanced degrees include education specialist degrees (Ed.S.) and doctoral degrees (Ph.D. or Psy.D.). School psychologist programs include coursework in education and psychology because their work addresses both education and mental health components of students’ development.
There are also some online options in the field of psychology, however these options may include both online and in-person requirements. These are some of the online options available:
- Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Psychology
- Online Master’s Degree Programs in Psychology
- Online Degree Programs in School Psychology
- Online Master’s Degree Programs in Child Psychology
Providing psychological treatment in a therapeutic setting requires integrity, patience, communication and analytical skills.. In most states, practicing psychology or using the title “psychologist” requires licensure. In all states, psychologists who practice independently must be licensed where they work.
The following are common career paths related to developmental psychology:
- Infant Developmental Psychologist
- Developmental Psychologist
- Licensed Psychologist
- Careers in Psychology and Human Behavior
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a 14% increase in employment for psychologists as a whole from 2016-2026 (www.bls.gov). In May 2018, the BLS estimated that psychologists earned a mean annual salary of $79,010. Competition for jobs for psychologists will vary by specialty and level of education obtained. Industrial–organizational psychologists are expected to face competition for positions because of the large number of qualified applicants. Industrial–organizational psychologists with extensive training in quantitative research methods may have a competitive edge. Candidates with a doctoral or education specialist degree and postdoctoral work experience will have the best job opportunities in clinical, counseling, or school psychology positions.