The Career Path of a Child Psychologist
Do you fancy a career in the medical field and love working with children? Perhaps do things that are sure to have a lasting impact on people’s lives? If so, then you might want to consider pursuing a career in child psychology. Few other career paths in the medical field are as rewarding, although it does have it’s share of challenges.
Think about it — we all start our perception of the world as a child. Any traumatic experience, whether it’s physical, emotional, or psychological in nature, can impact children’s understanding of themselves and the world around them. Pursuing a career in child psychology will enable you to see children grow and adapt to their environment as you work on mitigating developmental issues that often cause anxiety and other debilitating problems later in life.
So how does one become a child psychologist, you ask? The following are some of the milestones that you’ll have to go through if you are genuinely keen on pursuing such a career path.
Earning a Psychology degree
The first step, of course, is to complete a 4-year course to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. At this stage, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take classes and learn about pertinent subjects like child development and household dynamics. In addition to Psychology-related courses, child psychologists also take up topics on statistics, which will enable them to make inferences and test their hypothesis.
While in college, it’s likewise an excellent opportunity to scout for some volunteer work in hospitals and clinics. There’s nothing like seeing a child psychologist in Sydney in action, which provides a wealth of experience that’s impossible to get in a classroom setting.
Join a Graduate School Program
Towards the end of your final year in college, you will be taking what’s known as the GRE (Graduation Record Examination) exam. Scoring high on this test, coupled with time spent doing volunteer work, will look good on your application for graduate school.
While not necessary, many of the best child psychologists in Australia go to graduate school to specialize in child psychology. Even then, your first school of choice may not approve your application. For this reason, it would be prudent to submit applications to as many graduate schools as possible and keep your options open until you make a decision.
Secure an Internship Program
The next step after completing graduate school is to find a suitable internship program that will allow you to work with children directly. Internships typically last for a year or two, and a licensed child psychologist will be assigned to monitor your progress.
Obtain your Psychology License
Before you can legally offer occupational therapy for children as a sole practitioner, you will need to obtain a license to do so. Particular requirements vary from state to state, but they all require a license to practice.
After you’ve secured your license, child psychologists are free to work for themselves or others. Most licensed psychologists work for companies with a large client base to rack up as much experience as possible before establishing a practice of their own.