What degrees can I earn?
Currently no BA or BS degrees are offered in developmental psychology. Students who enroll in developmental psychology graduate programs frequently study general psychology as undergraduates. Graduate students then focus on developmental psychology to earn masters, PhD or PsyD degrees, which are the top degrees you can receive in the field.
Students who want advanced training but do not want to enroll in doctoral programs can pursue masters online psychology degree programs that specialize in subfields of developmental psychology, such as leadership and childhood development.
Online developmental psychology certificate programs are most applicable to individuals who already have a bachelors or advanced degree in psychology or professionals who want greater training within an area of developmental psychology. Frequently, developmental psychology certificates, such as the University of Minnesota’s Applied Development Psychology Certificate Program, specialize in a subfield within developmental psychology rather than examine broader concepts of the discipline.
Admission into certificate programs varies, as some require students to be enrolled in doctoral programs or have training in developmental psychology. Students can complete most certificate programs in 1 year, which includes 18 to 22 credit hours.
There are currently no programs that award an on-campus or online bachelors degree in psychology in this discipline, as most undergraduate students interested in developmental psychology declare general psychology as their major. There are no prerequisites for students to become majors in psychology, although BS programs often require students to have taken introductory statistics courses before declaring their major in psychology. Most BA and BS majors graduate within 4 years with 30 to 40 credit hours in the major.
Students usually receive their developmental psychology masters degrees through 1 of 2 means. They are awarded masters degrees as they complete PhD or PsyD programs in developmental psychology, or they pursue MA programs in order to specialize in a field like childhood or adult development. The specialized field is stated on the degree. Students usually finish an on-campus or online masters in psychology in 2 years, completing between 35 and 42 credit hours.
Students in developmental psychology usually prefer a PhD program rather than a PsyD program, as the former is more established, better funded and more abundant. Developmental psychologists who have a PsyD instead of a PhD in psychology receive their doctorates in clinical psychology and choose to specialize in developmental psychology as a subfield. Doctoral programs in developmental psychology can take anywhere between 3 and 6 years to complete and include 102 to 107 credit hours.
Are there any online programs ?
There are some online accredited developmental psychology colleges, with most specializing within a subfield of the subject. For example, Kansas State University offers an online graduate certificate and masters degree in that focuses on youth development. Some online developmental psychology schools, such as Pacifica Graduate Institute, offer low-residency online MA and PhD programs, which allow students to receive on-site clinical training.
The best online developmental psychology program offers students hybrid options that incorporate on-site clinical training with faculty members and other experts. Online colleges and traditional universities have a range of certificates and graduate degrees available to students.
Currently no program offers an on campus or an online developmental psychology bachelors degree. Individuals who enroll in online developmental psychology masters degree programs can gain expertise within an area of the subject while still working full time.
Students should be clear on their goals in pursuing further training in developmental psychology before enrolling in any graduate program. For full-time professionals who want more in-depth training within a specific area of the subject but do not want to commit to a doctoral program, an online certificate or masters might make the most sense. On the other hand, students or professionals who prefer research and want a more comprehensive education in developmental psychology should look into doctoral programs.
What kinds of developmental psychology classes will I take in my program?
Undergraduate classes in psychology include an introductory survey course that explores general theories of psychology and clinical practice. Students also take core classes in social, cognitive and developmental psychology. In addition, BS students in psychology take introductory classes in statistics. Undergraduates taking top online psychology courses should also be offered a similar range of introductory classes.
Advanced doctoral programs have several key academic components. Graduate students usually spend the first year reviewing systematic theories of developmental psychology and become well versed in an array of concepts and methodological issues. During the second and third years of PhD programs, students take advanced seminars in their chosen subfields, such as adolescent behavior or aging processes.
Online developmental psychology courses for doctoral programs offer a similar curriculum while core classes for online masters programs differ, depending on the specialized field that the program is covering. For example, online masters programs specializing in child development include courses in early childhood assessments and theories of child development and behavior.
What careers can I choose from?
Most developmental psychology jobs focus on children, teens and the elderly. Developmental psychologists pursue work in schools, nonprofits and hospitals and frequently work with mentally disabled children and adults.
The best careers in developmental psychology include working as a school psychologist, clinician and general psychologist. The developmental psychology salary in these areas tends to be high, as most of these careers in psychology require a doctoral degree.
School psychologists administer and interpret developmental tests for students who have learning or emotional disabilities. They provide recommendations for student placements and work with school administrations in developing curricula and improving overall academic performances. School psychologists also work with students’ families to address serious learning or behavioral problems. All schools require school psychologists to have an advanced degree, with many requiring a PhD or PsyD. The annual salary for a school psychologist is about $67,000.
Clinicians are usually hired by organizations that specialize in child and family services. They complete developmental assessments of children, which include emotional and cognitive evaluations. They are also placed in supervisor roles in health and mental clinics and work with staff in coordinating programs and setting goals. Most clinicians have a doctoral degree in developmental psychology or a related field such as clinical psychology. Their average annual salary, like school psychologists, is about $67,000.
General psychologists are frequently private practitioners who either have their own practice, work as consultants or have supervisory roles at counseling centers. They provide psychological treatment services to children and adults, give diagnostic evaluations and develop behavior programs and clinical treatments for clients. Some general psychologists provide consultation to hospitals and child protection services and help admit people into clinics for treatment. General psychologists must have a doctoral degree and be state licensed. On average, they make about $90,000 a year.
Is there anything else I should know about getting a degree?
As most students pursue developmental psychology training in order to become clinicians, developmental psychologists are required to be state licensed in order to provide patient care. Licensure examinations vary from state to state. In order to sit for an examination, you must have an advanced degree from an accredited program. For developmental psychologists pursuing direct clinical or counseling work, you must have a PhD or PsyD, 1 to 2 years of clinical training and 1 to 2 years of supervised work experience before you can qualify to take the state license examination.
Most states require psychologists who work as health service providers and perform direct clinical work to complete a specified number of hours of continuing education every 2 to 4 years. For example, Indiana requires all licensed psychologists providing health services to complete 40 hours of continuing education every 2 years in order to renew their state board licenses. Continuing education might include post-graduate developmental psychology certification programs and more specialized psychology certifications in adolescent, youth and adult development.