How Do You Become a Developmental Psychologist?

become a developmental psychologist

Developmental psychology is an important component of mental healthcare as a whole, and developmental psychologists are the pros right at the heart of the work. What is this type of psychology all about, and who are the professionals at the head of it all? Read on for the answers.

Developmental Psychology: The Basics

Developmental psychology itself is the field of psychology focused strictly on human development and how the human psyche works and develops at different points in the human life span. Most development occurs in the childhood years, but, as it turns out, not all development ends here. What factors affect human psychological development? How can these factors be controlled to assure the best outcomes at various points in the human brain’s development? These are the concern areas of developmental psychology.

The Developmental Psychologist’s Role

The developmental psychologist is the professional who sits squarely at the helm of the practice of developmental psychology today. These are the specialized psychologists that are specifically trained and able to work in this area of the field. But what exactly do these professionals do over a day?

In general, these specialists provide two duties. For one, they help individual families they work with. The other duty they perform is to provide information to the greater health and scientific world regarding the findings of their studies and work. To that end, the place of employment for the developmental psychologist is the prime decider of which main function they engage in the most. If the developmental psychologist works largely one-on-one with children in a therapeutic setting such as in a therapy practice office, their work will mostly contribute to the well-being of their patients directly. If the developmental psychologist works at a research facility such as a college or private research company, then most of their contributions will likely benefit the greater healthcare community as well as the developmental psychologist working in the therapy setting as mentioned above.

The Road to Becoming a Developmental Psychologist

Becoming a developmental psychologist involves much of the same schooling required of most other types of psychologists. This includes the earning of a master’s or doctoral degree in psychology in addition to subsequent state-approved licensure. In fact, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, all states require these minimum criteria to practice using the title “psychologist” to any capacity.

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Developmental psychologists, however, must major in developmental psychology specifically during their degree program, setting them distinctly apart from professionals trained in other areas of psychological expertise. What kinds of knowledge does this particular study branch of psychology entail? To give some basic idea, here are some of the courses students must conquer on their way to graduating from an upper-level developmental psychology degree program.

  • Advanced Statistics
  • Research Methods in Developmental Psychology
  • Cognitive Development
  • Social Development
  • Neuroscience in Psychology
  • Child and Adolescent Development
  • Administration and Leadership
  • Health and Human Development
  • International Perspective in Developmental Psychology

Subsequent licensure to become a practicing developmental psychologist varies from state to state. The American Board of Professional Psychology is one major awarding entity when it comes to licensure. Another is the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology. Ultimately, the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards is the authority all are recommended to inquire when determining which licensing approach or provider is best per the individual’s situation or location.

Developmental psychology is a special area of the greater field of psychology that holds its very own basis of knowledge and practice. The key worker in this field of expertise is the developmental psychologist. The above-mentioned duties and educational requirements associated with this career only bolster its place in psychology today. In conclusion, more information on developmental psychology can be gained by directing further inquiry at the American Psychological Association.

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