What Types of Careers Are in Developmental Psychology?

If you have an interest in human behavior over the course of a lifetime, you may be curious to learn about careers in developmental psychology. This field examines the ways in which people develop at different ages and determines the kinds of psychological milestones that should normally be expected at different stages, according to the American Psychological Association. While there are positions relevant to developmental psychology at various levels of education, career options become more plentiful and lucrative with the attainment of a Master’s of Doctoral degree. Here are some of the more common careers in the field of developmental psychology for your consideration.

Early Childhood Education Specialist

Early childhood education specialists are professionals who are employed by public or private preschools or other childcare centers. They use their knowledge of child development to support the teachers and staff regarding implementing the educational curriculum, handling issues regarding individual students or complying with educational law and policy. These specialists provide instructional support, assist in the preparation of an educational approach that is developmentally appropriate and assess the developmental needs of students. They likely hold a Bachelor’s in Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Special Education or other program that centers around the needs of young children.

Residential Youth Treatment Specialist

Residential youth treatment specialist is another one of the types of careers in developmental psychology. It is possible to be hired with only a high school diploma, but academic understanding of developmental psychology will make you more marketable, as well as making your job easier. These professionals are tasked with supervising and guiding the activities of youth who have been remanded to a residential treatment facility. The ages and genders are such agencies are likely to vary, which is why a broad knowledge of psychological development can be so beneficial in this job. Residential youth treatment specialists will need to assist in teaching and modifying youth behaviors, provide appropriate discipline action for infractions and communicate in both writing and verbally regarding incidents and observations.

Developmental Psychologist

A developmental psychologist can work in a number of settings such as schools, health agencies, research facilities or even in private practice. They also treat people of various ages and specialize in any number of areas. They can provide individual, group, couples or family therapy. In such cases, you would need to develop a treatment plan that addresses the needs of individuals and utilize counseling strategies to assist them in managing presenting issues. In a research capacity, your task would be to study human behavior at significant life stages in order to determine appropriate actions, as well as ways of effectively changing inappropriate behaviors. Developmental psychologists serve as consultant to organizations like schools or insurance agencies, as well. A doctorate, either Ph.D or Psy.D, is required for these positions.


Professors at the college or university level also usually need to have an earned doctoral degree. Professors of developmental psychology courses will teach undergraduates and graduate students the theories and information they need to know within the subject area. If you choose to pursue this academic route, you may also be expected to undergo research and submit articles based on that research to professional journals.

Related Resource: Comparative Psychology Careers

There are a variety of ways in which you can utilize an academic background in this field. Many types of careers in developmental psychology are available, depending on your interests and educational aspirations.

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