Working with children as a psychologist can be one of the most rewarding experiences in psychology. Children have unique struggles in today’s world. With the rise of social media and heightened understanding of cognitive development, child psychology is experiencing dynamic shifts in its understanding of how children learn, grow, and cope. If you have a passion for youth and would like to pursue a child psychology career, completing an online psychology degree is a great first step. In the meantime, consider these five careers in psychology that involve children:
Interested in understanding the achievement gap? Concerned about access to higher education? Becoming an educational psychologist means working with youth to understand how they learn. Using sociology and testing, educational psychologists find better ways for teachers to teach to different cultures, personalities, and learning abilities. Educational psychologists have been at the forefront of advocating for better services for children who learn differently and pioneering new methods of teaching and learning. With the advent of charter schools and growing inequity in the US in the public education system, educational psychologists will have an expanded role in public policy debates.
Counselors do some of the most critical psychological work. Often in public schools or community settings, counselors provide vital support to youth who would otherwise flounder with emotional and psychological difficulties. If you are empathetic and wish to mentor and support children who frequently have few supportive adults in their lives, this career is for you.
Want to combine your nostalgia for varsity football with your knowledge of “flow” states? Become a sport psychologist. Sport psychologists inspire youth to overcome obstacles through visualization, positive thinking, and cognitive behavioral approaches to emotions. This is a growing and exciting field that takes the best of positive psychology and applies it in a practical and fun way. Sport psychologists motivate youth to find inner resources to excel and can impact youth that are coming from undeserved communities in a profound way. Every professional athlete has a sport psychologist behind him or her, pushing them to dig more deeply and breakdown negative or defeatist thought patterns.
School psychologists play an instrumental role in today’s public schools. With many students on ADD and ADHD medication, school psychologists provide vital interface between staff and parents and can help struggling students access additional support. School psychologists play a critical role in the struggle to end drug and alcohol usage in school. While providing training and preventive education on substance abuse, sexuality, health issues, accessing psychological and health services, and self-care, school psychologists teach life skills and give youth a model of a healthy adult.
Special Education teacher
Special education is one of the fastest growing and most innovative fields in education today. Special education teachers work with children with autism, children with learning and cognitive disabilities, children with limited mobility and physical challenges, and children whose home environment has severely impacted their cognitive development. If you have a background in child psychology, you can provide critical expertise in the field of special education. Special education teachers need to have a deep understanding of child development to be successful and be deeply empathetic to the needs of the child, parents, teachers, support staff, and others. This field is rapidly expanding with great opportunities for individuals with a background in child psychology.