Developmental Psychologist

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Job Outlook:
Faster than average
Education: Doctoral or professional degree
Salary
Average: $100,800.00

What they do

Developmental Psychologist Duties Developmental psychologists are concerned specifically with the various social, physical, and mental processes that occur in an individual's lifetime, from infancy to old age. Areas of study include aging-related behavior and changes, abnormal developmental changes, and emotional development. Specialization in a specific period, like adolescence, middle age, or childhood, is possible. Practitioners may study developmental disabilities and conduct research. Their research may help uncover, for instance, methods to help elderly patients remain in their own homes and independent. Applied developmental psychologists take research findings and put them to use in healthcare and human services settings.

Work Environment

Developmental psychologists are interested in the emotional and psychological changes and growth individuals experience over their lifespans. They work in schools, hospitals, clinics, and universities, as well as in private practices.

Getting Started

How to Become a Developmental Psychologist

To become a developmental psychologist, one must earn a doctorate in developmental psychology and obtain state licensure.

Education Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the minimum education required to become an independently practicing psychologist is generally a doctoral degree (www.bls.gov). Developmental psychology programs at the doctoral level require students to take core courses in developmental theory, statistics, and methodology, as well as social and emotional development. Students may attend seminars in specialized areas.

Some holding a master's degree in the field may work under the supervision of a licensed, doctorate-holding psychologist, according to the North American Association of Masters in Psychology (www.enamp.org). Others with a psychology master's degree may work independently using a title other than a psychologist, such as psychological associate, psychological examiner, psychological assistant, or psychological practitioner.

Licensure Information

All states require that psychologists who work with patients in a counseling or clinical setting obtain licensure, says the BLS. Licensure may not be required for psychologists working in a university, research lab, or a state or federal agency, in some states.

In addition to the completion of an accredited doctoral program, according to the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB), licensure as a psychologist generally requires completion of supervised experience totaling 3,000 hours (www.asppb.org). Candidates must also pass an examination such as the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.

Developmental psychologists look at the broad scope of human development focusing on environmental, social, and cognitive factors that influence our lives. Most research and teaching positions as well as clinical practice require a doctorate, although some may find employment with a master's degree.

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