Child Psychology - Opportunities

Child Psychology

An understanding of Child Psychology has applications in a very wide range of Jobs.

Teachers, Play leaders, Child Care Workers, Toy manufacturers and retailers; to mention only a few; all need to understand and apply child psychology. in their day to day work.


Getting Started

For many people, the starting point can be a short course, certificate or diploma course, coupled with work in a related job -perhaps as a play leader, tutor, youth worker sports coach, family counsellor; or even something as simple as running children's parties or working in a toy shop.

  • Working in a job where you use child psychology, is more often than not, something other than being a child psychologist (even if that was your original aim)
  • The best child psychologists are people who have a broad outlook; who have worked with children in a wider context for a number of years, gaining experience as they move through their academic studies.
  • Many people who commence studies, with an aim to become a child psychologist, will develop interests and opportunities throughout the course of their studies, that will lead them into related jobs, but away from their original goal.
  • It is important to keep your options open in this, and any career. Looking at a career when you commence studies is not always the same as looking at it at the end of your studies. As you learn, your perspective will inevitably change. This is not because your interest and concern for child development changes though. It is simply because your studies will enlighten you, and allow you to see the industry in a different way to how you did when you commenced studying.  

Typical Jobs or Career Paths

Typically, careers in child psychology begin with university study followed by further professional development within your chosen specification.It is a diverse field with many different options and specialisations.

Career options include the following, and more–

  • Child psychologist – children with learning disabilities
  • Child Counsellor (or family counsellor) 
  • Helping Children with disabilities
  • Helping Children with emotional problems
  • Helping Children with behavioural problems
  • Educational psychologist (working within an educational setting with children dealing with– learning disabilities, emotional problems, behavioural problems, school phobias, difficulties at school and so on.
  • Play leadership, Camp Leadership, Child Welfare, Children's Health, Aid organisations, Family Services, etc
  • Teaching, Tutoring
  • Children's Media -writing, broadcasting, etc
  • Toys, and other children's products

Usually educational psychologists work with children under 19 years of age.

Who Employs a Graduate?

Typical employers may include –

  • Local Education Authorities
  • Local and State Government
  • Welfare Organisations
  • Parents
  • Private Practice

Positions are usually available part and full time and on a temporary or permanent basis.

What about Becoming a Child Psychologist?

In reality, most people who start out with an aim of becoming a child psychologist; will never end up reaching that goal. There are very good reasons for that!  For a start, most of the job opportunities that exist for working with child psychology, are things other than being a child psychologist. People who study degrees in Child Psychology will normally encounter lots of different opportunities to work with children in other types of jobs, before they ever encounter an opportunity to work as a Child Psychologist.

There is no easy or obvious road to becoming a child psychologist.

High level university qualifications are essential; but qualifications alone will never make you into a good child psychologist.  It is important to develop broad life skills and experience at the same time as studying; even if that means your studies take many more years to complete. The studies without experience will greatly limit your opportunities, and the experience without studies can similarly limit your opportunities.

You can either become a clinical or counselling psychologist who specialises in working with children, or an educational psychologist and work with children within educational settings.Working with children can be stressful, but rewarding and stimulating. Child psychologists are in high demand in many areas and will work within a range of different settings – schools, foster care settings, child care settings etc.They can also work in private practice working with children who are suffering emotional problems, learning disabilities and so on.Educational psychologists typically apply psychological theories and techniques to helping children and young people with difficulties.

Remuneration and Advancement Opportunities​

Child psychologists are fairly well paid, with payment increasing the further up the promotion ladder they go. It will also depend if they are working in private practice or for a government organization. Figures vary from country to country and the role will slightly differ from country to country.

Advancement within the field will depend on further qualifications and experience within the career. Educational psychologists and child psychologists may move up the promotional ladder to become managers or may move into education and training.

Professional Bodies

Membership of Professional bodies is useful to encourage networking and that you are kept up to date with current trends.Some will require an annual fee to join, whilst others will require evidence of your educational attainment and experience. Some will offer reduced fees for students. Organizations include –

  • Complimentary Medicine Association
  • British Psychological Society
  • The Association of Educational Psychologists
  • British Association of Counselling and Psychology
  • Australian Counselling Association
  • International Play Association;  etc

Career Risks

There are risks associated with every careers. Working with children can be stressful and demanding. Also, there may be situations where the children can display challenging and violent behaviour. However, you would be trained to deal with those sorts of situations and would often receive supervisory support to deal with any emotional or stressful difficulties you may face.

The best way to minimise career risk is to ensure your experience and training is broad based. That way, when governments cut budgets, or society faces an economic down turn; you will always have a series of different options for work. 

Suggested Courses

Knowledge and experience is important, so ACS offer some courses in educational psychology and child psychology that you may find a useful introduction to further study.

Advanced Certificate in Psychology 

The course is divided into 9 modules/subjects as follows: 2 x Core (compulsory)

Modules: Introduction to Psychology, Psychology and Counselling and six elective modules from - Industrial Psychology, Educational Psychology, Sports Psychology, Child Psychology, Biopsychology I, Marketing Psychology, Conflict Management, Research Project 1 plus Industry experience 100 hours. This Advanced Certificate is accredited through the International Accreditation and Recognition Council.This course can be counted towards credit for higher qualifications with ACS Distance Education, WarnboroughUniversity and other ACS affiliate institutions.

Associate Diploma in Psychology

This course is different and unique, allowing you to gain a solid and broad base foundation in theoretical psychology at the same time as developing a variety of practical skills that will be useful in the workplace. Graduates are not psychologists (A psychologist needs higher university qualifications), but they will have a capacity to apply psychology in real life situations (eg. as a manager, a counsellor, a marketer or a consultant). The course is divided into 15 modules. Seven compulsory modules must be undertaken by all students, and eight electives can be selected from a range of options listed below. Compulsory modules - Introduction to Psychology, Psychology and Counselling, Counselling Techniques, Industrial Psychology, Child Psychology, Research Project, Industry Meetings (eg. Seminars, conferences) or Work Experience (eg. volunteer counselling). Eight elective modules also need to be chosen.  

Child Psychology 
Develop an understanding of  how children think, and how their psychology changes as they develop. This course will be of value to anyone who works OR lives with children (e.g. parents, play leaders, teachers, etc).

Developmental Psychology 
This course is aimed at people working with people of any age in a counselling, supporting, or teaching capacity, who will benefit from understanding how physiological and psychological changes over the lifespan affect human behaviour. Parents and carers will gain greater insight into issues that present particular challenges at different stages of the life span, especially from adolescence to old age.  This course also sets the theoretical framework for studying our Child Psychology course, and other courses that may be offered down the line, such as Adolescent Psychology and Psychology of Aging.

Educational Psychology 
This course will benefit a wide range of people, including:

  • parents in developing a better understanding of how their children develop
  • teachers, training officers or any other educationists involved in the education of children or adults
  • welfare workers or recreation officers (voluntary or professional) in developing a better understanding of the educational development of persons they deal with.




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