Many people who choose to pursue psychology as a career already have a pretty good idea of the population they want to work with when they finish school. For some, being able to make a difference in children’s lives would be a dream come true. Here are four careers in psychology that directly deal with children and their unique problems.
1. School Psychologist
School psychologists work in elementary, middle, and high schools. They are primarily responsible for evaluating children for things like learning disabilities and emotional impairment. After evaluating students, they usually work with teachers, administrators, and parents to come up with individualized education plans according to the students’ unique needs.
In addition to evaluating students, school psychologist provide onsite counseling services. They may also perform crisis intervention with students who show visible signs of substance abuse.
2. Family Counselor
While family counselors often work as marriage counselors, they may also provide therapy for the whole family. Parents who are having trouble communicating with children or families going through trauma often enlist the help of a family counselor. Recently adopted children or children whose parents are in the process of a divorce may also benefit from family counseling.
Family counselors may also provide court-mandated therapy to juvenile offenders or kids in the foster care system. Some even work for government agencies to supervise custody visits.
3. Educational Psychologist
While school psychologists are mainly concerned with individual children, educational psychologists are concerned with groups. For the aspiring psychologist interested in both research and children, this career combines both to make a real impact on schools.
Educational psychologists study different population groups within schools to see how their needs are being met and whether or not present programs are effective. They may be concerned with minority groups, underprivileged kids, or students in special education. Whatever they concentrate their research on, they are the ones who design programs aimed at meeting the educational and emotional needs of all children in schools.
4. Child or Adolescent Psychologist
Child psychologists may work in a number of settings to counsel children, study learning disabilities, or even write books about child development and parenting. The majority of child or adolescent psychologists use their particular specialty to provide a unique kind of therapy to kids.
Because children’s minds work differently than adults’ minds, a child psychologist will use therapeutic techniques and treatments designed specifically for kids. Child psychologists may get kids to open up through role playing and play therapy, or they may use music and movement as tools. They may also help children deal with the side effects of medication they take for mental health problems, or they may help kids develop coping mechanisms to help them better live with disabilities.
Earning a Psychology Degree
To work as a psychologist in any of these fields that provide services to children, you need at least a online masters psychology. Further specializing and performing in-depth research by earning a PhD in psychology is a great way to have the meaningful career you’ve always hoped for.