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March 13, 2017

How to become a child psychologist

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You need a qualification to become a child psychologist

The way that we think about child development has changed. In the past, children were seen as little adults whose minds were effectively blank slates. They were dressed and treated like grown-ups, with exposure to education believed to be all that was needed to progress. We now know that how we learn is far more complex and animalistic, stemming from both our interactions with other people and the world around us.

Child psychology is one of the most popular branches of the field and explores the way that our brains and behaviour advance over time. Studying development from the womb until adolescence, offers a fascinating insight into our mental, emotional, physical and social growth. The topic encompasses cognitive development, motor skills, language building and personal identity. By taking a closer look, we can identify cause and effect, enabling us to seek solutions for struggling children. This week we’re thinking about how to become a child psychologist, and why understanding young people matters.

Why learn more about child psychology?

Our first few years can have an irreversible impact on our lives and coping mechanisms. Many children need extra support and psychologists play a crucial role in keeping families together and protecting vulnerable young people. Find out how to become a child psychologist in the UK and take on a job in a profession which is both challenging and rewarding.

If you have an enquiring mind, and a passion for giving back to the community, this career path is for you. Becoming a child psychologist could see you helping clients from diverse backgrounds. By looking at behaviour from different perspectives and within a variety of cultural frameworks, you can diagnose and treat social, emotional and cognitive problems.

How to become a child psychologist and support children as they learn

What do child psychologists do?

Child psychologists look for patterns in learning and behavioural development issues. They work with children that have been through traumatic situations or with lifelong conditions such as autism. Clients will often have a combination of problems that require patience and time to address. Treatment can involve Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and working together with a child to manage their emotions in a healthier way.

The challenges of becoming a child psychologist include keeping young people engaged and committed to any counselling programmes. What makes the work that professionals do so vital is that they look for ways in which past environments and lack of care has led to current problems. Seeking to fully understand children is one of the most effective ways to help them.

The internet has made it much easier for people to share their experiences of raising children and to publicly celebrate milestones. More than ever before we are striving to make sense of developmental changes and passing on our findings. Mums and dads often find that a basic knowledge of psychology enhances their parenting techniques. Family life can improve if consequences are used to influence behaviour, and learning more about child development can help parents to set age-appropriate expectations. As a professional, your task will be to pass on strategies to your clients, ensuring that their children grow into well-adjusted adults.


Becoming a child psychologist enables you to help a child that needs extra support

What qualifications do I need to be a child psychologist?

To become a professional psychologist, you need to go to university and gain a degree. Students must also work towards a master’s or PhD, before they can specialise in areas such as educational psychology, counselling or clinical psychology. Child psychology has no direct route, but can be the next step from many of these fields. If you’re new to the subject, then learning with Stonebridge will introduce you to a range of child psychology topics. Build the confidence to make the leap to higher education, as you discover more about:

  • How we start to smile.
  • The ways in which attachments first form.
  • The effects of maternal deprivation.
  • Why interactions with family members are important.
  • Efficient research methods and ways of interpreting data.
  • How our visual perception increases to judge distance and depth.
  • The development of language and communication skills.
  • Different ways in which we define and test intelligence.
  • The nature/nurture debate and gender roles.

The course offers an in-depth look at psychological studies, alongside interactive resources. You can work from home, in your own time, and this flexibility will enable you to train for a new career, without affecting family life or your full-time job. You’ll come away with a strong academic base, that you can tailor to any number of education and employment pathways.

Career progression

Becoming a child psychologist will offer a starting salary of at least £31,000, with scope to reach £98,500 per annum with experience. By taking an introductory course, you can add to your CV and show a commitment to learning that will impress future employers.

Child psychology qualifications are also an ideal way for parents, or anyone working with children, to update their skills. You can apply your knowledge to family life, or job opportunities in hospitals, schools, private clinics or mental health facilities. You could go on to pursue a role in counselling, speech and language therapy, social work or community support.

If you’re considering a career change, or seeking to be more effective in your workplace, a child psychology course will provide invaluable information. Learn with Stonebridge and you’ll have the resources you need to progress to further study or better understand children in your care.


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20 Responses

  1. Aisha says:

    I would like to know more .

  2. Mai El badawy says:

    I’m already studying your child psychology course and it has given me a great insight. But i’m totally lost and don’t know what to do to become a child psychologist. can u help me plz. Thanks

    • Admin says:

      Hi Mai, it’s fantastic to hear that our course has acted as a great starting point. A common route is to go on to study psychology at university, before specialising through a master’s. Stonebridge

  3. priya says:

    Hi, i wanna join child psychology course in uk ,can you guide me about the universities which offer this course and the cost

  4. Katherine says:

    I have a BA Hons Primary Education with QTS degree and would like more information as to how I can go into this field of child psychology. Thank you

    • Admin says:

      Hi Katherine, our Child Psychology course would be a fantastic starting point. We recommend then contacting universities to discuss your options for a master’s. Stonebridge

  5. Jessica Paul says:

    I will be graduating with a BEd Primary Education degree next year and am extremely interested in understanding a role within child psychology as a slightly different career path. By completing this course with you, where would this take me? I understand from what you have said I could then go on to complete a masters in psychology?

  6. Joanna Stainer says:

    I am a qualified primary teacher with 13 years experience – I completed a BA Hons degree in Primary Education in 2004 and have taught full time ever since. I have lots of SEN experience but I am now really keen to learn more about child developmental psychology and how this can benefit my teaching work with the possibility of refocusing in child psychology – please could you advise me of my options. Many thanks

  7. E Thomson says:

    Hi I have a degree in psychology and a masters in Health psychology but believe that I want to be working directly with children. Any advice?

  8. Mrs Kate Logan says:

    Hi there I’m really interested on doing a child psychologist course. I have a diploma in nursery nursing and 15years of experience in a paid environments working with young adults and young children from birth with life limited conditions and special needs and always have found my jobs extremely interesting and very rewarding . I’d now like to further my career on completing this course .

    • Kate Byrne says:

      Hello Kate.
      If you could provide us with a phone number or email address and let us know an appropriate time, we will get one of our advisers to give you a call back and fill you in on the details.

  9. Sonja says:


    At present , a few weeks away from finishing BA in Education.
    Working part time as SEN support .Wld like to build on this Degree with Child psychology.
    Can u help?

    • Kate Byrne says:

      Hello Sonja.
      If you could provide us with a phone number or email address and let us know an appropriate time, we will get one of our advisers to give you a call back and fill you in on the details.

  10. Charlotte says:

    Hi, I have a degree in primary teaching but never went into teaching/ i have been working with children for the past few years. Im looking into psychology and am looking for a career change – how can i find out more? Thanks

    • Kate Byrne says:

      Hello Charlotte.
      If you could provide us with a phone number or email address and let us know an appropriate time, we will get one of our advisers to give you a call back and fill you in on the details.

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