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Programs for Child Development
A child development degree allows you to learn how to work with children and their families in a vital and effective way. A speech pathologist’s (SP’s) career can be entirely dedicated to pediatrics. Catching a communication impairments and disorders early on, gives the child a greater chance of learning how to correct it and/or learn how to be able to communicate with it to the best of their ability. With an earlier intervention, you can also help the parents set up a healthy learning and growing environment at home for their child. Child development degrees lead to their own rewarding careers, and can give SPs the tools they’ll need to be able to work with, and hopefully improve, young lives.
Child Development Degrees
There are online and traditional child development degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. With each advancing degree, you can gain a greater understanding of typical and atypical development from prenatal stages through adolescence. SP students can benefit from an undergraduate degree in child development, as long as they pursue a graduate degree in speech pathology and receive certification so that they may be able to work as professional SPs.
In a bachelor’s degree program, you can learn about the basics of what to and to not to expect during childhood in terms of social, psychological, and physical development. You can also begin to learn how this subject can be applied to a variety of industries including healthcare, schools (preK-12), private practices, and research. During your child development bachelor’s degree program, you may required to take classes in the following subjects:
- Introduction to Child Development
- Children’s Play and Learning
- Behavioral Science
- Social Development
You may also be required to take classes that focus on organizational, family, and interpersonal communication in a bachelor’s degree program.
A master’s degree takes approximately two – four years to complete, and can give you the opportunity to expand your career and salary potential. For child development, many colleges and universities will either focus on, or have you choose, a concentration. There are a few areas that you could choose to pursue within this field, but the most common options are child psychology and education.
The initial portion of your degree will expand upon what you learned during your undergraduate years and teach you about more advanced principles as they relate to child development. The latter half of your graduate degree will likely pertain to whichever concentration you choose, and you may also be required to complete a thesis for your degree. These are several courses that you may need to take during your graduate degree program:
- Ethics and Multicultural Issues in Psychology
- Psychosocial Development
- Professional Communication and Collaboration
- Tests and Measurements
- Cognition, Language, and Play Development
There are also accredited online and traditional certification programs available to those who already have a master’s in a related subject (i.e. psychology), and would like to learn more about child development.
A doctoral degree is the highest level of education you can receive, and with it, you can become an expert and leader in a specific area of child development. While there may be a set of core courses for you to take, much of your education will be tailored to your intended career application of your degree. You may also need to complete a dissertation and an internship in order for you to graduate from a doctoral program.
This degree can take between two – six years to complete. The length of time it take for you to finish this degree depends on the structure of the program, and how much time you can dedicate to your classes and dissertation (full- or part-time). The primary usage of a PhD in Child Development is to advance the field through academic and scientific research, become a professor at a university, or to influence and advocate changes in educational and child-related policies.
Career Opportunities with a Child Development Degree
There are several careers that you can apply a child development degree to, and many of them are either related to child education or psychology. Here are a few careers that you could have depending on your level of education and professional experience:
- Child Psychologist: A child psychologist is a type of clinical psychologist who works with children who need help either developmentally, behaviorally, and/or emotionally. A child psychologist may work with a child struggling with a language or speech impairment, and will also need to collaborate with a SP and the child’s family and school to provide the best course of treatment. This career would also require at least a master’s and certification in psychology.
- Preschool Teacher: A preschool teacher cares for and educates children before they enter kindergarten. They provide a range of educational services in a fun and rewarding environment, and provide feedback to the parents about their child’s overall progress. Teachers of other age groups can also benefit from a bachelor’s in child development, as long as there is a focus on child education. They must also pursue a master’s degree and receive certifications as required by their state.
- Social Worker: A social worker is a trained professional who is licensed to provide a full range of services including mental and rehabilitation services and other assistance depending on the client. A social worker may assist young students find resources to address speech and communication disorders, while providing counseling and other supportive services. This career may also require a master’s specific to social work.
Child Development Degrees
- Ashford University — BA: Child Development
- Chicago School of Professional Psychology — Certificate: Child and Adolescent Psychology
- Grand Canyon University — MS: Professional Counseling – Childhood and Adolescence Disorders
- Southern New Hampshire University — MS in Psychology: Child and Adolescent Development
A child development degree can prepare you for a rewarding career, giving you the opportunity to affect change in your lives. It can also give you basic tools that you will need to continue your education and career in speech-language pathology. Explore the rest of our site to find out what speech-language pathologists can do throughout their careers.