Best Child Psychology Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Child Psychology programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Child psychology is the study of the psychological development of children. Child psychologists work with children to understand their behavior, emotions, and thoughts. Child psychologists also work with families to help them understand and cope with their children’s behavior.

Child psychology is a growing field, as more and more families are seeking help with their children’s behavior. Child psychologists are in demand in a wide variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, and private practice.

Child psychology degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in child psychology, including clinical psychology, counseling, and research. Students in child psychology degree programs learn about the different theories of child development, and how to apply those theories to understand and improve children’s behavior.

How to Choose the Right Child Psychology Program

When it comes to choosing the right child psychology program, there are a few key factors that prospective students need to keep in mind. The first is cost. Child psychology programs can be expensive, so it is important to research the tuition rates of different schools before making a decision.

Another important factor to consider is the program’s curriculum. Child psychology programs should offer coursework in a variety of topics, including child development, psychopathology, and research methods. Students should also make sure that the program they choose offers ample opportunities to gain practical experience working with children.

Finally, students need to consider the location of the school. Many child psychology programs are located in urban areas, which can be expensive to live in. Additionally, students should make sure that the school they choose is accredited by the American Psychological Association.

Best Bachelor’s in Child Psychology Programs

The best programs for Child Psychology ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
Point Loma Nazarene University
San Diego, CA

The Bachelor of Arts in Child Development from Point Loma Nazarene University offers two formats of study: hybrid (in-person classes one night a week), or entirely online. The curriculum is designed to give students a strong understanding of typical and atypical development and how to help meet the needs of children and families.

Rank 2
Abilene Christian University
Abilene, TX

Abilene Christian University’s Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Services is an online program that trains students to work with families and children to promote emotional well-being and develop life education plans. The program is interdisciplinary, with coursework in psychology and sociology, and includes clinical experiences. Students can choose to specialize their degree with a concentration in child life, family studies, or human development.

Rank 3
Carlow University
Pittsburgh, PA

Carlow University’s Bachelor of Arts in Child Development is a scientific approach to the study of human behavior and experience. As a Child Development Psychology major, students will investigate the biological, behavioral, emotional, cognitive and social factors that shape how humans grow and change. This concentration is helpful if students wish to pursue employment or graduate training in developmental psychology, counseling and fields in which additional knowledge of children’s growth and development is helpful.

Rank 4
Bay Path University
Longmeadow, MA

The Bachelor of Arts in Child Psychology from Bay Path University is designed for students interested in working with children of all ages. The program covers all aspects of child development, including physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and moral development. Additionally, students will study other areas that play a key role in child development, such as parenting, family dynamics, and the education system. Throughout the program, students will have opportunities to complete diagnostic reports and behavioral observations, engage in special projects and class assignments, and complete an internship with one of Bay Path’s Community Partner organizations.

Rank 5
Florida International University
Miami, FL

The Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Florida International University is a fully online program that focuses on the learning and development of young children. The program addresses the development of the whole child, with courses covering topics such as cognitive and social/emotional development, early childhood education theory and practices, and special needs of children and their families.

Rank 6
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK

The Bachelor of Science in Early Child Care and Development from Oklahoma State University prepares students to work with young children in a variety of settings such as childcare centers, homes, and military child development/care centers. The 120-hour program can be completed mostly online, with some in-person practicum experiences required. The program includes coursework in child development, professional development, curriculum development, and child guidance, among other topics.

Rank 7
Ball State University
Muncie, IN

The Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Ball State University is a great option for those looking to work in the early childhood education field. The program is offered entirely online, and courses are taught by early childhood faculty within Ball State’s nationally recognized Teachers College. Students will learn theories in child development, practice effective teaching techniques, and gain an understanding of diverse family structures and backgrounds.

Rank 8
Indiana Institute of Technology
Fort Wayne, IN

The Bachelor of Science in Child Development from Indiana Institute of Technology is designed to prepare students for careers working with children and adolescents. The coursework will immerse students in child development theory and practice, with a focus on understanding how society and nature can impact an individual’s growth and development. Students will also receive a grounding in psychology courses, which will provide them with an understanding of theory and practices related to working with children and adolescents. Additionally, students will complete internships in order to gain real-world experience working with children and families.

Rank 9
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, FL

The Bachelor of Science in Psychology from University of North Florida is a 120-hour program with 48 upper-level hours. The goal of the department is to help students understand the history, methods, and philosophy of the differing approaches to the study of behavior. Students concentrating in Child Psychology will have an opportunity to acquire a breadth of knowledge in the area of Child Psychology and gain hands on experiences through research and/or practicum experiences. Free Electives should be selected within the student’s area of interest, in consultation with a psychology department faculty member.

Rank 10
University of West Alabama
Livingston, AL

The Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Development from University of West Alabama is a degree for those individuals seeking a role in early childhood development. The program includes courses such as Introduction to Childhood Education, Early Childhood Curriculum for All Learners, Healthy Partnerships for Children and Families, and Early Childhood Programs/Children with Special Needs.

What to Expect From a Bachelor’s in Child Psychology Program

Students in a bachelor’s in child psychology program can expect to take classes on topics such as child development, psychopathology, and research methods. The degree typically takes four years to complete and may require an internship.

A bachelor’s in child psychology provides students with a foundation in the field that can lead to careers in education, social work, or human services. The degree also prepares students for further study at the graduate level.

Child psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on the psychological development of children. The field is concerned with all aspects of a child’s development, including physical, cognitive, social, and emotional. Child psychologists often work with families, schools, and other organizations to help children reach their full potential.

Common Child Psychology Courses

A degree in child psychology typically provides students with a broad knowledge base in psychology. After completing general education courses and introductory psychology classes, students may take more specialized courses in child development, psychopathology, and assessment. The list below includes five common courses found in a child psychology degree program.

Cognitive Psychology

This course covers how people acquire, process, store, and use information. Topics include perception, attention, learning, memory, language, problem solving, and decision making. Emphasis is placed on the interaction between cognitive processes and motivation, emotion, and social cognition. Upon completion, students should be able to apply cognitive principles to real-world situations and explain how cognitive processes are related to other psychological phenomena.

Developmental Psychology

This course covers the major theories, research, and concepts of human development from conception to adolescence. Emphasis is placed on the interaction of biological, psychological, and sociocultural influences on physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development. Upon completion, students should be able to apply major theories and research findings to explain human development.

Child Growth and Development

This course covers the physical, cognitive, and social/emotional development of children from birth through adolescence. Topics include the major theories and researchers associated with child development, the role of nature and nurture in development, and the impact of heredity and environment on physical, cognitive, and social/emotional growth and development. Upon completion, students should be able to explain how children develop physically, cognitively, and socially/emotionally, and identify the major theories and researchers associated with child development.

Psychopathology of Childhood and Adolescence

This course covers the major types of psychopathology of childhood and adolescence. Emphasis is placed on the major categories of disorders, their symptoms, prevalence, risk factors, and comorbidity. Treatment approaches are also discussed. Upon completion, students should be able to identify and describe the major types of psychopathology of childhood and adolescence and apply knowledge of risk factors, symptoms, and comorbidity to explain the etiology of these disorders.

Behavioral Assessment of Children

This course covers the assessment of children’s behavior problems using a variety of techniques. Emphasis is placed on the selection, administration, and interpretation of assessment instruments including questionnaires, checklists, behavior rating scales, and direct observations. Upon completion, students should be able to select and administer a variety of assessment instruments, interpret the results of the assessment, and develop behavior intervention plans.

Career Options for Child Psychology Graduates

Graduates of child psychology programs work in a variety of fields and industries, including education, mental health, and social work. They may also work in fields such as child development, family counseling, and juvenile justice.

Child Psychologist

Child psychologists are mental health professionals who focus on diagnosing and treating mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders in children and adolescents. They use a variety of techniques, including psychological testing, interviews, and observation, to assess and treat their patients. Child psychologists often work in schools, hospitals, clinics, or private practices, and they may also conduct research on child development and behavior.

School Counselor

School counselors work in elementary, middle, and high schools to help students with academic, social, and emotional issues. Counselors typically work with students individually and in groups to discuss things like course selection, test anxiety, bullying, and college and career planning. School counselors also work with parents, teachers, and administrators to coordinate services and support for students. Many school counselors also teach classes on topics like study skills, conflict resolution, and drug and alcohol abuse prevention.

Social Worker

Social workers are professionals who help people cope with challenges in their lives. They work with people of all ages, from infants to the elderly. Social workers may work in a variety of settings, including mental health clinics, schools, child welfare and human service agencies, hospitals, settlement houses, community development corporations, private practices, and policy advocacy organizations.

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of disabilities, from mild to severe. They adapt general education lessons and teach various subjects—such as reading, writing, and math—to meet each student’s individual needs. Special education teachers also work with students’ families and caregivers to support students at home and in the community. In addition to teaching, special education teachers may also be responsible for creating Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), developing curriculum, and assessing students’ progress.

Family Therapist

Family therapists provide counseling to families and couples who are experiencing difficulties in their relationships. They help families identify and communicate their feelings, work through conflict, and make positive changes in their lives. Family therapists may work in private practices, hospitals, community mental health centers, or social service agencies.

Insights From a Child Psychology Graduate

Blaine Stanton is a Child Psychologist at NYU Langone Health. She has a bachelor’s degree in child psychology from New York University. Blaine has over 20 years of experience working with children and families.

ClimbtheLadder: How did you make the most of your Child Psychology degree program so that it prepared you for post-graduation jobs?

Blaine Stanton: I made sure to get involved in as many research opportunities and clinical experiences as possible. I also took advantage of the opportunity to study abroad in order to learn about different cultures and how they approach child development. I also took a wide variety of courses in order to get a well-rounded understanding of child psychology.

ClimbtheLadder: What should students interested in Child Psychology be good at?

Blaine Stanton: Students interested in child psychology should be good at working with children. They should be patient and have the ability to build rapport with children. They should also be good at communicating with parents and other professionals.

ClimbtheLadder: Was there anything about your Child Psychology program that you didn’t expect or anticipate?

Blaine Stanton: I actually didn’t expect the program to be as difficult as it was. I thought that because I was passionate about the topic, it would be a breeze. But I quickly realized that there is a lot of science and research that goes into the field of child psychology.

I would advise future students to be prepared to put in the work if they want to succeed in the program.


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