Career Development

How To Become a Pediatric Neuropsychologist: Step-by-Step Guide

Learn about the steps important to pursuing a career as a pediatric neuropsychologist, including education, skills, salary and more.

Pediatric neuropsychologists are medical professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating disorders that affect the brain and nervous system in children. This can be a very rewarding and challenging career, as you will be working with children and their families to help them cope with and overcome a variety of neurological conditions. In this article, we will discuss what a pediatric neuropsychologist does, the average salary and the steps you can take to become one.

What Does a Pediatric Neuropsychologist Do?

A pediatric neuropsychologist is a psychologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the brain that can affect children. These disorders can include ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, Tourette’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, depression, anxiety and more.

A pediatric neuropsychologist typically works with children ages 3-18, but some may work with infants and toddlers as well. They often work in hospitals, clinics or private practices. Some of their duties include:

  • Conducting psychological evaluations to assess a child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses
  • Interpreting test results to diagnose disorders
  • Developing treatment plans for patients
  • Providing individual, family and group therapy
  • Consulting with teachers, school administrators and other professionals to help them understand a child’s condition and how it affects their learning and behavior
  • Conducting research on new treatments and interventions
  • Writing reports and articles for publication
  • Serving on committees or boards related to pediatric neuropsychology

Pediatric Neuropsychologist Salary and Job Outlook

The average salary for a pediatric neuropsychologist is $128,750. However, salaries can vary based on factors such as employer, geographic location and experience.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job growth for psychologists will be slower than average over the next decade. This may be due to an increase in the number of people who seek psychological services through managed care organizations. These organizations often have lower reimbursement rates for psychologists, which may lead to fewer job opportunities.

How to Become a Pediatric Neuropsychologist

Here are several steps you should take to become a pediatric neuropsychologist.

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field

To begin your path to becoming a pediatric neuropsychologist, you first need to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology. While there are many different types of degrees that can lead to this career, those with a focus on neuroscience or child development tend to be the best choices for this particular specialization.

During your undergraduate years, it is important to take courses in statistics and research methods so that you will be prepared for graduate school. You should also consider taking electives in cognitive psychology and developmental psychology to better prepare yourself for graduate school.

2. Complete a doctoral degree in clinical psychology with a focus on neuropsychology

To become a pediatric neuropsychologist, you need to earn a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. During your graduate studies, you can focus on child and adolescent development or neuroscience. You might also take courses in cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, educational psychology and statistics.

During your doctoral program, you will learn about the latest developments in neuropsychology as well as how to assess and treat patients with brain injuries. You may also gain experience working with children and adolescents under the supervision of an experienced neuropsychologist.

3. Gain experience working with children and adolescents

Most neuropsychologists gain experience in the field before pursuing a career as a pediatric neuropsychologist. Entry-level positions can provide you with hands-on experience working with children and adolescents, which is useful when applying for jobs as a pediatric neuropsychologist.

You may consider working at a clinic or hospital where you can interact with patients on a daily basis. You can also volunteer your time to work with children who have special needs. This experience will help you develop skills that are necessary to become a pediatric neuropsychologist.

4. Develop strong research skills

As a pediatric neuropsychologist, you may need to conduct research and develop new methods for assessing children’s cognitive abilities. To do this, you should take classes in experimental design and statistics while earning your doctoral degree. You can also gain experience conducting research by working as an assistant or co-author on projects with faculty members during your undergraduate or graduate studies.

As you work toward becoming a pediatric neuropsychologist, it is important to keep up with the latest developments in the field of psychology. This will help you stay informed about new tests and assessments that could be useful when working with children.

5. Obtain licensure as a psychologist

To practice as a pediatric neuropsychologist, you must obtain licensure as a psychologist. To do this, you need to graduate from an accredited doctoral program and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). The EPPP tests your knowledge of psychology principles and practices along with your ability to apply them in real-world situations. You may also need to complete a period of supervised practice before being awarded a license.

6. Join professional organizations such as the American Psychological Association

The American Psychological Association (APA) is a great resource for pediatric neuropsychologists. Joining the APA can help you stay up to date on developments in the field and connect you with other professionals who work with children. The APA also offers guidelines and ethical standards for psychologists that may be useful in your career.

The Pediatric Neuropsychology Special Interest Section (PNSIS) of the Division 7 of the American Psychological Association focuses specifically on neuropsychology. This group holds conferences, workshops and webinars that can help you learn more about the field.

7. Stay up to date on changes in the field of neuropsychology

As a pediatric neuropsychologist, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest developments in your field. This can help you identify new trends and research that could impact your work with children and families.

For example, as medical technology advances, there is more information available about how brain injuries affect patients. You may need to adjust your assessment techniques based on this new information.


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