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Developmental Psychology Careers

Explore the career options for Developmental Psychology Professionals

child abuse counselor

The number of careers for those with developmental psychology backgrounds continues to grow, making this area of psychology one of the most marketable in today's changing economic environment.

According to "Tomorrow's Jobs" from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition, jobs in health care and social assistance—including public and private hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, and individual and family services—will grow by 25.4% and add 4 million new jobs by the year 2016. Jobs for developmental psychology professionals can be found in all these organizations.

One reason for growth in this area centers on an aging population with longer life expectancies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that by the year 2030, nearly 20% of the population will be aged 65 or over, up from 13% today. Developmentalists address the main stressors that affect this life stage: loss of loved ones, chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, care-giving demands, memory problems, sexuality, health promotion and substance abuse. Positions in nursing homes and nonprofit agencies that work with older adults are expected to increase.

Who hires developmental psychology professionals?

Schools, nonprofit agencies and hospitals hire developmentalists to work with physically and mentally disabled children, teens, and adults. These psychology professionals also find employment in substance abuse and drug prevention programs, and with victims of abuse. Many of these positions require working with families as well.

For those whose graduate work in developmental psychology culminates in a Ph.D., greater job opportunities and pay follow. Many with a PhD have research interests, and remain in academia to teach. Others become licensed and either work independently or in conjunction with a hospital or other type of health-care facility.

A master’s degree also provides job opportunities as counselors, researchers, data collectors, and analysts. Those with a bachelor's degree can find employment in day care settings and preschools, also as psychological or rehabilitation assistants in hospitals, clinics or residential facilities.

Although a wide range of career opportunities exist for those with degrees in developmental psychology, the following lists some typical job descriptions:

Typical positions for those with either a bachelor's or master's degree

  • Psychology Assistant
    • Perform a variety of duties pertaining to the testing of hospital patients or for those in outpatient clinics. Score test results. Train and supervise staff in the administration of appropriate tests. Administer diagnostic interviews. A bachelor's degree is required.
  • Research Coordinator
    • Administer and score tests for ongoing research projects in hospitals or universities. Other assessment and administrative responsibilities may be included. A bachelor's degree is required.
  • Coordinator/ Specialist/Clinician/ Supervisor
    • Complete assessments and treatments for children, adolescents or adults. Positions in residential or day treatment centers and organizations specializing in child and family services, chronic mental and emotional illnesses, substance abuse, geriatrics, rehabilitation, foster care, and domestic violence/sexual assault. Supervisory positions include staff direction and evaluation, coordinating assignments, providing clinical support and expertise to staff, setting goals, and budget management. Positions usually require a master's degree.
  • Educational Diagnostician/School Psychologist
    • Administer and interpret psychoeducational or developmental tests for students with learning, developmental and/or emotional disabilities. Provide information on child development issues to school personnel and parents. Provide recommendations for program development and student placement. Make recommendations for the intellectual, adaptive, academic, social, and emotional development of children. Usually a master's or PhD is required.
  • Nonprofit Psychologist/Therapist
    • Perform developmental and psychological evaluations, family information meetings, quality assurance and training. Home visits sometimes required. May work with infants and toddlers with disabilities to ensure they receive early interventions. Often work as part of team that includes occupational and physical therapists, speech therapists, and recreational therapists. A master's degree or PhD is required.
  • Professor
    • Teach undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral-level courses in developmental psychology, and establish a program of empirical research. Some positions require individuals to attract external funding for research. Research specialties in infant, child, adolescent, adulthood, geropsychology, and developmental disabilities. Usually a PhD is required.
  • Associate to a Psychologist
    • Provide a number of psychological services, including psychometric evaluation, data collection and analysis. Perform specific tasks in implementing programs using psychological techniques with designated clients. Conduct observations, record data, and perform statistical analyses of data for approved program design, and evaluation for research projects. Usually a master's degree is required.
  • Psychologist
    • Provide professional psychological treatment services to help children, adolescents or adults. Provide, supervise and/or coordinate and provide direction for professional psychological services including diagnostic evaluations, group and individual counseling, and develop behavior programs for the individual client treatment. Participate in deciding whether to admit people to hospitals or clinics for treatment; refer people to appropriate services; coordinate entry into schools, nursing homes, community residences, or other facilities. A PhD and certification required.

If you are interested in how and why people change over the course of their lives, or you want to help those with mental health issues and developmental disabilities, you should consider a career in developmental psychology.

Developmental Psychology Schools & Colleges
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5 Programs in
Online
  • Ranked among the Best Online Graduate Business Programs and Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Financial aid is available for students who quality, with more than $1,000,000 through 10 scholarships.
  • Offers 24/7 student services, including financial aid help, course registration, and career counseling.
  • Students may opt in for a two week, risk-free trial period.
  • Active-duty military, veterans, and Veteran’s Administration employees can save 15% on tuition.
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  • Ranked among the Best Online Graduate Business Programs and Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Financial aid is available for students who quality, with more than $1,000,000 through 10 scholarships.
  • Offers 24/7 student services, including financial aid help, course registration, and career counseling.
  • Students may opt in for a two week, risk-free trial period.
  • Active-duty military, veterans, and Veteran’s Administration employees can save 15% on tuition.
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  • Online Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Programs in
Online
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • In a 2013 survey, 83% of students said they would recommend the university to others.
  • Most degree-seeking online and campus-based students are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
  • Average class sizes is 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Founded in 1937 in Davenport, Iowa as the American Institute of Commerce (AIC).
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  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • In a 2013 survey, 83% of students said they would recommend the university to others.
  • Most degree-seeking online and campus-based students are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
  • Average class sizes is 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Founded in 1937 in Davenport, Iowa as the American Institute of Commerce (AIC).
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  • Online Programs
  • Financial Aid
4 Programs in
Online
  • Students can enroll at any time and begin studies in the fall, spring, or summer.
  • 9 out of 10 Florida Tech Students who apply, qualify for some type of aid, based on a Fall 2012 internal survey.
  • The average freshman retention rate is 77.3 percent.
  • Ranked #39 in Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Reports
  • Among the more than 50,000 alumni include several astronauts, CEOs, and 32 generals.
  • Special tuition rate available for active duty, selected reserves, National Guard service members and their spouses.
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  • Students can enroll at any time and begin studies in the fall, spring, or summer.
  • 9 out of 10 Florida Tech Students who apply, qualify for some type of aid, based on a Fall 2012 internal survey.
  • The average freshman retention rate is 77.3 percent.
  • Ranked #39 in Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Reports
  • Among the more than 50,000 alumni include several astronauts, CEOs, and 32 generals.
  • Special tuition rate available for active duty, selected reserves, National Guard service members and their spouses.
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  • Online Programs
5 Programs in
Campus
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • Main campus located in Chicago, Illinois with additional campuses in Southern California, Washington D.C., and online.
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  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • Main campus located in Chicago, Illinois with additional campuses in Southern California, Washington D.C., and online.
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  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
4 Programs in
Online

LeTourneau University is an interdenominational Christ-centered university offering more than 80 programs that prepare students for success in areas including the arts and sciences, aviation, business, education and engineering. Graduate degree offerings include business, education, engineering and psychology.

LeTourneau University is an interdenominational Christ-centered university offering more than 80 programs that prepare students for success in areas including the arts and sciences, aviation, business, education and engineering. Graduate degree offerings include business, education, engineering and psychology.

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5 Programs in
Campus
  • Phoenix Career Services™ help students find careers that match their interests & map out a personalized career plan.
  • Mentorships & networking opportunities available through Alumni Association of 800,000+ graduates.
  • Flexible start date and class schedules.
  • 100+ locations and online options.
  • Offers special military rates and special advisors who have a military background.
  • Students can earn credits for applicable military training and education.
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  • Phoenix Career Services™ help students find careers that match their interests & map out a personalized career plan.
  • Mentorships & networking opportunities available through Alumni Association of 800,000+ graduates.
  • Flexible start date and class schedules.
  • 100+ locations and online options.
  • Offers special military rates and special advisors who have a military background.
  • Students can earn credits for applicable military training and education.
Show more [+]
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
5 Programs in
Online
  • Founded in 1949, Grand Canyon University is a premier, private, accredited, nondenominational Christian university located in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 16:1 and 33.9% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • As a Christian university, the school encourages students to find their purpose in Christ, with an emphasis on applying Christian values and ethics to the workplace.
  • 65% of students have cars on campus, and alcohol is not permitted for students of legal age.
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  • Founded in 1949, Grand Canyon University is a premier, private, accredited, nondenominational Christian university located in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 16:1 and 33.9% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • As a Christian university, the school encourages students to find their purpose in Christ, with an emphasis on applying Christian values and ethics to the workplace.
  • 65% of students have cars on campus, and alcohol is not permitted for students of legal age.
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  • Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Programs in
Campus
  • Formed in 2001, it has 28 locations across the United States.
  • Offers customized blend format of online and campus classes.
  • Extensive activity in the local campus communities.
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  • Formed in 2001, it has 28 locations across the United States.
  • Offers customized blend format of online and campus classes.
  • Extensive activity in the local campus communities.
Show more [+]
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Programs in
Online
  • Ranked #23 in National Universities in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges from U.S. News and World Report.
  • Founded in 1834, its 340 acre campus is located in Winston-Salem, N.C.
  • Its student-to-faculty ratio is 11:1, and 58.6% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • The average freshman retention rate is 94%.
  • Its stated mission is “to educate the whole person, graduating students who seek purpose-filled lives while building a community dedicated to serving humanity in the spirit of our motto, Pro Humanitate.
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  • Ranked #23 in National Universities in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges from U.S. News and World Report.
  • Founded in 1834, its 340 acre campus is located in Winston-Salem, N.C.
  • Its student-to-faculty ratio is 11:1, and 58.6% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • The average freshman retention rate is 94%.
  • Its stated mission is “to educate the whole person, graduating students who seek purpose-filled lives while building a community dedicated to serving humanity in the spirit of our motto, Pro Humanitate.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Programs in
Online
  • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
  • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
  • Potential students may preview a free, one-week mini course to get an accurate impression of the student experience.
  • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
  • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
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  • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
  • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
  • Potential students may preview a free, one-week mini course to get an accurate impression of the student experience.
  • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
  • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
Show more [+]
  • Online Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits