Bachelor’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology Program Guide

portrait of Connie Smith
by Connie Smith

Updated June 16, 2022

Share this Article

A bachelor's degree in child and adolescent psychology introduces students to factors that influence mental health, including genetics and environment. Learners also examine abnormal, social, and developmental psychology.

Child and adolescent psychology programs prepare graduates to pursue challenging and rewarding careers assisting patients with different emotional, social, and mental needs. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Ready to start your journey?

Graduates often find work as mental health or behavioral disorder counselors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 23% employment growth in this field between 2020 and 2030. However, some careers, such as school counselor and marriage and family therapist, require a master's degree.

Read on for more information about bachelor's programs in child and adolescent psychology. This guide provides information about typical courses, concentrations, and program costs.

Learn More About Child and Adolescent Psychology Careers

What Is Child and Adolescent Psychology?

Child and adolescent psychology deals with the mental, social, and emotional state of children. The field focuses on encouraging well-being in children and their families through intervention, counseling, and treatment techniques.

Should I Get a Bachelor's in Child and Adolescent Psychology?

Many psychologist, counselor, and therapist positions require a graduate degree and a license. Examples include school and career counselors, marriage and family therapists, and general psychologists. Earning a bachelor's degree in child and adolescent psychology is a stepping stone toward these careers.

A four-year degree, however, can qualify graduates for positions as behavioral disorder and mental health counselors. The BLS projects 23% job growth in these positions between 2020 and 2030.

Graduates can also earn positions as social and community service managers, creating programs that assist children and adolescents with mental health concerns. The BLS projects that jobs for these professionals will grow by 15% between 2020 and 2030.

What Will I Learn in a Child and Adolescent Psychology Graduate Program?

Child and adolescent psychology curricula vary by school and by concentration. For example, school psychology concentrations overview school structures, while health psychology concentrations require more courses in physical health.

The following sections cover common courses and concentrations in child and adolescent psychology bachelor's programs.


Abnormal Psychology

In this course, students examine the history of mental disorders and techniques for diagnosis and treatment in child and adolescent patients. This course also addresses cultural, ethical, and legal concerns when treating mental illness.

Social Psychology

This course explores how socialization and group settings influence psychology and behavior. Learners study attraction and groupthink to determine their impact on relationships, advertisements, and workplaces.

Psychology of Personality

This course covers the definition of personality and factors that shape personality, such as biology and culture. Students also examine how personality affects behavior and thought processes and learn to use this information in psychological evaluations and treatments.

Child Development

In this course, students explore biological, cognitive, emotional, and social development through adolescence. The course emphasizes developmental milestones and the impact of factors like family and culture on development. Learners study theories by experts like Piaget and Gardner.

Statistics for Psychology

This course trains students to use and understand statistics when performing psychological research. Learners explore factors like variability, regression, and correlation for testing hypotheses and interpreting findings.


Autism Spectrum Disorders

This concentration prepares learners to work with children with autism by exploring symptoms and intervention strategies. Required courses emphasize the assessment and diagnosis of autism in children and adolescents.

Behavioral Psychology

In this concentration, learners study the correlation between behavior and psychology. Required courses explore reasons for thought processes and behaviors, including environmental and biological factors. Students also learn strategies for altering negative behavioral patterns.

Counseling Psychology

This concentration prepares students to observe patients to uncover psychological issues and create effective treatment plans. Required coursework explores techniques and theories for individual and group counseling sessions, as well as ethical, cultural, and legal concerns for counselors.

Health Psychology

This concentration studies how health choices and illnesses impact mental health, behavior, and thought processes. Students also examine how factors like emotion and social circumstance can influence mental and physical well-being.

School Psychology

This concentration explores behavior management and assessment related to school-age children, as well as counseling and consultation techniques that encourage academic success. Required courses prioritize ethics and cultural awareness, and students learn best practices for assisting special needs students.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Child and Adolescent Psychology?

Career options with a bachelor's degree in child and adolescent psychology include behavioral disorder and mental wellness counseling positions. Graduates can also oversee mental health programs for children and adolescents at healthcare and community facilities.

Child and adolescent psychology programs also provide insights on child and parent behavior. Graduates can use this information to make marketing and artistic decisions for children's products.


Substance Use, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

These counselors help patients overcome or manage issues like addiction, eating disorders, and depression by evaluating their needs and building treatment plans. A bachelor's in child psychology helps graduates perform these tasks for children and adolescents.

Social and Community Service Managers

These managers develop programs that tend to community issues. Child psychology graduates, for instance, may build programs that encourage mental wellness in children. These managers also pursue funding and evaluate the program's success over time.

Market Research Analysts

Market research analysts research trends through surveys, polls, and statistics, helping companies offer lucrative products and services. A bachelor's in child psychology can help graduates make these suggestions for companies that cater to children.

Medical and Health Services Managers

These managers make decisions for healthcare organizations that enhance care quality and ensure that practices reflect government regulations. These professionals may also tend to budgets, train new workers, and maintain records.

Art Directors

Art directors plan and design visual elements of print publications, advertisements, and video productions. A child psychology bachelor's degree explores child development and parental expectations. This knowledge can help graduates design products that target children.

How to Choose a Child and Adolescent Psychology Bachelor's Program

Learners should research course requirements and concentrations to make sure their program prepares them for their intended careers. For example, students who want to become counselors should choose a program that includes counseling coursework.

Prospective students should also consider program length, admission requirements, and cost to find the most suitable program. For example, applicants with busy schedules may prefer fully online and asynchronous programs, while students on a budget should prioritize tuition rates.

For more information, consult our list of the top online bachelor's programs in child and adolescent psychology.

How to Get Into a Child and Adolescent Psychology Bachelor's Program

Applicants to child and adolescent psychology bachelor's programs must hold a high school diploma and provide transcripts from all previous colleges. Many programs also require a minimum 2.0 GPA and ACT or SAT scores.

Prospective students may also need to submit a personal statement and a CV or resume. Some programs prefer applicants with relevant professional experience or prior psychology coursework.

Additional requirements may include recommendation letters and academic writing samples. Some programs interview applicants.

Read Our Guide to Undergraduate Applications

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor's in Child and Adolescent Psychology?

Most child and adolescent psychology bachelor's programs require 120 credits. Students can graduate in four years by taking 15 credits every fall and spring semester.

Degree-seekers can graduate early by enrolling in additional semesters, such as in summer. Learners can also transfer credits from other programs or complete some college courses while still in high school.

Most psychologist positions require a license for private practice. Employers may also prefer applicants with professional certification from groups like the American Board of Professional Psychology and the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Bachelor's in Child and Adolescent Psychology?

Public schools usually charge lower tuition than private institutions. In-state students also tend to pay lower tuition than out-of-state learners. The cheapest programs are generally local public institutions.

In 2019-2020, in-state undergraduate students paid an average of $10,440 in annual tuition at public universities. Their out-of-state counterparts paid an average of $26,820.

Child and adolescent psychology students can also save on tuition by enrolling in online programs. Online students avoid paying for transportation and room and board. Furthermore, some online programs allow all distance learners to pay in-state tuition regardless of location.

Read More About Child and Adolescent Psychology on BestColleges is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Compare your school options.

View the most relevant school for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to find your college home.