Best Online Child and Adolescent Psychology Programs
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Earning an online bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology at a top online school paves the way to several career opportunities. Graduates can continue their education and pursue graduate studies to become child psychologists or enter the workforce as counselors who work with behavior disorders or community service managers.
Students interested in helping children and adolescents manage emotional and mental conditions and offering support for those with autism and other disabilities often find that this degree leads to a rewarding and lucrative career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of behavioral disorder counselors will grow by 23% between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the average 8% job growth rate for all occupations.
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Our bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology program guide offers a comprehensive look into career opportunities, admission requirements, and how to choose a program.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Child and Adolescent Psychology Program?
Most online bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology programs require 120 credits and take approximately four years of full-time study to complete.
Students interested in working with children and adolescents often find that a bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology leads to fulfilling careers helping youths navigate developmental challenges and mental health conditions. Those pursuing this career should possess empathy, interpersonal skills, and strong communication.
Generally, a bachelor of arts offers more flexibility and the ability to tailor coursework to students' specific interests and career goals. General education classes focus more on the humanities and a broad, widely applicable educational foundation.
By contrast, a bachelor of science serves students interested in science or medicine and features more courses in statistics, research methods, and data analysis. This degree is well-suited for those who plan on pursuing a graduate degree or working in entry-level positions in government or business. However, both options tend to offer the same major coursework, and employers and graduate schools accept both.
At the bachelor's level, most schools offer a general bachelor's in psychology with a concentration in child psychology and development or a similar field. A few possible concentration options include:
- Child Psychology: Students interested in pursuing a graduate degree to become a psychologist or counselor should consider this concentration.
- Adolescent Psychology: This specialization prepares students to work in juvenile facilities and in school settings supporting adolescents with special needs.
- Counseling and Child Welfare: This concentration prepares students for graduate programs in counseling and social work.
- Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology: This specialization focuses on human development, including social, physical, and cognitive changes.
Popular Online Bachelor's in Child and Adolescent Psychology Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Child and Adolescent Psychology Program?
Most online bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology programs offer similar core courses that teach students the skills needed to pursue careers helping children, adolescents, and their families. The following list covers common courses found in online bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology programs.
Child and Adolescent Development
This course covers the developmental stages of children and adolescents, including biological development and how outside influences can alter their development. Covered topics include various theories of development such as Erik Erikson's psychosocial theory of development. Additional topics include contemporary theories on learning, moral, and relational development.
This course delves into the emotional, social, cognitive, and genetic causes of childhood disorders. Students explore contemporary research in the treatment and recognition of mental health conditions, classification of these conditions, and research methods in psychopathology. Students learn about specific conditions commonly diagnosed in childhood, including ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder.
Introduction to Child Psychology
Students explore the basic concepts of child psychology, including the scientific analysis and evaluation of the behaviors and conditions common in children and adolescents. Additional topics include child psychologists' role in supporting children and varying responsibilities in different clinical and educational environments.
Psychology of Special Needs in Children and Adolescents
This course focuses on the identification of those with special needs, including students with autism, developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, and histories of trauma. Students explore intervention and inclusion practices and learn how to recognize common symptoms. Learners also discuss how schools can support students with special needs.
Internal Family Dynamics
Students learn the essence of family dynamics and how they relate to child development. Covered topics include communication issues, theories of family conflict, enmeshment in family dynamics, signs of an emotionally destructive household, and common responses to stress.
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Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Child and Adolescent Psychology Programs
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Best Online Bachelor's in Child and Adolescent Psychology Programs
Bay Path UniversityLocation
Founded in 1897, Bay Path University is a private school headquartered in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Its all-women, online bachelor's programs are the first of their kind in the nation. Annual enrollment reaches approximately 3,500 learners, including about 1,900 undergraduate women and 1,500 coeducational graduate students.
Among Bay Path's online offerings is a bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology. The major core curriculum covers topics like human development, parenting and family dynamics, and the educational system. Prior to graduation, students complete a culminating research, community-based, or service learning project.
Admission requirements include a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and submission of official high school and/or college transcripts. Prospective students must also participate in an in-person or phone interview.
Dedicated to serving working professionals since 1958, Brandman University oversees more than 25 campuses in California and Washington, flexible online learning options, and a host of academic and professional support services. Brandman's online bachelor's degree in child and adolescent psychology requires 120 credits.
Students can complete the program entirely online or in a hybrid format. The curriculum covers areas like child development, learning, and treatment options, emphasizing working with children facing developmental challenges. Required courses include pediatric neuropsychology, applied behavioral analysis, and scientific writing.
Admission into the program requires at least 12 transferrable credits and a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA. Brandman offers a four-course introductory program for prospective students who do not meet these transfer credit requirement.
What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Child and Adolescent Psychology Program?
Admission requirements are often similar, if not the exact same, for on-campus and online bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology programs. In rare cases, in addition to the requirements listed below, some schools may require prospective students to complete an interview with an alumnus or a member of the admissions department.
All bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology programs require prospective students to submit an application form. In some cases, you can apply to multiple schools at once through application systems like the Common App and Coalition App. These forms collect basic information, like your background and address.
Standardized test scores are becoming a less common requirement for both undergraduate and graduate programs. Nevertheless, many online bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology programs still require students to submit ACT or SAT scores. Score minimums vary by institution.
Letters of Recommendation
Most online bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology programs require applicants to send in 2-3 letters of recommendation. In most cases, you should ask former high school teachers to write these letters on your behalf. If you are an adult learner, you can ask a former employer. Ask your recommenders months in advance so they have enough time to write.
Most undergraduate programs require students to submit 1-3 application essays. The Common App features a basic essay prompt that you can send to multiple schools, but most programs also ask applicants to write supplemental essays on specific topics. These documents are usually relatively short, often no more than 500 words.
Official TranscriptsAll undergraduate programs require prospective students to submit official transcripts from all prior schools. In addition to official high school transcripts, you should send in transcripts from previous colleges you've attended. If you hold an associate degree from a community college, you will likely earn approximately 60 transfer credits at most four-year schools.
What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Child and Adolescent Psychology Degree?
Child and adolescent psychology is one of the most popular majors. Students pursuing an online bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology can go on to graduate school to pursue careers as psychologists working in private practices, educational settings, and research facilities. Other graduates enter the workforce as behavioral disorder counselors, social workers, and community service managers.
The BLS projects that positions for social and community service managers will grow by 15% between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the average employment growth for all occupations.
Learn more about child and adolescent psychology careers and see where a bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology can take you.
Social and Community Service Manager
Social and community service managers supervise social service programs. These professionals work for nonprofits, government agencies, and other organizations that support communities and individuals. Targeted demographics may include children, the elderly, homeless individuals or families, and veterans. As supervisors, they are often responsible for hiring, budgeting, and overseeing the effectiveness of programs.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $74,000
Child, Family, and School Social Worker
Social workers assess clients and help them manage the impacts of trauma, substance misuse, and mental health conditions with the help of community and government resources. Clinical social workers need a master's and state licensure. These professionals can work for government agencies, schools, and nonprofits.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $50,390
Behavioral Disorder Counselor
Behavioral disorder counselors help individuals and groups modify their behavior. Counselors in this field use principles of therapy to help people stop unwanted behavior and replace it with positive, productive behavior and habits. Behavioral disorder counselors and substance misuse counselors considering private practice must have a master's degree and state licensure.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $48,520
Substance Misuse Counselor
Graduates pursuing careers as substance misuse counselors often work in prevention and intervention, offering high-risk youths alternatives to drug and alcohol misuse. Some addiction counselors work with psychologists, physicians, or psychiatrists, developing treatment plans and supporting patient care.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $48,520
Market Research Analyst
Some graduates use their acquired knowledge in youth psychology to work for companies that sell products to children and adolescents. A market research analyst researches market conditions to help companies determine in-demand products, target markets, and price structures. Students interested in entering this field must ensure that they take courses in statistics and research methodology.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $63,920
Child and Adolescent Psychology Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
A bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology offers more immediate employment opportunities than many psychology degrees. However, if you want to advance in the field, you likely need to complete a master's or doctoral degree in psychology or counseling.
Advanced degrees in these disciplines can lead to managerial and supervisory roles, in addition to positions in academia and research. If you want to become a psychology professor, or if you want to design your own studies, you must earn a Ph.D. in a psychological field. Furthermore, if you want to become a practicing psychologist, you also need a doctoral degree and licensure in most cases.
How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Child and Adolescent Psychology Program?
The true cost of a bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology can vary widely. For the lowest tuition rates, consider passing on out-of-state private universities to enroll at in-state public schools. Furthermore, by enrolling online, you can save on major expenses like transportation and room and board.
All distance learners must consider which program format can help them thrive. Synchronous coursework provides structure through scheduled, live online courses. Asynchronous coursework provides flexibility by eliminating those scheduled sessions. Online students should also consider whether they want to enroll part time, full time, or in an accelerated program.
Even if you ultimately decide to enroll in an online program, you should consider choosing a school close to you. Online child and adolescent psychology curricula may include certain lab courses that you need to complete on campus. Local schools may also maintain relationships with local companies for internship and job opportunities.
Accreditation is a third-party approval process that evaluates a school's programs and services. You should only enroll at accredited schools. If you enroll at a non-accredited school, you cannot receive federal financial aid, and some employers may not recognize your degree.
Good student services can make the difference between an excellent distance learning experience and a regrettable time in school. Before you commit to a school, check to see if it offers services like tutoring, mentorship opportunities, internship placements, and networking events.
Frequently Asked Questions About Child & Adolescent Psychology Programs
Is a bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology worth it?
The value of any degree is subjective and depends on the individual student. Nevertheless, an online bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology is worth it for most learners. This degree can often lead to a wider set of immediate employment options than comparable psychology degrees. Furthermore, it can still lead to plenty of opportunities to pursue master's and doctoral degrees.
Additionally, many child and adolescent psychology professionals earn high, stable salaries, benefit from high projected job growth, and find their careers fairly rewarding.
What can I do with a bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology?
Soon after graduating, bachelor's degree-holders in child and adolescent psychology can pursue careers as market research analysts. With additional professional experience, they can work as community and social service managers. After earning state licensure, graduates can practice as substance misuse, mental health, or behavioral disorder counselors or child or school social workers.
Graduates can also enter master's and doctoral programs in psychology and counseling. These degrees can often lead to lucrative and in-demand positions in academia and research.
Are child and adolescent psychology majors in high demand?
Yes. Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS projects 23% job growth for substance misuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors. This rate nearly triples the average projected growth rate for all occupations during that period.
Furthermore, during that same decade, the BLS also projects significant job growth for market research analysts (22%), social and community service managers (15%), and social workers (12%). All of these rates eclipse the average projected growth rate across all occupations during that period.
How much money can I make with a bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology?
Salary potential depends significantly on key factors like experience, location, employer, and industry. However, most bachelor's degree-holders in child and adolescent psychology can expect to earn solid starting salaries. For example, as of May 2021, market research analysts earned a median annual salary of $63,920, according to the BLS, which is excellent pay for an entry-level career.
With additional credentials, like a master's or doctoral degree, psychology graduates can begin to approach six figures by finding work as researchers, professors, and practicing psychologists.
What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology?
The highest-paying job for graduates with a bachelor's in child and adolescent psychology is likely community and social service manager. According to the BLS, as of May 2021, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $74,000. These professionals often work as executive directors at child-focused nonprofit organizations.
Keep in mind that these positions generally require significant professional experience. You may have to work your way up the ladder at a nonprofit, beginning in an entry-level position before qualifying for a managerial role.