Developmental psychologists are interested in the changes individuals experience over their lifespans. They work for public schools, hospitals, clinics, and universities, as well as in group or private practices. To become a developmental psychologist, one must earn a doctorate in developmental psychology and obtain state licensure.
|Other Requirements||State licensure required to work with patients in a counseling or clinical setting|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)||12% for all psychologists*|
|Median Salary (2013)||$91, 140 for psychologists, all other*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Developmental Psychologist Salary and Employment Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities were expected to rise 12% for all psychologists during the 2012-2022 decade. This is an average rate, and job growth may be due to greater overall demand for psychological assistance. While the BLS doesn't publish information pertaining specifically to developmental psychologists, it does include them in the category of 'psychologists, all other'. As of 2013, this group of psychologists earned a median salary of $91, 140.
Developmental Psychologist Duties
Developmental psychologists are concerned specifically with the various social, physical, and mental processes that occur in an individual's lifetime, from infancy to old age. Areas of study include aging-related behavior and changes, abnormal developmental changes, and emotional development. Specialization in a specific period, like adolescence, middle age, or childhood, is possible.
Practitioners may study developmental disabilities and conduct research. Their research may help uncover, for instance, methods to help elderly patients remain in their own homes and independent. Applied developmental psychologists take research findings and put them to use in healthcare and human services settings.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the minimum education required to become an independently practicing psychologist is generally a doctoral degree (www.bls.gov). Developmental psychology programs at the doctoral level require students to take core courses in developmental theory, statistics, and methodology, as well as social and emotional development. Students may attend seminars in specialized areas.
Some holding a master's degree in the field may work under the supervision of a licensed, doctorate-holding psychologist, says the Northamerican Association of Masters in Psychology (www.enamp.org). Others with a psychology master's degree may work independently using a title other than psychologist, such as psychological associate, psychological examiner, psychological assistant, or psychological practitioner.
All states require that psychologists who work with patients in a counseling or clinical setting obtain licensure, says the BLS. Licensure may not be required for psychologists working in a university, research lab, or a state or federal agency, in some states.
In addition to completion of an accredited doctoral program, according to the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB), licensure as a psychologist generally requires completion of supervised experience totaling 3, 000 hours (www.asppb.org). Candidates must also pass an examination such as the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.