A child therapist is a licensed mental health therapist who treats children with specific learning disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and other disorders that affect how the brain functions. To become a child therapist, you must complete a Master’s degree program in child psychology at an accredited university or college. Most states require that child therapists be licensed, and a full M.A. degree from an accredited university or college is required to practice. You might be wondering when do you need to go to graduate school to become a child therapist? There are actually several routes to obtaining your Master’s degree, but your first choice will likely be to get an internship while working as a clinical assistant with a psychologist or other licensed therapist in order to gain clinical experience. Check Child Therapist San Diego.
After completing your Master’s degree program, you will be ready to apply for either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. If you are interested in becoming a school psychologist or child psychologist, you will probably need to attend a specific school for a year or more in order to gain clinical experience and learn all of the required skills to become a qualified child psychologist. You will likely need to pass a psychological exam in order to become certified as a school psychologist, and many state licensing boards require a doctoral degree in child psychology as well. Your area school will be able to provide you with information on the application process for becoming a licensed child psychologist in your specific state.
Once you finish your Master’s degree and get your Ph.D., you can choose to either work for a clinical practice in a clinic or school setting, or you can teach parents how to improve their parenting skills. If you decide to work as a child psychologist in a clinical setting, you will likely be responsible for supervising a small group of parents, focusing on teaching them new techniques that can help improve their parenting skills. School psychologists generally work with one child per classroom, although some settings, such as those where groups of children are referred to one teacher at a time, may have more than one child psychologist. However, you won’t be able to diagnose or treat any patients in a group setting unless you are also a qualified clinical psychologist. If you choose to become a school psychologist, you will need to get at least three years of experience in a school setting before you can apply for a position at an actual school.
Spencer Chernick, LMFT – ADHD, Couples, Teens, Children
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