How To Become A Developmental Psychologist

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 4 minute read

What are the characteristics of developmental psychology?

Specialization in the study of human development focuses on how people develop and change throughout the course of their lifetimes.

Using a scientific method, researchers look at how a person’s upbringing and surroundings, as well as their own thoughts and feelings, impact their development.

Individuals undergo change as they move through life, which is influenced by many different factors at both the micro and macro scales. 

An individual’s life span, from conception to old age, is included in the microcosm of human research. When taken in its broadest meaning, cultural shift affects an individual’s psychological development is the focus of the psychotherapist.

Children’s cognitive development was revolutionized by Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1896–1980-).

There are a number of stages in which children’s minds progress, according to his theory, Before Piaget’s study, psychologists believed that children thought like adults, but not at the same level of intellect.

On the basis of his observations and conversations with youngsters, he made the following assertion

Anyone who is thinking about pursuing a career in developmental psychology should have a strong interest in how people develop and change.

Being able to focus on only one particular age group for the whole of the development process means there are many possibilities to do so.

As an example, child development is a well-known area of expertise. There are four phases in human formal thinking development, according to Dr. Piaget. The first three last until the age of twelve.


The path to becoming a developmental psychologist is an arduous one. You must first aim for a Ph.D. in order to progress further.

A Psy.D. or a Ph.D. is an option for the title of the doctoral degree. There is a slew of fields in which you may acquire a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

A Doctor of Psychology, sometimes known as a Psy.D., is a degree that prepares individuals for careers in the field of clinical psychology. Differences in degrees, such as a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, aren’t clearly defined.

Further discussion of these distinctions may be found on DegreeQuery’s blog see link below. To summarize, a Ph.D. takes an average of 5-7 years whereas a Psy.D. requires an average of 4-6 years of study.

It’s also possible that you’ll be more likely to acquire financial aid in a Ph.D. program. A good rule of thumb is to consult with the colleges you’re interested in before making a final selection.

Degree of Bachelor’s

A bachelor’s degree in developmental psychology can be pursued either online or on-campus at this level. Children’s physical, cognitive and social development are taught in a typical curriculum.

Social psychology is an important part of a child’s development because of the influence of other people on their conduct.

Bachelor’s degrees in child development are available to those who want to work in the field.

As a first-year student in the field of child development, you will gain knowledge about the cognitive and behavioral changes that children through, as well as the physical and nutritional repercussions of these changes.

It can affect the child’s development in many ways, such as autism, ADHD, hyperactivity, and physical limitations.

People who don’t want to specialize in child development still have options. The Bachelor of Science in Applied Developmental Psychology is one example.

A more comprehensive approach is taken in this curriculum, which looks at the life cycle of a person from conception to death. Courses on human development’s major ideas and ways for strengthening it are possible.

There is also a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Psychology. Students learn about cultural effects, personality theory, social psychology, life span development, and abnormal psychology as part of the course material they’ll be studying.

The plan’s theoretical and practical components provide a solid basis for further graduate study.

The Master’s degree

An online master’s degree in developmental psychology is available. Development from birth through adulthood is covered by four different specialties in this curriculum.

These are your options:

  • Gender and the development of children and adolescents are some of the topics covered in these courses. Behavioral analysis, as well as emotional illnesses, are all topics you’ll study in-depth.
  • There are a lot of courses in this category that cover topics like health psychology and children’s and adolescent health. Asthma and obesity are among the many diseases that are discussed in this book.
  • The field of adult development and geriatrics is ideal for anybody with a passion for dealing with the elderly. In this course, students learn about cultural influences on aging, social theories of aging, chronic illnesses, cognitive changes, sexuality, and social interactions. By 2030, 20% of the population in the United States is expected to be over 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • In Developmental Psychology: International Perspectives At least 5-6 courses are shared across these four specializations. Culture and social behavior, as well as a cross-cultural psychological theory, are the emphasis of this paper
  • As an additional option, students can receive their Master of Arts in Developmental Psychology. This program takes a comprehensive look at everything from early childhood development to adult mental health.
  • As a result, at the master’s degree level, you have the option of pursuing an art or scientific degree, as well as a variety of specializations. Some universities will let you use your master’s credits toward a doctorate. For instance, Walden University’s doctorate in Development Psychology waives up to six courses if you have a master’s degree in psychology. Seven specialties in developmental psychology are available in their Ph.D.

Bottom Line

A doctorate is the highest level of education, as stated at the beginning. With a master’s degree, you can work in this sector. Before you even think about going back to school, you should work hard to get to this point.

Mental health institutions, nursing homes, research centers (in psychology), private practice, children’s education, and hospitals can all benefit from a graduate degree.

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