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Types Of Careers In Developmental Psychology

It is a well-known adage that it takes a village to raise a child. Adding to this notion is the field of developmental psychology which has sought to discover, in explicit detail, how individuals develop across different age groups.

Pursuing a career in the field of developmental psychology is extremely lucrative. You could follow the career path of a rehabilitation counselor, school counselor, early childhood educator, behavioral specialist, or developmental psychologist.

Let us delve into these career paths within the field of developmental psychology.

About Developmental Psychology

Undoubtedly one of the harder fields of psychology to follow, developmental psychology looks at the mental growth, change, and development of individuals throughout their lifespan. One of the most prominent reasons this field of study is extremely difficult is that it is neither feasible nor possible to study the development across the life span of a single individual.

It is for this reason that theories within developmental psychology are formed through cross-sectional data collection and analysis. For example, researchers in the field of developmental psychology will choose many individuals from the same cultural background or the same community and will closely analyze their development up to and including their current point in life.

When the results of all these outcomes are put together, researchers can get a rough idea of the development of individuals from this particular culture or community. But these results are not always accurate because each person to ever exist on this planet is different from the next.

But over and above this one facet of developmental psychology, these psychologists study the cognitive, emotional, perceptual, and social development of individuals.

Additionally, they will assess, diagnose, and treat any developmental challenges and delays that individuals may face. Developmental psychologists may work with children who are on the autism spectrum to determine the best way to move forward in training and education.

It is part of our basic human nature to not want to leave anyone behind, physically and metaphorically. Through developmental psychology, society can ensure that those who face developmental challenges are assisted and that no one gets left behind.

Types Of Careers In Developmental Psychology

Rehabilitation Counselor

Have you ever pondered what may lead people to first try illegal substances and then continue the use of illegal substances until they become addicted? Rehabilitation counselors also wonder about this. They assess the developmental factors that may have led someone to become addicted to any form of substance.

They look at environmental factors, personal factors, and any other related issue that might lead someone to try to numb the pain they feel.

However, rehabilitation counselors also work with people who are on their road to recovery from any form of mental illness or disease. They provide care and administer a variety of different exercises and skills training to ensure that patients are well on their way to healing and recovery.

Rehabilitation counselors may work with groups or individuals, and they can work in healthcare environments such as hospitals and clinics, government organizations, and at not-for-profit organizations.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), rehabilitation counselors earn a median annual salary of $38,560 and they require a master's degree before they can assume the role of a rehabilitation counselor.

School Counsellor

The transitionary changes between any age group are always tricky. When everything is changing and adjusting in and around you, some may face challenges. It is for that reason the schools have counselors that work in the school, and they are there to guide and advise children who may face any form of educational, personal, or familial challenges.

Providing support, they are able to provide an objective support structure in an environment that people need to face daily.

Working with minors means that school counselors work with a vulnerable population on a daily basis. For that reason, they need to be appropriately qualified for the role. At the very least, school counselors are required to have a master's degree and they would need certification to practice in their desired state.

School districts will also do extensive background checks on potential candidates to make sure that students receive the best and safest care.

According to the BLS, school and career counselors earn a median annual salary of $60,510. The job outlook has a projected growth rate of 11% which is faster than the average job growth.

Early Childhood Educator

Young children are extremely impressionable. During their formative years, the correct care and mental stimulation are paramount to their success as adults. Being qualified as a developmental psychologist means that you can work as an early childhood educator.

In so doing, you will work with children between the tender ages of six months old to around six years old, and your duties may include all-encompassing care which also includes providing appropriate developmental activities for the children to complete.

In most cases, early childhood educators will be a part of private educational institutions.

The BLS states that early childhood educators earn an average yearly salary of $53,800.

Behavioral Specialists

We all seem to know, almost as if by nature, that some behaviors are more desirable than others. Whether the knowledge thereof is innate, or it stems from our parents correcting our behavior as young children, as we grow, we can discern between what we should do and what we shouldn't do.

However, sometimes we experience compulsive behaviors that are often undesirable, and while not of the catastrophic kind, we, or those around us, may want to change these behaviors. This can include things like nail biting, or even addictions like smoking.

Through the use of different reinforcement tactics, desirable behavior can be modeled. This can occur with people from all walks of life and can even be beneficial when working with children who face developmental challenges or delays.

At the very least, behavioral specialists will require a bachelor's degree, and they can work at schools, clinics, or private practices.

The BLS records the median annual salary for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors to be $48,520.

Developmental Psychologist

Now that all the other career prospects have been mapped out, let us look at the career directly related to this field of psychology – being a developmental psychologist.

As a developmental psychologist, you will work with both children and adults. Your primary focus may be on children who are faced with developmental delays. When children face developmental delays or they face difficulty in achieving developmental milestones, a developmental psychologist may step in to assist the child.

But development is far more than just about learning. Sometimes, as an adult, as your environment shifts, you are required to adapt and develop according to the change you are faced with.

If a patient faces difficulties in these adaptations and developments, they would be required to see a developmental psychologist who can help them through stages of grief and deal with other types of unprecedented changes.

To pursue this role, you would need a doctorate in psychology, and the BLS states that you could earn a median annual salary of $81,040.


At the most basic level, being a behavioral psychologist requires you to have a keen passion for observing life as it moves from one stage to the next. With these observations, you will be able to help others in a way that cannot ordinarily be done through words and advice, but that requires direct and hands-on actions.

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