Most people want a feeling of gratification from their chosen career path, and the field of psychology offers many chances to help others. Some psychology majors may decide to work with children, as it can be rewarding and challenging. Choosing a career centered on children requires patience, compassion and understanding. Here are some jobs working with kids you can consider.
8 Jobs That Involve Working With Kids
Most schools require teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree, generally in education, but moving to a higher level of teaching in a specialized field may require a degree in that area. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)1, elementary and middle school teachers are one of the top five occupations for psychology degree holders.
Elementary and middle school teachers typically create lesson plans, monitor students’ progress and communicate with parents on students’ progress. They may also have to work with students on a one-on-one level to navigate individual challenges, and prepare all students for standardized tests. With young students, teachers may create rules that enforce proper behavior.
All teachers should have good communication, interpersonal and organizational skills, and be creative and resourceful. Teaching children typically requires more physical stamina and patience, while teaching older students may require more speaking and critical thinking skills.
- Required education level: Bachelor’s degree2
- Median annual salary 2018:$57,9802
- Projected growth (2018-2028): 3%
2. Child Psychologist
Psychologists study behavior and brain function, usually collecting information through observations, experiments, interviews and other research methods. Child psychologists study milestones, emotional and mental well-being, behavioral issues and development from birth through adolescence. They work specifically on cognitive strategies and therapies to help younger patients work through whatever’s affecting them, whether it be environmental or emotional.
Psychologists often earn a bachelor’s in psychology and then a PhD or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree3. They may also specialize in an area of development. Psychologists must have superior analytical, communication, interpersonal and observational skills. They should also be patient and trustworthy, as they hold much information in confidence.
- Required education level: Doctoral degree3
- Median annual salary: $79,0103
- Projected growth (2018-2028): 14%
3. Marriage and Family Therapist
Marriage and family therapists help families, children and married couples work through emotional disorders and mental problems, along with helping them to understand those issues and helping with strategies to break through those problems. These therapists often help families navigate marital conflicts, substance abuse, domestic violence, grieving, infertility and other issues. Therapists may work in a hospital or in a private practice.
Marriage and family therapists must be compassionate and good listeners. They should also be well-organized and have good speaking skills. Marriage and family therapists typically earn a master’s degree in psychology, therapy or a related mental health field, according to the BLS4. A bachelor’s degree provides the foundation to earn a master’s degree along with a license to practice.
- Required education level: Master’s degree4
- Median annual salary: $50,0904
- Projected growth (2018-2028): 22%
4. Art Therapist
Art therapy branches off from the traditional therapy setting. Art therapists help adults and children cope with mental, physical and emotional issues by incorporating art into counseling sessions. Art therapists can work in any place with any type of client, and create projects based on the type of patient and knowledge of how the artistic process affects people. They must be good at observing and listening, and be empathetic, patient and creative.
- Required education level: Master’s degree5
- Median annual salary: $50,9805
- Projected growth (2018-2028): Unknown
Psychiatrists work with mental health patients, and child psychiatrists work specifically with children. For example, child psychiatrists might create a treatment plan for a child on the autism spectrum that integrates multiple psychotherapies and techniques. Helping young patients and prescribing the correct medications can help change lives. A psychiatry job requires a medical degree and psychiatry certification.
Child psychiatrists have to communicate regularly with patients, families and staff. Psychiatrists should have good decision making, analysis, verbal and written communication, and organizational skills.
- Required education level: Doctoral or professional degree6
- Median annual salary (2018): $220, 3806
- Projected growth (2018-2028): 16%6
6. Social Worker
Social workers, such as child welfare specialists, are typically involved with family and community services such as child abuse/neglect investigations, shelter and group home services, foster care, adoption and court liaison activities. They manage caseloads and recommend appropriate programs and interventions for children and families.
The BLS1 found that social worker was among the top five occupations for psychology degree holders. Pursuing a career in social work can require a master’s degree as well as a state license.
- Required education level: Bachelor’s degree7
- Median annual salary (2018): $49,4707
- Projected growth (2018-2028): 11%7
7. Preschool and Childcare Center Directors
Preschool and childcare center directors design programs, supervise childcare staff, create budgets and generally oversee all aspects of the center. This can include communicating with parents and children as well as establishing policies and educational standards.
Preschool and childcare center directors typically possess a bachelor’s degree and coursework in early childhood education. Interpersonal and communication skills along with business savvy and leadership expertise are important competencies for this role.
- Required education level: Bachelor’s degree8
- Median annual salary (2018): $47,9408
- Projected growth (2018-2028): 7%8
8. School Counselor
A school counselor generally has a master’s degree, as well as a state-issued credential. Counselors work to assist students with academic success on elementary, middle, and high school levels, and post-graduation life, whether that be entering the workforce or going on to college. According to the American School Counselor Association, school counselors help in “areas of academic achievement, personal/social development and career development, ensuring today’s students become the productive, well-adjusted adults of tomorrow.”
The BLS1 found that counselors were one of the top five occupations held by psychology majors.
- Required education level: Master’s degree9
- Median annual salary (2018): $56,3109
- Projected growth (2018-2028): 8%9
Ready to Pursue a Career Working With Kids?
If making a difference in children’s lives is what you aspire for in a career, there are many paths you can take. Earning your BA in Applied Psychology with a Concentration in Child Advocacy may help position you for jobs that involve kids. With courses such as Child Psychology, Critical Issues in Child Advocacy, Victim Studies and Advocacy and Social Psychology, the curriculum provides the critical thinking and communication aptitude for a career championing the well-being of children.
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, Career Outlook, Putting your liberal arts degree to work, on the internet at https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2017/article/liberal-arts.htm (visited September 12, 2019).
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers, on the internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm (visited September 12, 2019).
3Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Psychologists, on the internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm (visited September 12, 2019).
4Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Marriage and Family Therapists, on the internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/marriage-and-family-therapists.htm (visited September 12, 2019).
5Bureau of Labor Statistics, Career Outlook, You’re a what? Art therapist, on the internet at https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/youre-a-what/art-therapist.htm (visited September 12, 2019).
6Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Physicians and Surgeons, on the internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physicians-and-surgeons.htm (visited September 12, 2019).
7Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Social Workers, on the internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm (visited September 12, 2019).
8Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Preschool and Childcare Center Directors, on the internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/preschool-and-childcare-center-directors.htm (visited September 12, 2019).
9Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm (visited September 12, 2019).
National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth. Degree and/or certificate program options do not guarantee career or salary outcomes. Students should conduct independent research for specific employment information.