Child Psychologist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Children Psychologist, or Child Psychologist, is responsible for working with children and adolescents to help diagnose mental health conditions and suggest treatments. Their duties include talking with children and their parents, referring them to specialists and writing reports to detail the child’s progress

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Child Psychologist Duties and Responsibilities

A successful Child Psychologist should be able to perform various duties and responsibilities. Child Psychologists evaluate, diagnose and treat children that may have mild or severe mental, social or emotional disorders. The following are some duties and responsibilities a Child Psychologist should be able to execute:

  • Assist affected children and families to realize happiness and fulfillment in their daily lives, thereby achieving their developmental milestones
  • Provide detailed documentation and records of evaluations and treatments according to in-house policies
  • Educate family members on interventions they can do for their child or how to respond to certain behaviors
  • Coordinate with other child health experts, like child protection workers, pediatricians and social workers to facilitate and ensure the psychological development of a child
  • Organize educational programs to educate adolescents or teenagers on the repercussions of high-risk behaviors and ways to adjust to them
  • Address issues such as depression, bullying, various mental health issues and learning difficulties in children by providing appropriate psychological intervention
  • Offer recommendations concerning the nature of child custody cases, as well as determine the suitability of each parent to take the sole custody of a child

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What Does a Child Psychologist Do?

Children Psychologists typically work for mental health facilities, counseling clinics, private practices and hospitals to help children overcome significant life changes and mental health conditions. They work closely with children and their families to help them improve their home life and make beneficial changes for the child’s mental health. Their job is to listen to children talk about their feelings and ask children questions to understand the origins of their behaviors. 

They may also visit schools in their area to talk with students and teachers about mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, OCD or eating disorders, how to ask for help and how to support those with mental health conditions.

Child Psychologist Skills and Qualifications

A competent Child Psychologist will have various skills and qualifications. Looking out for these qualifications will help you acquire a capable Child Psychologist to your firm. Here are some skills and qualifications to consider when hiring a Child Psychologist:

  • Excellent communication skills, particularly the ability to communicate with children of different ages and from varied socio-economic and cultural backgrounds
  • Problem-solving skills in arriving at conclusions from a diagnosis and recommending appropriate treatment
  • Empathic quality in addressing the emotional needs of children
  • Willingness to attend seminars and meetings about topics relevant to child psychology
  • Knowledge of different therapeutic methods and ability to switch between different treatment strategies to meet each child’s needs
  • Adherence to professional, legal and ethical regulations, as required by relevant regulatory bodies and the law
  • Patience and understanding when dealing with children’s emotional issues
  • Ability to motivate, encourage and portray an optimistic attitude

Child Psychologist Salary Expectations

Salaries for a Child Psychologist vary depending on geography and the type of employer. * data is not available*

Child Psychologist Education and Training Requirements

Child Psychologists should have specified education and training requirements. Including this category in your job description helps you attract qualified and knowledgeable Child Psychologists. Having a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in psychology and finally a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in Child Psychology is necessary for a clinical psychologist. It is also mandatory that a Child Psychologist has completed a year’s internship in the field of Child Psychology. A Child Psychologist should also have passed the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology and have a license for practice from The American Board of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.

Child Psychologist Experience Requirements

A Child Psychologist experience requirements are necessary to prove the capability of an individual in the profession. A Child Psychologist should have several years experience working with children in a clinical environment. They should also have experience counseling adolescents and teenagers about challenges in their age group. A Child Psychologist should have experience in working with children regarding drug and substance abuse.

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Frequently asked questions about Children Psychologists


What is the difference between a Children Psychologist and a Children Psychiatrist?

Although these two roles both work with children experiencing mental illness and other circumstances, they do have different qualifications that affect their job responsibilities. The main difference between a Children Psychologist and a Children Psychiatrist is that Psychiatrists are licensed medical doctors who can prescribe medications to children to help counteract mental conditions. In contrast, Psychologists have PhDs but do not have a doctorate in medicine and, therefore, typically aren’t qualified to prescribe medication. It is important to note that specific states do allow Psychologists to prescribe medication, but it isn’t common practice.

Despite their differences, these two roles have a very close professional relationship because Children Psychologists refer children and their parents to Children Psychiatrists if they believe medication is a viable treatment option.


What are the daily duties of a Children Psychologist?

On a typical day, a Children Psychologist starts by reviewing their appointment schedule. Before each session, they take a few minutes to review their client’s file and come up with questions to ask them and their parents. During each session, they ask clients to talk about their feelings and discuss current events in their life. If talking with a young child and their parents, a Children Psychologist might offer them toys or coloring books to play with as they talk. They may also refer to talking with the child’s parents if they don’t want to speak. 

Throughout each session, they take notes to mark improvements or set-backs in their client’s behavior. Before concluding the session, they provide their client’s with exercises to try out when they start feeling stressed, angry or sad. Immediately after the session, a Children Psychologist makes more extensive notes and adds them to their client’s file for future reference. 


What qualities make a good Children Psychologist?

A good Children Psychologist is someone who has a personable nature that helps children feel comfortable enough to open up about their thoughts and feelings. They use active listening to maintain an engaging conversation with children and their parents. Children Psychologists also have a calming presence to reassure concerned parents. Further, a good Children Psychologist values continued education, which helps them learn more about mental illnesses and how to diagnose cases in children.


Who does a Children Psychologist report to?

A Children Psychologist typically reports to a Clinical Supervisor or Clinical Director at the facility they work for. These professionals set professional guidelines for the facility and connect Children Psychologists with clients.

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