Updated on August 4, 2020
How to Become a Child Therapist
A child therapist is a person who helps young people, children who are having a tough time in their life. It might be that someone close to them has died or their parents may have divorced or the child has been subjected to abuse of some kind. These are serious and unsettling times for the child and require the care and expert attention of a therapist who is trained in handling such patients. It is vitally important work and there are several steps you can and need to take to become a .
From the qualifications point of view, a child therapist is either a medical doctor with a special interest in pediatrics or someone who has obtained a PhD with a major in psychology.
If you develop an interest in becoming a child therapist while still in high school, you could take on voluntary work assisting in a crisis center simply to see how medical professionals deal with different types of cases with children. You could talk with child therapists and discover more of the nature of their work. Even your career guidance officer at school may have helpful information. If you are still keen on such a career, planning your college entry and the course you will undertake is very important.
The degree and post graduate studies you will be required to undertake are well set out and so you should plan your secondary education subjects to meet the college requirements. Some colleges will have a child therapy section attached to a teaching hospital and a high reputation of a college is a good indication of its importance. Obtaining your qualifications is one thing but getting excellent experience working with a highly respected mentor is another.
Should you take specific subjects at college? Yes. More and more child therapists today undertake a master’s degree in which they specialize in counseling, psychiatric nursing or psychology.
Know that there are various fields involving child therapy and you could specialize in one or more. For instance do you wish to work with autistic children or those who have suffered abuse or older children who have become depressed even suicidal? Discover the work involved in the various fields of child therapy and choose an area in which you can become a specialist.
Further study is often greatly to your advantage. First because it may be the key to certain appointments later in your career. Second because you can become aware of recent developments in the treatment of children. Therapy is an evolving practice and you should always keep yourself in the loop learning about new developments.
You could work for a hospital or other medical facility or even be self-employed. You would be wise not to rush into self-employment and before doing so, ensure you have full indemnity insurance and work cover care to provide support in any eventuality.
Each state has its own licensing board and you will need your qualifications approved and your registration granted before being able to practice in that particular state.
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