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You’re already on your way to a great education and potentially a great job working with children if you’re in Pickens Technical College’s Early Childhood Education program. And you’re not even out of high school yet. The paths you can take after your post-secondary education, particularly if you’re already on the Early Childhood Education track, are many.

By now you’ve already learned a bit about what you can use your background in ECE for later in your career. If working with children is something you love, you’ll find many opportunities for you that require or prefer people who have an ECE background. Education is an obvious choice for you, as is social work or even pediatric medicine if you choose that path. But another often overlooked path available to you as an ECE expert is child psychology.

But what is child psychology and what do child psychologists do?

Contexts of Child Psychology

As you might imagine, child psychologists work with children to improve their thought processes, emotional states, etc. Much in the way normal psychologists work, they communicate with children to get to the bottom of their psychological issues, which could be the result of abuse, traumatic past events, unstable living situations, etc. Because children are the most vulnerable patients psychologists work with, the need to help them get through and over difficult mental issues drives their important work.

Child psychology operates these days in three main contexts: social, cultural, and socioeconomic. Child psychologists are interested in child development and how these factors affect development. Part of the work child psychologists does is try to understand how all these contexts interact with each other and affect children and development.

But What Do They Do, Exactly?

It depends. Some child psychologists go into research or teaching, trying to get to the bottom of the large contexts and forces that affect many children at once. They study the effects of large societal forces on children.

Other child psychologists do the work of traditional psychologists by working with children individually to help them resolve their issues (or at least come to face them) and correct any detriments to development their psychological issues might have.

As in any professional field, there is plenty of opportunity for specialization in child psychology. Many psychologists help children with certain types of trauma, such as sexual abuse. Others help children develop their own thought processes and even identity.

Still, other psychologists choose to use their study and knowledge to recommend changes to childcare policies or programs.

Opportunities Abound

People aren’t likely to stop having kids, and those children will need help growing and living their lives to the fullest. There will always be a need for child psychologists. Professionals in this field who have a background in Early Childhood Education are all the more valuable in this field, which is constantly changing as new research and ideas are brought forth. If you choose to use your ECE background in this way, you’ll be on track to a useful and fulfilling career.