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Children develop in several different areas from birth through adolescences, including in cognitive, physical, emotional, behavioral, and social growth. With a Master’s in Child Development, graduates will be prepared to work in social work, counseling, education, and other related fields to help support the developmental growth of children of all ages.

Graduate Degrees in Child Development

Child development master’s degrees prepare graduates for various careers. Common coursework includes research methods, quantitative design and analysis, theories in childhood development, child psychology, adolescent psychology, and prenatal development. For graduate students who are completing a concentration in a specified area of the field, additional courses such as theories in socio-emotional development, parent and child relationships, techniques in special needs development, and theories in intervention and prevention may also be required.

Graduate students will also be required to complete a master’s thesis or capstone project to successfully complete a degree. Both require extensive field work and observation, as well as data analysis and the ability to make recommendations and draw conclusions. In order to finish a master’s in child development, having the prerequisite knowledge, education, and experience are essential. A Master’s in Child Development is also likely to be required for graduates who plan to pursue a doctorate degree.

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Requirements for Acceptance into Child Development Master’s Programs

Graduate degree programs in child development will require completion of an undergraduate degree in order to qualify. Some programs require the bachelor’s degree to be in a specific field related to child development in some way, such as early childhood education, psychology, counseling, or social services.

Graduate programs might also include prerequisite undergraduate classes, including children and families in diverse society, language development, nutrition and health for children, and advanced child cognitive development. If these courses were not completed in undergraduate coursework, applicants may be required to complete before admission into a graduate program.

Other requirements often include a minimum undergraduate grade point average, successfully passing the GRE or GMAT, a recommendation of an employer, and previous work experience in the field of childhood development.

Child Development Specialties

In some graduate degree programs, child development professionals may be able to concentrate in a specific area of expertise, including options in mental health, social services, and early childhood education. To further add to skills and knowledge in a specialization, master’s degree graduates can also join professional associations and seek additional credentialing. Social work professionals who seek opportunities in helping children, for instance, can continue to gain skills in post-degree programs such as the  Certified Advanced Children, Youth, and Family Social Worker credential  through the National Association of Social Workers. The  National Association for the Education of Young Children  (NAEYC) is a professional association with beneficial resources and conferences for educators entering into early childhood careers.

Child development encompasses many disciplines of study, from emotional well-being to developmental psychology to cognitive learning in children from birth through adolescence. In order to be prepared to work with children in social work, education, counseling, and other fields, a Master’s in Child Development is a requirement to ensure that the knowledge and skill to support all levels of developing is obtained.

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