According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job markets for social workers, preschool directors, and school counselors are growing faster than the national average. A doctorate in child development online opens doorways for these and many other careers that encourage childhood and community development. As a doctoral candidate, you acquire the theoretical foundation and leadership skills necessary to help children work toward positive emotional growth by delving into the biological and psychosocial stressors of childhood and young adulthood.
Choosing a Program
The key to choosing the right program is understanding your own career goals. With so many possible applications for a Ph.D. in child development -- including counseling, education, and government advocacy -- you need to identify which programs offer courses oriented to your professional objectives. For example, you should study emotional development through infancy and early childhood if you want to work one-on-one with students as a school guidance counselor, or develop your research skills to contribute to future government and community initiatives as an education analyst.
Popular concentrations in child development include cognition and emotional evolution, relevant particularly to social workers and educators. The infancy and early childhood specialization covers birth through age eight, which is valuable for preschool and elementary school educators, administrators, and counselors. Likewise, the young adult development specialization covers junior high and high school, and addresses issues related to puberty, mental health, and substance abuse.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Doctorate in Child Development Program?
Child development doctoral programs online offer many courses to tailor your degree to your career objectives. Courses will vary between schools, so evaluate the curriculum for each school to ensure it develops the skills you need for your future career.
Curriculum for an Online Doctoral Degree in Child Development
- Fundamentals of Social and Emotional Development: In this course, you track emotional development from birth through early education and the complex relationships forged through early education. Lectures discuss the psychological, social, and biological influences that shape young minds and define early experiences.
- Risk in Early Childhood Development: Students in this course tackle the challenging issue of risk management and stressors on young minds in early phases of childhood development. Students study mental health of children and primary caregivers, economic issues like poverty and chronic stress, and positive and negative coping mechanisms.
- Pedagogical Theory: This course examines the history and evolution of effective teaching. Students learn to address the psychosocial effects of teaching and educational structures on young minds to better comprehend how children and young adults learn.
- Educational Communication: Students in this class discuss and define the tenets of communication in educational contexts in this course. They learn how to communicate compellingly and give constructive critical feedback.
- Education Finance and Budgeting: Every future administrator or community leader must be conversant in the financial and budgeting restrictions underpinning modern education. This course teaches students to evaluate policy priorities, cost-benefit analysis, and performance management in case studies and hypothetical educational frameworks.
Online Doctorate in Child Development Careers
A doctorate in child development online leads to a range of career paths, including working in the community as a social worker, in the classroom as an educator, or behind the scenes as a school administrator.
- Social Worker: As a social worker, you liaise between families, therapists, foster care, and school and government agencies. You advocate for school and community resources and track individual children's recovery processes.
- Median Annual Salary: $47,980
- Projected Growth Rate: 16%
- Professor of Child Development: With a Ph.D., you can work as a professor in the field, teaching future students about the diversity of social and cultural contexts that impact education and early childhood development. Professors are responsible for creating and delivering course materials while maintaining an active understanding of new research.
- Median Annual Salary: $76,000
- Projected Growth Rate: 15%
- Elementary, Junior High, or High School Principal: As a principal, you can work at the elementary, junior high, or high school level to manage the complexities of a school system. Duties in this position include discipline administration, instructional management, and budget maintenance.
- Median Annual Salary: $94,390
- Projected Growth Rate: 8%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics