What is a Child Development Counselor?

If you would like to become a counseling specialist who works specifically with patients throughout their early childhood, you may be interested in becoming a child development counselor. Early childhood counselors help children who are six and older with a diverse range of problems from mental health disabilities and physical disabilities to psychological issues and other developmental issues that commonly occur during childhood. Here is what you can expect to do if you pursue a job in child development counseling:

What Does a Child Counselor Do?

When someone experiences hardships while they are young, the events that have affected them might affect the child’s ability to develop out of adolescence and into adulthood. It is a child counselor’s job to analyze a distressed child who is exhibiting specific symptoms so that they can use the right therapy techniques that will help the child cope and develop.

The role of the counselor depends on the child’s issue with cognitive or emotional development. If the child is coping with a traumatic experience, there are unique play therapy interventions that counselors can use. It is also common for counselors to use play therapies for children who suffer from ADHD to help them cope with attention problems. The counselor will build relationships with their patients, help children gain insight, and help use different techniques to enhance a child’s behavior or attitude.

How to Get Qualified in Childhood Development Counseling

If you would like to work as a youth counselor, you need to know how to get qualified to work in the field. The requirements for licensing vary from state to state, but in most states you will need a minimum of a master’s degree in counseling before you can qualify for a state-issued license.

The first step to becoming a counselor if you have not completed any schooling is to earn your bachelor’s degree from a four-year college majoring in something like counseling, psychology or social work. Once you earn your four-year degree you will be qualified to enter into a master’s degree program where you will complete two years of advanced curriculum that is focused on child development and child counseling. Once you have a master’s you must pass a background check and complete first aid training to sit for a licensing exam through the state. Once you pass the exam, your professional certification will be issued through the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Where Can You Work as a Child Counselor?

There are a variety of settings that counselors can work in. If your clients are mainly children who are having difficulties developing there are still a lot of settings that you can work in. Some of these settings include:

  • Public and private schools
  • Colleges
  • Research institutes
  • Government agencies
  • Private practices
  • Health clinics
  • Hospitals

The demand for counselors, in general, is on the incline. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is projected to grow by 8 percent by 2024. Demand for social workers and community workers is projected to grow as high as 12 percent. This is why youth counseling is in high demand.

Related Resource: Grief Counselor

Search for an accredited counseling program so that you can get your licensed and your certification. Once you are qualified, you can start to help kids cope with developmental issues to make life easier. Study to become a child development counselor for a new start with a career.