What about career paths?
Developmental psychology professionals attempt to understand human development, the processes and different aspects of development, with the aim of providing support to people for normal functioning and helping them become able and productive members of society. They work with people from all ages and diverse backgrounds. Developmental psychology professionals teach, conduct research, or work in applied settings. Those who work with children can be involved in child care; education; advocating healthy physical, social emotional, and cognitive development; addressing cognitive and learning disabilities and behavioral patterns and problems; and social services or similar areas. Certain professionals work with adolescents, including areas of education, disability, behavioral problems, juvenile delinquency, addiction, risky behaviors, career development, and so on. Others work with adults and older adults, examining normal and abnormal development, adjustment difficulties, physical or psychological well-being, retirement, assisted living, death and dying, and coping with grief. So a range of career paths are available for developmental psychology professionals within educational, social, health, and human services settings.
Dr. Mary Pinon, Coordinator of MS and PhD Programs in Developmental Psychology with the School of Psychology at Walden University, shares her professional career path.
An advanced degree in developmental psychology provides many career opportunities. With my master’s degree, I began my professional career as a research coordinator for 2 years for a multi-site grant project in Kansas City and Lawrence, Kansas. From there, I took an instructor position at Texas State University, where I was promoted to assistant professor when I received my doctoral degree. I taught developmental and introductory psychology courses and also conducted research. After eight years of teaching, I took a position as a program director at The Psychological Corporation, where I supervised the development of test instruments designed to identify learning disabilities and developmental delay in children. It was rewarding to know that I was making a difference by helping children get the support they needed.
I moved to Chicago and served as the vice president of programs for Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago. I used my experience in developmental psychology to develop new hands-on exhibits for young children and to update educational programs and community outreach.
From there, I began my position as Coordinator here at Walden. I have an opportunity to work with students from around the world and support them in their journey toward their own fulfilling careers. While I have worn many hats in my career, the education and training I received in developmental psychology allowed me to work in academia and the private sector, including the corporate world and a not-for-profit organization.