Steps to Get Started in Child Therapy in Alaska
As an Alaska resident with dreams of becoming a child therapist, you likely have quite a few questions about just how you should get started toward pursuing a career in the field. Before we get into the specifics, however, it’s important to sit down and think about why you want to go into child therapy as a profession. If the first answers that come into your mind are to make money or to make other people look up to you, then this probably isn’t the career for you. If, however, your desires are to help children achieve a better life and to become more successful adults, then you might just be cut out for the job.
While child therapy is considered prestigious by many and while the salary can be quite lucrative, these are not good reasons to embark on this challenging and often emotionally draining career. Being a child therapist takes years of education, to which you must be fully committed. It also requires hard work once you have found a job. As a therapist, you will work with troubled children day in and day out, and you will see some not so pretty things about the world. For that reason, if you are not fully devoted to what you do and if you aren't doing it for the right reasons, the money won't be enough to keep you happy.
Good child therapists are hard working, patient, kindhearted, good listeners, non-judgmental, loving, gifted with children, and know how to leave their work at work. While empathy is an important quality for a therapist to have, it's important that therapists be able to distance themselves from their work somewhat to avoid getting burnt out. While some of these skills can be learned through education and training, you need to possess some of them innately if you are truly going to be successful. If, after reading all of this, you still feel that a career in child therapy is right for you, then you might just be right for the job! Your first step is to explore your different career options in the field. Do you want to be a clinical therapist who works in a private practice? Do you want to work in the school system? Are you interested in working in child protective services? Once you've figured out what you want to do and the educational path you'll need to follow to get there, then you're ready to get started.
No matter what you wish to do in the field, every successful career gets started with a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Once you've earned that degree, you can either try to find entry level positions in the field, or you can choose to pursue a master's degree. From there, you can earn certification, accreditation, and perhaps even a doctoral degree if you're willing to commit yourself to the additional years of schooling. The sky is the limit for those who work hard and set goals for themselves.