How to Get Started in Child Therapy in PennsylvaniaIf you live in the state of Pennsylvania and are interested in pursuing a career in child therapy, then your first and biggest question is most likely about just how to get started in the field. The only real answer to that question is through education! Without a formal degree in child therapy or a closely related field, then you won't be eligible for any of the many job openings in the state. Different types of jobs will require different degree levels, but all of them will require an education of some sort.
If you have absolutely no formal education above high school, then you might be unsure of how to get started. One of the simplest ways to ease yourself into the college life is by choosing to pursue an associate's degree program. These very basic two year programs can be completed at many online colleges or at community colleges throughout the state. While on their own, associate's degrees are basically useless, the credits earned can easily be transferred to an accredited undergraduate institution. This is a great way to shave off some of the costs of getting your undergraduate degree and is also a wonderful alternative to traditional schooling for those with work, family, or other obligations to take care of. Of course, you might be up to the challenge of just going straight into a four year undergraduate program, either fully online, partially online, or at one of Pennsylvania's many fine colleges or universities. An undergraduate program is much more in depth than an associate's degree program and, once complete, will allow you to pursue a master's degree and thus licensure in the state. With a bachelor's degree alone, or with a bachelor's degree and some specialized certifications, you can gain entry level positions in the field only.
Most of the working professionals in the state will have their master's degrees from accredited colleges or universities. These degree programs can typically be completed in anywhere from one to three years and, as mentioned above, can qualify you to obtain licensure. You will need both a state license to practice therapy and a master's degree at least in order to truly be considered a "therapist" in the state of Pennsylvania. It's important to note that if you have already earned a bachelor's degree previously, even if it's in an unrelated field, you don't have to start your education over. Many master's degree programs gladly accept those students who have unrelated academic backgrounds. In fact, a great deal of programs consider the diversity and the unique perspective these students bring to the program to be a real strength.
When you're ready, you can also choose to pursue a doctorate degree. These degree programs are intense and can take as long as seven years to complete. However, they are an excellent way to earn more money and to qualify for the most prestigious and important positions available within the child therapy field.
Once you've decided what level degree is right for you at this point in your life, then all you have to do is to find the right college and program. Luckily, the state has no shortage of wonderful educational opportunities. Top choices in Pennsylvania include Albright College in Reading, with a bachelor's degree program in applied psychology; Allegheny College in Meadville, with a bachelor's degree program in general psychology; Alvernia College in reading, with bachelor's degree programs and master's degree programs in community psychology and general psychology; Arcadia University, an online college with bachelor's degree programs and master's degree programs in applied behavioral analysis, community psychology, counseling psychology, general psychology, marriage and family counseling, school psychology, and trauma studies; Baptist Bible College and Seminary, an online college, which offers a master's degree program in pastoral studies; Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, located in Bloomsburg, which offers bachelor's degree programs and master's degree programs in counselor education and supervision and general psychology; Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, which offers a doctorate degree program in clinical psychology; Bucknell University, located in Louisburg, which offers bachelor's degree programs and master's degree programs in general psychology and neuroscience; and Bucks County Community College in Newtown, with an associate's degree program in general psychology.