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Earn an Online PhD in Child Development

written by: Daniel Brecht•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 6/3/2010

Do you want a career in child development? Do you need a PhD, but your busy schedule is in the way? This article may be of help. The article is intended to help those interested in finding a school as well as provide some insight on the type of career and earnings one can make.

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    Why an Online Degree?

    Earning a degree online versus attending classes gives working adults the flexibility to continue their education without disrupting their time either at work or at home. Accredited online programs give students the same high quality education they would get in a traditional in-class program.

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    The Type of Education Involved

    Child development programs normally cover the following topics:

    • Social and Physiological Development
    • Parent-to-Child (and vice versa) Relationships
    • Youth Development (Learning, Skills, etc.)

    Each topic tends to focus on the cognitive, psychological, behavioral, and social changes of children.

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    Available PhD Programs in Child Development

    Erikson Institute

    • Ph.D. in Child Development

    Accreditation: Erikson Institute is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association (NCA) based in Chicago.

    Tuition: $770 per semester credit hour

    Schools fees:

    • One-time application fee for Ph.D. programs: $50
    • One-time matriculation fee for Ph.D. programs: $150
    • Annual student fees covering library, technology, and activity costs: $400

    Total Program Completion Credits: 42 credit hours beyond the master’s degree

    Note: Students take courses at both Erikson and Loyola, beginning with a seven-course child development core at Erikson.

    Capella University

    Available programs of study:

    • Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision
    • Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Studies
    • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology
    • PSY6020 - Topics in Child and Adolescent Development
    • PSY7220 - Child Psychology

    Accreditation: Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

    Tuition per quarter:

    • Coursework: $4,485
    • Comps/Dissertation: $3,945

    Total Program Credits: 120 Credits

    Note: Up to 48 quarter credits may be transferred into this program.

    Walden University

    • Ph.D. in Psychology

    Specialization: School Psychology

    • It emphasizes psychology and education in child development.

    Accreditation: Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.

    Application fee: $50 for each program

    Tuition 2009–2010: $445 per quarter credit hour

    Technology Fee: $35 per quarter

    Completion Requirements:

    • 174 total quarter credit hours, course-based
      • Core courses (126 cr.)
      • Dissertation (30 cr.)
      • Field experience (18 cr.)
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    Additional Program of Study

    MUST University

    • PhD Degree in Early Education (PhD-Early Education)

    Accreditation: MUST University is accredited by International Accreditation Organization (IAO) to award associate, bachelor, master, and doctorate level degrees.

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    Job Outlook

    Job Details

    A career in child development involves work which may include preschool children, toddlers, and infants. The role of someone working in child development is to overlook the upbringing (and growth) of the child. These professionals will help children overcome any developmental or learning disabilities they may encounter.

    Note: Individuals suitable for the job are patient, creative, flexible, and have the ability to nurture.

    Job Outlook and Salary

    A child development degree can lead to work in many different settings, so it's difficult to predict the job outlook and the salary of a PhD graduate in this field.

    For those who will work in position similar to child psychology, BLS says the amount of income earned depends on the psychology specialization; salaries can range from $152,000 for a child psychologist to $59,000 for an educational psychologist.

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    References and Useful Websites

    • Erikson Institute:
    • Loyola University Chicago:
    • Capella University:
    • Walden University:
    • MUST University:

    • Child Development Degrees:
    • Occupational Outlook:

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