Division 53 | Directory FAQ

Directory FAQ

FAQ - Graduate Programs in Clinical Child/Adolescent and Pediatric Psychology

1. Do I have to attend a doctoral program with a formal “Child/Peds Track” if I would like to be a clinical child or pediatric researcher or clinician?

No. To conduct clinical child or pediatric research during one’s career, it is essential to gain research experience during graduate school that will allow you to become acquainted with relevant theories and methods and to gain independent research experience (i.e., masters thesis, dissertation, presentations, publications) in these areas. Typically, these experiences are obtained when selecting a research mentor with expertise in clinical child or pediatric psychology. To become a clinician in clinical child/adolescent or pediatric psychology, it is necessary to develop clinical expertise, either during your doctoral training, predoctoral internship, or postdoctoral fellowship. Placement in an internship or postdoctoral fellowship often depends in part on the quality and content of doctoral training experiences; thus, it is important to obtain high quality clinical training with children and adolescents to the extent possible to pursue this type of career.

2. If my research mentor or clinical supervisor is in the child or pediatric area, does it matter how many other child/peds faculty are at the program?

Although some of your training experiences will occur in the context of primary mentoring relationships, many of your courses, clinical training experiences, and opportunities for research collaboration will involve other members of the core clinical faculty. In many departments, a cadre of faculty with similar interests or expertise can promote a scientific community in which students benefit from shared resources and training opportunities. Note that the number of students with similar interests also can strongly contribute to training opportunities within a department. Because the numbers of faculty and students provide only a rough proxy of the type of scientific community available in a department, it is recommended that you carefully assess the opportunities for clinical child/pediatric training during the application process (e.g., during an on-site interview, for instance).

3. Does it matter how many students in the program have clinical child/adolescent and/or pediatric interests?

Much like the number of faculty, the number of students in the program with similar interests can have an important impact on the intellectual climate of the department, and opportunities for colleagial relationships. Be sure to find out whether the program you are interested in has sufficient resources (available mentors, openings in popular practica) to meet the needs of students with similar interests.

4. How do I interpret the data regarding “Coursework?”

Most graduate programs in clinical psychology offer training that is applicable to several areas of clinical research and practice (e.g., adult clinical, child clinical, pediatric, health, neuropsychology, etc). Due to the large curriculum of most graduate programs, it is not possible for students to obtain the necessary training to develop an expertise in all of these clinical sub-disciplines, but rather to obtain broad exposure to several. Thus, some training inevitably occurs in the context of broader overview classes, which may provide exposure to several different approaches in an introductory fashion. Students who wish to develop expertise specifically in clinical child/adolescent or pediatric psychology may benefit from coursework that is specifically dedicated to these content areas in greater depth. The data listed in this directory indicate how many courses in the graduate curriculum are dedicated specifically to training clinical child or pediatric psychology.

5. What if I am not sure whether I am interested in working with children, adults, or both?

Many applicants to graduate school have not yet determined their main interests. Graduate programs typically offer opportunities to work with several different populations, and to gain exposure to research in many different areas. However, the need to commit to a predominant graduate training focus during the application phase varies considerably across programs. For students who are reasonably certain that they are interested in working with children or adolescents in a clinical or clinical health (i.e., pediatric) context, it is advisable to seek a match that will allow for the focused development of skills in these training areas.

6. What are “evidence-based treatments?”

Over the past several decades, a growing emphasis of psychotherapy research has been to examine the efficacy of different treatment approaches. This is a large endeavor, and there is not yet enough evidence to determine whether specific treatments will work for all youth, all diagnoses, or in all contexts. However, much progress has been made, and a substantial body of evidence now is available to support the efficacy of specific treatment approaches for several common disorders in childhood and adolescence (see the Evidence-Based Treatment Website for more information). Recognizing the importance of these findings, many programs have dedicated substantial resources to ensure that graduate students are clinically trained in these evidence-based approaches.