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Requirements to Become a Child Therapist in New Jersey

Today, more and more New Jersey residents are deciding that they want to go into the field of child therapy and pursue a career in it. The reasons for the sudden spike in interest in this profession are obvious. Child therapy is a career field that is not only lucrative, but that is also prestigious. What's more is that child therapists are actually given the rare opportunity to have a positive impact in the lives of others each day that they get up and go to work. Because they are helping to shape and mold our children, they are also helping to change the future, one life at a time.

It's important to note, however, that a lot of people go into child therapy for the wrong reasons. Those who enter into the field solely for the money or just out of a desire to impress others are the ones who tend to get burnt out rather quickly once they start working or who, worse yet, don't even make it through their first few years of school. To keep this from happening to you, you first have to make sure that your heart is in the right place.

The "right" reason to go into a career in child therapy is because you have a heart for children and a strong desire to help them. However, this alone isn't enough. You must also possess certain other important characteristics such as the ability to leave your work at work at the end of the day. Not being able to separate your home life from your work life is an easy way to get burnt out. Furthermore, successful child therapists should be good listeners, kind, patient, non judgmental, ethical, sympathetic, analytical, hardworking, and capable of communicating with children on their level.

Almost anyone who has these qualities and who is willing to take the time to complete schooling successfully can find a job in the field. One other important thing to mention, however, is the need for a fairly clean criminal background history. All hiring organizations will require you to undergo a background check, no matter how much school you have or how much they like you during the interview. While a few misdemeanors or other small charges in your past are acceptable, you will generally not be hired with any felony charges and definitely not with any charges relating to the mistreatment or sexual abuse of children.

As long as none of these things are a problem for you, then you're ready to get started on the path toward making your career dreams a reality. Where you'll need to start depends upon you and where you're at now. If you have no formal schooling outside of a high school diploma or its equivalent, then you can begin with an associate's degree program or a bachelor's degree program. Associate's degree programs are completed in about two years, but you'll need to transfer the credits earned to an undergraduate institution in order to find success in the field. With a bachelor's degree earned from an accredited college or university, you can pursue entry level work in child therapy.

The most important thing about a bachelor's degree, however, is that it opens the doors and makes it possible or you to earn a master's degree and then even a doctorate degree if you so desire. With these higher level degrees, you can pursue licensure and/or certification by the state. Plus, you'll be eligible for the most lucrative positions around, as well as for the most prestigious.