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Choosing the Right Child Therapy Programs in West Virginia

West Virginia is a state that has a serious need for qualified child therapy professionals. While there are many who seek out and apply for these prestigious and obviously very important positions, only a few actually have the necessary education and training to achieve them. In order to make yourself one of the elite, you have to first determine the exact job that you wish to have in the field. Once you know this, the only thing that is left to do is to determine the educational requirements for your desired position and then to go out and make them a reality.

Many people first start out in the field by pursuing an associate's degree. While this might seem like a small start, it can actually open a lot of doorways in the field. An associate's degree on its own isn't worth much of anything, but once you transfer those credits to a bachelor's degree program, you can achieve almost anything that you desire. Associate's degrees are a wonderful alternative for those already working full time or who have families to care for, because many classes are offered online or during the evening hours. Furthermore, associate's degrees are typically offered at community colleges and strictly online schools, making them incredibly affordable to obtain for any budget. As long as you enter into an associate's degree program knowing that you will eventually need to transfer the credits to an accredited bachelor's degree program, you should have no problem.

A bachelor's degree is essentially the lowest level degree that you can have in order to still find work in the field. These degrees are offered from many traditional colleges and universities within the state of West Virginia, as well as from a handful of online colleges and universities. While majors in child therapy itself are not common, you can choose to major in any one of a wide number of related areas. Common majors for those ready to pursue careers in the field include general psychology, applied psychology, child psychology, child development, family and child health, sociology, school system psychology, social work, and many more. With this degree under your belt, you are either ready to pursue higher education in the field or to begin working in very entry level positions. Many people choose to work in the field as they earn higher level degrees; the choice is up to you.

After earning a bachelor's degree, you are eligible to earn a master's degree which is what most successful professionals working in the child therapy field will possess. If you have already earned your bachelor's degree in an unrelated field, even if it is highly unrelated, don't worry. You don't have to start all over from scratch! Many master's level programs will gladly accept those students from diverse academic backgrounds. In fact, the unique perspective that they and they alone can bring to the program is often highly valued. Plus, once you have this degree you are able to pursue licensure or, if you desire, even higher levels of education.

The top educational level that child therapists can hope to achieve is the doctorate degree, also commonly known as a PhD. This is the degree that actually makes you a "doctor." With it, you might open your own practice, manage other child therapists, conduct research, or even write books pertaining to the field. Whatever you decide to do, know that you will make the highest salary possible. While this degree is intense and a huge commitment—it can take up to seven years of your life to complete—most feel that it is more than well worth it.

Also, keep in mind that if you decide to pursue higher education at any point that you are still working in the field, your employer may be willing to pay for all or at least part of your education. This might often come with the stipulation that you work for him or her for a set amount of time after receiving your diploma, but most people feel that this is a very fair trade. In the end, however, only you can decide which educational path and ultimate career goal is right for you.