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What it Takes to Become a Child Therapist in Wisconsin

If you live in the state of Wisconsin and dream of becoming a child therapist, you should know that your dreams are more than that—they have the actual potential to become your reality. Virtually anyone who possesses the right amount of determination and commitment can do all that it takes and meet all of the requirements of becoming a successful child therapist. If you truly think you have what it takes and you have researched the field in depth, then there is no better time than now to start making your career dreams a reality.

The educational degree that you will need will depend heavily on the exact job that you wish to have in the field. There are, unfortunately, a lot of schools in the state of Wisconsin that promise you can reach your career goals with only an associate's degree. While it can be tempting to believe the hype, you should know that associate's degrees, on their own, are essentially useless within the field. However, if you plan to use them as a starting point, they can be a smart choice. Since associate's degrees typically come from community colleges or from online colleges and universities, they are some of the cheapest degrees to earn. While they only provide you with a basic overview of the field, you can usually quite easily transfer the credits earned to any accredited bachelor's degree program for future success.

Bachelor's degrees are the absolute lowest level of education you can have and still find work in the field. Even then, it is still very entry level work and not what most people dream of when they think of having a career in child therapy. Bachelor's degrees may be earned in child therapy, though finding such a specialized major is difficult. Therefore, most people will earn their degrees in a somewhat related field, such as general psychology, applied psychology, child psychology, child development, sociology, or social work. Whatever you major in, you can easily supplement your education to make it appropriate for more specialized work by choosing to pursue a certification program as well. Certification programs are usually quite simplistic and require only an average of a month to a year to complete. Do be aware, however, that certifications are in no way a substitute to a formal education and, much like associate's degrees, do little to no good on their own.

If you really want to have success in the field, then you'll want to earn at least a master's degree, which is what most successful individuals working in the child therapy field will possess. This is the only degree, aside from the higher level doctorate degree, which will allow you to legally practice as a child therapist in the state of Wisconsin. Even then, you will still need a licensure in order to do so. You can earn your master's degree in as little as one to three years, depending upon the exact program and school, as well as the amount of time and commitment you have to give to earning your degree.

After having earned a master's degree, there is essentially nowhere to go but up. If you so desire, you can choose to pursue a doctorate level degree, more commonly known as a PhD. This is the degree that, when finally earned, grants you the title of "doctor." This degree program is intense, no matter where you go, and can take as long as seven years or more to complete. As such, most people tend to earn it while they are already pursuing a career in the field. The good thing about this is that many employers, especially at this advanced point in your life and career, are willing to fund all or at least part of your educational expenses, usually with the stipulation that you continue working for them for a set amount of time after receiving your degree.

No matter which degree program that you ultimately decide is for you, the main point is that you pursue an education and that you pursue the one that will help you to meet all of your goals –personally, professionally, and academically.