The Requirements

After people ask me what Child Life is, they ask me a variety of other questions. Note the following:

  • What kind of schooling do you need for that?
  • Where do you work after?
  • How long does it take to become certified?

Of course, these questions do not come with black and white answers.

What kind of schooling do you need for that?Β 

To become a Certified Child Life Specialist, a person requires a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited university. In addition to this, specific course requirements are also needed, both college-level and child-life specific course(s). In addition, a child life internship must also be completed before being eligible to sit for the Child Life Certification Exam. The internship must be 480 hours and completed in a setting in which the work done can be directly supervised by a Certified Child Life Specialist. To learn more about the eligibility requirements, visit the Child Life Council website.

Where do you work after?Β 

Child Life Specialists are employed in a wide variety of settings. While the majority maintain a vital position within children’s care teams in hospital, they have also branched out and have begun to hold roles within other areas as well. This includes doctors’ offices, hospice, court systems, specialized camps, schools, and funeral homes. For more information on where child life specialists can work, visit the Child Life Council website.

How long does it take to become certified?

The length of time it takes to become certified depends on the program(s) the individual enrols in. First, a bachelor’s degree can be completed in either three or four years. A child life certificate program shouldΒ accept applications of students who have completed a 3-year degree, however, a Master’s Degree will require a 4-year B.A. as a basis for applying. Most master’s degrees that are offered provide a focus or concentration in child life and are offered in the United States. Master’s programs often take at least one year to complete, depending on the specific focus/topic of the program. Certificate programs typically take a year to complete, but again, all this depends on the specific school that is chosen. For a list of schools that offer recognized child life programs, visit the Child Life Council website.

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