Typical requirements for becoming a child life specialist include a degree in a child life related field, experience in pediatric care and child life specialist certification. Child life specialists help children to cope with serious illnesses and medical conditions while undergoing treatment.
A bachelor’s degree in child life is essential to becoming a child life specialist. Other acceptable baccalaureate-level degrees include psychology, child and family studies, early childhood education and social work. Essential classes include family dynamics, human development and biomedical ethics. Child life specialists are generally required to have completed at least 10 child life related college-level courses.
Experience in pediatric care is another requirement for child life specialists. They are required to complete a fellowship under a certified child life specialist or complete a child life internship. Internship programs are available at specialized camp programs, pediatric rehabilitation facilities, children’s hospitals and pediatric hospices.
Lastly, a child life specialist should be certified. This involves taking and passing an exam administered by Child Life Council. The Child Life Professional Certification Exam takes up to four hours and includes multiple-choice questions. CLC study guides and online practice tests are available for aspiring candidates to help them prepare for the examination.
Child life specialists help children undergoing medical treatment with self-expression activities, education and coping with play.