Child Life Specialist Qualifications | Blank Children's Hospital

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Child Life Specialist Qualifications

To become a Child Life Specialist, the following qualification should be met:  


A Bachelors or Masters degree in Child Life, human development or related field. Beginning 2012, a minimum of one course taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist is required to apply for an internship.

Please note some very important upcoming changes in certification eligibility requirements.

The CLC Board of Directors has approved a series of changes to the eligibility requirements for candidates for the Child Life Professional Certification Exam. These changes will not affect anyone currently certified or anyone who has already established eligibility and successfully completes the exam before 2019, as long as they do not allow their certification to lapse.

The following is a summary of the changes that will be implemented, effective January 1, 2019. For more details, please visit the Certification section of the CLC website.

Summary of Changes:

1. The course work requirement will require candidates for the Child Life Professional Certification Exam to have completed:

It is strongly recommended that applicants pursue this course work in the following areas:

  • human anatomy/physiology
  • medical terminology
  • ethics

2. The clinical experience (internship) requirement will be 600 hours (an increase from 480 hours).


These changes were recommended by a working group of content experts who assembled in 2013 to reassess current requirements, and approved by the CLC Board in 2014. The group's recommendations were based on an in-depth review of the certification practices of other professions, job requirements identified in the 2013 Practice Analysis Study, and a survey of the child life community. The group also considered previously-approved CLC documents such as the Undergraduate and Graduate Curriculum Recommendations, Child Life Competencies, and the Child Life Course Definition.

Please visit the Certification section of the CLC website for additional details about the upcoming changes to eligibility requirements.

Secondly, starting in 2022, all new candidates to be certified in Child Life must hold an advanced degree in Child Life or a master's degree with a concentration or emphasis in Child Life. CLC will grandfather in those who have become certified before 2022 as long as they keep their credentials current.

To read more about the CLC's upcoming changes, see


Completion of an internship in a pediatric setting under the supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist. Experience with children and families in a non-health care environment.  

The following clinical skills:

  • Knowledge of behavior and development
  • Leadership
  • Good communication
  • Knowledge and understanding of group dynamics and its principles
  • Ability to organize
  • Ability to play

Personal Qualities

  • Sensitivity
  • Ability to listen and work closely with adults and children
  • Self-awareness
  • Creative expression
  • Spontaneity
  • Independence
  • Flexibility