Stories you may like
By Nsim Team
If you want to become a child life specialist, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a child life specialist:
• You have knowledge of child play behaviour, as well as grief and loss behaviour
• You are able to teach coping strategies that are age and procedure appropriate
• You are able to easily adapt and be flexible in a hectic work environment
• You have a keen interest in helping children and families
• You are very kind, patient and empathic
• You have a strong desire to work in a hospital or other health care facility
Who is a Child Life Specialist ?
Child life specialists are responsible for educating, preparing and supporting children through difficult tests and procedures related to chronic or acute illness.
Child life specialists also advocate for the special needs of children and their families, and administer programs that provide children with opportunities to engage in normal play and recreational activities that promote growth, development and feelings of success and fulfillment.
Education Needed to Become a Child Life Specialist
To qualify for writing the exam become a certified child life specialist (CCLS), you need a Bachelor's degree* from an accredited school, 10 courses in child life or related subjects (such as child and youth care, child development, child and family studies or child psychology), and 480 hours of a child life internship under a practicing CCLS.
Skills Needed to Become a Child Life Specialist
In order to become effective in a career as a child life specialist, and perform your job duties with competence, you need to posses a certain set of skills, including:
• Knowledge of medical terminology, as well as anatomy/physiology
• Knowledge of child play behaviour, as well as grief and loss behaviour
• Able to teach coping strategies that are age and procedure appropriate
• Able to easily adapt and be flexible in a hectic work environment
• Able to prioritize caseloads
• Able to work well both independently and within a multidisciplinary team
• Excellent communication, conflict resolution, team building and interpersonal skills
Who Creates Jobs for Child Life Specialists?
Certified child life specialists (CCLS) are typically only employed in children's hospitals or medical centers with large amounts of beds in their pediatric unit, although some child life specialist are employed in outpatient settings such as clinics, dental offices, hospice, camps or community intervention programs for children with special health care needs.
Because jobs are typically limited to large regional healthcare facilities, they are usually located in large urban centres. Job openings for certified child life specialists are also relatively rare, so those that are available are very competitive.
Related Links: Health Services Manager