Child Life Specialist Degrees: Online Programs

Child life specialists work with children who have acute or chronic illnesses and their families. Online bachelor's or master's degree programs in child and family studies are available. These programs can lead to certification as a child life specialist. Read on to learn about program details and certification requirements. Schools offering Child Care Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Online Programs are Available to Aspiring Child Life Specialists?

Online programs in child and family development, consumer and family sciences, child studies and child life, which meet academic requirements to become a child life specialist, are available at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Some programs offer a child life specialist concentration. To enroll in a bachelor's degree program, you won't need much beyond a high school diploma.

For a master's degree program, your resume must show experience working with children. These programs incorporate the necessary academic requirements in family dynamics, psychology, counseling, sociology, child life and development to become certified as a child life specialist.

Many programs are available entirely online, but some have only select courses available for online study. The program also has clinical experience requirements, where you work with children and families in hospitals and counseling environments. You'll gain experience working with children who are healthy and ill. Internships may also be available.

Degree Levels Bachelor's and master's
Common Courses Parent-child relations, working with young children, child development theories
Certification Requirements Required coursework, supervised clinical experience, passage of certification exam

What Will I Learn?

Through bachelor's degree programs preparing you for a career as a child life specialist, you'll learn to provide for children's emotional, intellectual, social and physical needs. You'll interact with children who are sick and provide comfort and care to them. Some course subjects you might explore include:

  • Parent-child relations
  • Death, dying and grief
  • Poverty and the American family
  • Working with young children and families

Master's degree programs focus on the changing relationship between children and families. You'll study the development of relationships with friends, family and significant others. At this level, some programs have thesis and non-thesis options. Some courses you could take include:

  • Adulthood and aging
  • Parent education
  • Prenatal and infant development
  • Theories in child development

What Additional Certifications Do I Need to Become a Child Life Specialist?

You will need to earn certification to become a child life specialist. The certification is offered by the Child Life Council (www.childlife.org). To earn it, you must have at least a bachelor's degree with ten courses in child life or similar areas and 480 hours of supervised clinical experience in child life. After meeting the requirements, you are eligible to take the certification exam, which tests your ability to understand and practice child life theories.

After passing the certification exam, you become a certified child life specialist. As a child life specialist, you'll be responsible for working with children with acute or chronic illnesses as they work through their illnesses and the recovery process. You'll provide support to the family and prepare the children for different stages of the procedure. You'll also educate families about the illness, their options and what to expect.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

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    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

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    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • New England College

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    Popular programs at New England College:

    • Bachelor Degrees
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  • Northcentral University

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  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Colorado State University Global

    Colorado State University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Regent University

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    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master
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