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 Pathway to becoming a Certified Child Life Specialist

​​Outgoing, friendly and motivated are common traits of a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS). 

CCLSs are professionals who are comfortable around children of all ages and genders. They adapt and think outside of the box. CCLSs feel comfortable in a medical setting, including being present during procedures.

Three steps to becoming a CCLS

1. Minimum of Bachelor's Degree

We strongly encourage a degree in Child Life through an endorsed academic program.

2. Related coursework

Complete 10 college-level courses in Child Life or a related department/subject:

  • (1) Child Life – must be taught by a CCLS
  • (2) Child Development – must cover growth/development from birth to 18 years
  • (1) Family Systems
  • (1) Therapeutic Benefits of Play
  • (1) Loss/Bereavement of Death/Dying
  • (1) Research
  • (3) Additional courses in Child Life or related content area (Human Anatomy/Physiology; Medical Terminology; Ethics)

3. Clinical experience (practicum and internship)

Child Life practicums and internships provide hands-on experience and prepare you for certification.

Learn about our practicum opportunities

View eligibility requirements at​

For high school students

Begin preparing for a Child Life profession.

Work with your high school counselor to select classes related to Child Life:

  • Child Development
  • Foreign Language
  • Health Careers or Health Professions
  • Home Economics (Family and Consumer Science)
  • Human Development
  • Interpersonal Communications
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

Consider taking additional coursework related to children, health, people skills, world cultures, diversity or kids with illnesses/disabilities.


Contact volunteer services at your local hospitals to see if they have pediatric opportunities.

There also are camps offering volunteer opportunities near Marshfield:


Volunteer work with healthy children is just as important. Consider after-school programs, day care, Boys and Girls Club or similar experiences.

For incoming or college students

Edgewood College (Madison, Wis.) offers a Child Life degree or closely-related field.

Major: Child Life (Department of Education)
Katie Glass, Ed.D, CCLS
Director Child Life Program

Child Life Program Edgewood College
School of Education Office Der. 226

1000 Edgewood College Drive
Madison, WI 53711-1997

ACLP endorsed program
Unive​rsity Of Wisconsin - Stevens Point    ​

Major: Family and Consumer Sciences

Becky Konietzki, Academic and Career Advisor

School of Health Sciences and Wellness

2001 Fourth Ave, UW-Stevens Point

Stevens Point, WI 54481​​​​

Specific coursework in Child Life helps prepare you for your internship and certification.

View additional Child Life academic progra​m​s