Education in Child Life

Education in Child Life

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What undergraduate degrees provide a solid academic foundation for a career in Child Life?

Students majoring in Family and Human Development (BS in Family & Human Development) receive a solid foundation in child development and family life.  Students who major in therapeutic recreation (BS in Parks & Recreation Management with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation) gain knowledge required of a health professional to provide therapeutic intervention services.Undergraduate students interested in Child Life will benefit from taking the recommended courses from both areas as the coursework will help students prepare for the National Child Life Exam.

In addition, students who are pursuing social work, psychology, and education frequently express interest in Child Life as a career choice. Students in these majors are welcome to enroll in the courses listed under Curriculum.

Q: What coursework do I need to take to meet the Child Life Council requirement for a “child life course taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS)?”

Play in Child Life (PRM 455) is an undergraduate course taught by a Child Life Specialist (CCLS). The course covers all the required applied areas of study, however, due the depth of the material, a pre-requisite course is required. This course is Children Facing Healthcare Challenges (CDE 244). The combination of these courses provides students with in depth review of Child Life Documents, scope of practice, impact of illness, injury and healthcare on patients and families, family-centered care, therapeutic play and preparation.

Q: How do I enroll in these courses?

Enrolling in these courses in no different from enrolling in any other course at ASU. We recommend that you work with your academic advisor to see how to fit these courses into your academic program.
Q: After completing these courses, will I have met the necessary requirements to meet the Child Life national certification?

While these courses will help students prepare for the national qualifying Child Life exam, they will NOT qualify one to practice as a Child Life Specialist For updated eligibility requirements to become a Child Life Specialist, see the Child Life Council website (

Q: How do the recommended courses prepare me to take the Certified Child Life Specialist exam administered by the Child Life Council?

Child Life Specialists are experts in child development who promote effective coping among children who face challenges related to healthcare and hospitalization.  In addition, Child Life Specialists play a role in educating caregivers about the needs of children under stress, thereby providing guidance for parents as their children confront health issues.  Child Life can be considered a career choice; employment opportunities for Child Life Specialists exist both locally and nationally at hospitals and related health facilities.  The recommended coursework capitalizes on the strength of both Therapeutic Recreation and Human Development and the Family by providing training in intervention and child and family development and that will help prepare students for the Child Life Specialist exam.