What They Do:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, child life specialists, “help children and families understand and cope with a child’s hospital experience. Hospitals can be overwhelming, especially for a child and for the parents or family of a child. To support a child, child life specialists might encourage play or self-expression; for parents, it might be education or emotional support. Child life specialists assess what the child and family need and then fill the gap between their medical care and their everyday lives.”



  • Bachelor's degree

  • Practicum hours and/or internship required

  • Many obtain a master's degree

  • The Association of Child Life Professionals offers certification to people who have earned a bachelor’s degree in any subject, taken courses in child development and other topics, completed a practicum, and passed an exam.


What They Make:

The 2017 median annual wage was $60,380; higher than the $37,690 median annual wage for all workers.


Where They Work:

Child life specialists may be hospital-based or facility-based.  


Career Outlook:

7% employment growth is projected from 2019 to 2029, as fast as average.  




Updated February 2021