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Master of Science Child Life

Master of Science in Child Life

The Master of Science in Child Life prepares students to work with a special population: hospitalized children. Certified Child Life Specialists strive to educate and help children and their families cope with health care issues, thereby minimizing potential stress and anxiety for all.

Working with other health care professionals, Child Life Specialists empower children and adolescents to minimize anxiety, maintain relationships with their families, and retain their independence and self-esteem. The Child Life Specialist is a clinical educator who provides developmental coping and therapeutic interventions to help patients and families understand and cope with traumatic experiences, always respecting and honoring the family system and diversity. The inclusive program attracts diverse students from local, national, and international locations. Alumni are gainfully employed both nationally and globally. The comprehensive standalone program—including the Child Life core courses, eligibility assessment, clinical hospital internship, and eligibility to sit for the Child Life Professional Certification Examination—is designed, implemented, and evaluated to meet the specific clinical and academic standards set forth by the National Association of Child Life Professionals.

The MS in Child Life curriculum consists of 36 total units and is typically completed in three (3) years of study. The program culminates with a graduate seminar. The University also has partnerships with more than 65 hospitals nationwide and several in Canada for child life practicums and internships; two internship experiences are included in the degree requirements. All Child Life courses are taught by Certified Child Life Specialists, and our teaching team has more than 60 years of combined hospital child life experience.

Careers in Child Life

Certified Child Life Specialists help infants, children, adolescents, and their families cope with the stress and uncertainty of acute and chronic illness, injury, trauma, disability, loss, and bereavement. They provide evidence-based interventions catered to each patient’s unique age and situation. Interventions include therapeutic play, preparation for medical procedures, and education and counseling with the aim of reducing fear, anxiety, and pain.

Read the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ career outlook for Child Life Specialists.

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