Child Life Specialist

Miami is one of only 2 universities in Ohio to offer the Child Life programs.

The Child Life Specialist certificate includes the coursework is required for eligibility to take the Child Life Professional Certification Exam.

Certified Child Life Specialists often work in pediatric hospitals but may also work in other spaces (e.g., courtrooms, funeral homes or bereavement services) where children may experience illness-related trauma. The field of Child Life is evidence-based, providing interventions (e.g., therapeutic play, education, self-care, stress reduction, distraction, etc) with children and families that are developmentally appropriate. As important members of a child’s care team, Child Life Specialists serve an important role in improving the illness-related experiences of both patients and their families.


Undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing certification as a Child Life Specialist should complete the undergraduate Child Life Specialist certificate.

Graduate students who are interested in pursuing certification as a child life specialist should complete the graduate Child Life Specialist Certificate.

Courses Approved by the Association of Child Life Professionals

  • PSY 294: Writing and Research Methods (3)
  • KNH 295: Research and Evaluation Methods (3)
  • FSW 245: Children and Families: Ages Conception - 12 (3)
  • FSW 261: Diverse Family Systems Across the Life Cycle (3)
  • FSW 295: Research and Evaluation Methods (3)
  • FSW 318: Child Life Theory and Practice (3)
  • FSW/SOC 435/535: Death Studies (3)
  • FSW 445/545: Therapeutic Play (3)
  • FSW 475/575: Family Theories (3)
  • FSW 481/FSW 581: Adolescent Development in Diverse Families: Ages 13-25 (3)
  • FSW 616: Graduate Social Work Research I

Concentration Application/Admissions

Information about admission to the undergraduate certificate.

Information about admission to the graduate certificate.

Certification Process

  1.     Bachelor’s Degree that includes required 10 courses.
  2.     Child Life Experience: Complete a minimum of 600 hours of a child life clinical experience under the direct supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist. Volunteer, practicum and paid work hours are not accepted. This experience is not included in the Family Science major with the Child Life Specialist concentration. Miami University does not guarantee successful acceptance to these highly-competitive experiences but offers academic preparation and application assistance.  

(Source: Association of Child Life Professionals)

Additional Information

The Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) provides an Eligibility Assessment where candidates for certification can track their progress through the various requirements and will ultimately allow them to register for the certification exam.  Candidates will need to complete the above-outlined requirements before they are eligible to apply to be a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) from the ACLP. Upon successful completion of the certification exam, the CCLS credential is granted and candidates will continue to the path of maintaining your certification.

Go to to learn more about the certification exam and changes to be made for the requirements to be a CCLS within the next 8 years.