Gain the skills and experience you need for a rewarding career helping ease the fears, anxiety and pain of children and families in health care settings.

Child life specialists are in high demand at hospitals and, increasingly, across a wide variety of outpatient settings from clinics to dental offices. The number of jobs is forecast to grow 7 percent between 2016 and 2026, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

At the same time, requirements for entering the field are strengthening. By January 2022, only individuals with a master’s degree in child life or human development from an accredited program may become child life specialists. Our part-time evening program meets the academic standards established by the Association of Child Life Professionals and will prepare you to sit for the certification exam.

Dominican’s Child Life Studies program focuses on the multiple and complex psychosocial needs that accompany hospitalization and other health care experiences. Working closely with our community of professors, peers and professionals in the School of Education, you’ll be prepared to succeed in your career goal: making a difference in the lives of children and families under stress. 

What Does a Child Life Specialist Do?

In collaboration with the child’s entire health care team, you’ll:

  • Provide information, support and guidance to parents, siblings and other family members; play a vital role in educating caregivers, administrators and the general public about the needs of children under stress
  • Administer various types of non-biased assessments; use the acquired data to monitor the child’s progress and inform the planning of applicable child-centered and family-centered strategies and experiences
  • Implement effective coping and management strategies to maintain normal living patterns and minimize psychological trauma
The Dominican Difference

Rooted in the Sinsinawa tradition, the School of Education at Dominican University improves the human condition through education. We develop and support effective educators who transform ideas and challenges into solutions that impact diverse schools and communities to create a more just and humane world. We respond to the challenge that with knowledge comes ethical responsibility. The Dominican educator is passionate and prepared to “go where the work is great and difficult.” By providing candidates with a course of study that emphasizes the acquisition of professional knowledge, the expansion of personal insight, and an appreciation of diversity, the School of Education furthers the mission of Dominican University.