Students typically complete the required 33 semester hours over 24 months, taking two classes per back-to-back semester. You will begin your studies in the fall term. After five semesters of part-time coursework, you’ll complete an internship under the direct supervision of a certified child life specialist. Classes are held in the evenings at our River Forest campus, 10 miles west of downtown Chicago.

Degree Requirements
  • Satisfactorily complete 33 semester hours of credit while maintaining a minimum grade point average of 3.0 out of 4.0.
  • Successfully complete a minimum of 480 hours of a child life clinical internship or fellowship under the direct supervision of a certified child life specialist in a hospital setting.
Certification Procedure for Child Life Specialist Credential 
  • You must pass the Child Life Professional Certification Exam to earn certification in Child Life.
  • Before taking the examination, you must establish academic and clinical experience eligibility.
  • It is your responsibility to initiate the Eligibility Assessment Service from the Association of Child Life Professionals, which requires the submission of transcripts, verification of the successful completion of clinical practice and a fee.
  • The Association of Child Life Professionals reviews the materials and makes an eligibility determination.
  • Once eligibility is granted, you can register for the Child Life Professional Certification Exam.
  • If you achieve a passing score on the exam, you become a nationwide certified child life specialist for a five-year period.
  • Certification is renewable at the end of each certification period.