Child Life Specialist

Give support to hospitalized children.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$16,000 – $29,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Child Life Specialists do?

Just like adults, children sometimes have to undergo surgeries or treatment for serious illnesses. This is never a fun thing, and for a child, it can be especially scary. Thankfully, there are Child Life Specialists out there to help them out. The job of a Child Life Specialist is to make the process a little less daunting by telling them what to expect, and providing a hand to hold as they go through treatment.

If you’re a Child Life Specialist, you do your best to make a child’s stay in the hospital as pleasant as possible. For example, you supply toys, books, and movies for their use; and organize craft and music activities. You might also arrange to take them out of the hospital on a field trip when appropriate, or arrange for visitors to perform at the hospital when that’s not possible.

As overwhelming as this time is for the child, he or she is not the only one affected by the situation. Parents, grandparents, extended family, friends, and siblings also need the support that you provide. Each family member experiences different fears, stresses, burdens, emotions, and concerns during a loved one’s illness. So you’re there to answer questions, connect them with support groups, or just be a shoulder to cry on.

You also have another important role in the treatment of the child. This involves regularly meeting with their Doctors, Nurses, Physical Therapists, and any other relevant staff on the case, both to glean input from them and to contribute your knowledge about the patient. Hospitalization can be a traumatic and gloomy experience. But with your knowledge and care, you help make the process a little more bearable.

Should I be a Child Life Specialist?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.

  • Also known as: Children's Lunchroom Supervisor

    How to become a Child Life Specialist

    Child Life Specialists often have a Certificate or higher. Chart?chd=s:9jnraa&chl=no+college+%2862%25%29|certificate+%289%25%29|associate%27s+%2813%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2817%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,62,62
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