Students learn to advocate for children and their families
The 43-credit Child Life Online program prepares students for careers as Certified Child Life Specialists in both hospital and community health care environments. Students develop the skills necessary to promote family-centered care and learn how to work with children and their families who are living with the realities of chronic or terminal illness, surgery, trauma, injuries and disabilities. Students learn developmentally meaningful ways of working with children and their families in health care settings.
Through the program, students gain an understanding of medical issues coupled with a firm grounding in practice. This combination of theory and practice serves as an excellent support for child life specialists who work with children, youth and families. Students learn to advocate for children and their families, prepare children for medical procedures, teach children and their families about their illness, create opportunities that strengthen self-esteem and independence, minimize stress and anxiety for children and their families, provide nonpharmacological techniques to comfort children, and provide normal life experiences that promote optimal growth and development.
The Child Life Council grants Child Life Professional Certification. Upon completion of our Child Life master's degree, graduates will have satisfied the course requirements, will have completed the mandated 560- to 600-hour internship in a child life program supervised by Certified Child Life Specialist, and will be prepared to take the certification examination given by the Child Life Council at selected locations. For more information, contact the Child Life Council at (301) 881-7090 or (800) 252-4515 or visit www.childlife.org.
Applicants to the Child Life program need to have completed a bachelor’s degree and to demonstrate experience working with children with health care needs. Before applying to the program candidates need to complete a minimum of 100 hours in a child life setting under the direction of a Certified Child Life Specialist. Experience with children in alternative health care settings will be considered.
Our priority deadline for the fall semester is February 18th.
For the Child Life Online program, you'll need to be set up with specific technical requirements. For more information, click here. Additionally, you'll need to fill out the Online Course Competencies Questionnaire.
Clinical Experience and Supervised Fieldwork/Advisement
During the year of supervised fieldwork/advisement, students work as interns in child life healthcare settings where they are mentored by a Bank Street advisor and supervised by Certified Child Life Specialists in their fieldwork placement. Supervised fieldwork students participate in a weekly online conference group and ongoing advisement, which is instrumental in supporting professional growth and development during their internship.
Securing an Approved Internship Position
All child life students are required to secure an internship position in a clinical setting for the fall and spring of the supervised fieldwork year. Students need to complete a total of 560-600 hours in an approved setting by the completion of their internship. To gain this highly competitive position, Child Life students must apply for a minimum of five internship placements. Each student must be interviewed for, accepted into, and matched with an appropriate setting. Matches are made based on consideration of the student’s preferences, the sites’ preferences, and the availability of internships. Ultimately, the college cannot guarantee internship placement. If a student cannot secure a placement, the student will need to go through the intern application process the following year. The internship is a mandatory component of the program. A student who is unable to secure an internship after trying for two years will not be able to complete the degree.
The Child Life Council has outlined technical standards for internship candidates of clinical programs as a way of informing candidates of required academic and clinical criteria that are essential for participation in clinical child life programs. Technical standards for child life clinical students include physical, communication, intellectual, and social/behavioral abilities and can be found here.
Integrative Master’s Project
Before graduating, candidates complete an independent study (master's thesis), site-based inquiry, collaborative student-faculty inquiry or mentor-directed essay. Each student’s choice will depend on their own goals and learning style. This project allows students to pursue an area of particular interest to them, or to weave together the threads and understandings of their Bank Street graduate experience which includes coursework and supervised field work.