College of Agriculture & Human Ecology

Child Life

What Is Child Life?

The child life program prepares students to pursue careers as child life specialists. An in-depth knowledge of child development and family relations provides foundational education for child life. Child life specific courses foster knowledge and skill in assessment, intervention, family-centered care, working as an interdisciplinary team member and professional responsibilities. Child life students are trained to assist children and families in coping with the stress of healthcare experiences while providing interventions to support continued development.

What Can I Do with a Child Life Degree?

A child life specialist is a psychosocial team member who serves children and families during times of stress typically in healthcare encounters. The role for the child life specialist is expanding to include children of adult patients and specialty areas, such as pediatric outpatient healthcare facilities, specialized camps, funeral homes and hospices.

The child life program at Tennessee Tech is the first of its kind to be offered at the bachelor’s level in the state. The program was created and is directed by a Certified Child Life Specialist with more than 10 years of clinical practice experience in children’s healthcare. The formal education requirements include human ecology, anatomy and physiology, psychology, sociology and general education courses. The goal of this program is to prepare students to meet national certification eligibility requirements set by the Child Life Council. There are opportunities to learn from child life professionals and to work with children and families throughout this curriculum. The capstone course is an internship in which students work in a pediatric healthcare setting under the direct supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist.

Child Life Handbook and Application to the Child Life concentration is required as a gateway to the Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) credential. Choosing the concentration requires application to upper division courses. Information provided below.

There are four components of eligibility to sit for the CCLS certification exam. They are:

  1. A baccalaureate degree until 2022 when a master’s degree is required.
  2. Child life content taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist.
  3. A minimum of 10 college-level courses per the Child Life Council’s specifications.
  4. Clinical child life experiences (Internship of 480-600 hours under direct supervision of a CCLS in good standing).

Association of Child Life Professionals

May 2016 grads: Miranda, Kelsey, and Lnysey


Child Life Students experience medical play