College of Agriculture & Human Ecology

Child Life

What Is Child Life?

  • A child life specialist is a psychosocial team member who serves children and families during times and in situations of stress.
  • The role of the child life specialist, currently found primarily in the hospital environment, is expanding to include children of adult patients and specialty areas, such as pediatric outpatient healthcare facilities, specialized camps, funeral homes and hospice.
  • Formal education includes courses such as anatomy and physiology, psychology, and sociology, as well as, child development and family courses.
  • Child life specific courses provide knowledge and skill in assessment, intervention, family-centered care, working as an interdisciplinary team member, bereavement, and professional responsibilities.
  • Child life students are trained to assist children and families in coping with the stress of healthcare experiences and equipped to provide interventions to support the child and family’s continued development.

Child Life Program

  • The child life program at Tennessee Tech is a gateway to the Certified Child Life Specialist credential. The goal of this program is to prepare students to meet certification eligibility requirements set by the Association of Child Life Professionals.
  • The child life program at Tennessee Tech is the first of its kind to be offered at the bachelor’s level in the state and is directed by a Certified Child Life Specialist with more than 10 years of clinical practice experience in children’s healthcare.
  • Students have opportunities to learn from child life professionals and to work with children and families throughout this curriculum.
  • Application to the Child Life program at Tennessee Tech is required and should be made in the second semester of sophomore year after completing HEC 2250 and while enrolled in HEC 2550.

The components of eligibility to sit for the Child Life Professional Certification Exam are:

  1. Baccalaureate degree.
  2. Complete 10 college courses in specific content areas - (including child life content taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist).
  3. Child Life Clinical Internship (600 hours under the direct supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist). 

Please see the Association of Child Life Professionals' website at www.childlife.org for more information about certification eligibility.

  • In order to earn a B.S. degree, Human Ecology, Child Life concentration, these requirements must be completed prior to graduation:
  1. Students must be accepted into and successfully complete a Child Life Practicum under the direct supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist. The practicum course may be taken in the Spring or Summer semester of the Junior year.
  2. Students must be accepted into and successfully complete a Child Life clinical experience (internship) which is supervised by a Certified Child Life Specialist. To pass the clinical experience course, students must earn minimal entry-level competence during the internship experience. 
  3. Students who are unsuccessful in securing placement for an appropriate practicum may not continue in the Child Life concentration. Students who are unsuccessful in securing an appropriate Child Life Internship prior to graduation, may not graduate with a degree in Human Ecology, concentration in Child Life.

     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.

Association of Child Life Professionals

Child life students at Preview Day 2017

Child Life students at Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children