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Become A Child Life Specialist

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Working As A Child Life Specialist

  • Getting Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Stressful

  • $30,830

    Average Salary

What Does A Child Life Specialist Do At Baystate Health

* Areas you may be asked to cover include: Emergency Department, Operating Room, Inpatient Units, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Procedure Unit, Outpatient Specialty Clinic and Radiology
* As the Child Life Specialist you will function as an integral partner of the health care team, facilitating patient and family-centered support and advocating and enabling psychosocially sound practices across the continuum of care.
* You will facilitate individualized, therapeutic interventions through collaboration with the patient, family, and health care team members.
* Anticipate, initiate, and respond collaboratively to provide developmentally appropriate procedural preparation and support for patients and families.
* Recognize, address, and utilize therapeutic play to facilitate mastery and coping.
* Advocate for identified patient and family needs.
* Complete Minimum Requirements and Additional Responsibilities at CCLS I Proficient Level from the BCH Clinical Recognition Program.
* May be asked to perform other similar and related duties as assigned

What Does A Child Life Specialist Do At University of Virginia Health System

* Recognize and address the importance of therapeutic play in facilitating children’s mastery of and coping with health care experiences.
* Appropriately observe and assess patient and family learning style, diagnostic understanding, and needs.
* Prepare children and families for medical procedures
* Facilitate supervised medical play opportunities for patients and their siblings to support coping skills.
* Assist patients with chronic illnesses and their families in coping with diagnosis, treatment, hospitalization, and loss.
* Assess and interact with patients and families using theories of human growth
* Treats children, parents, and team members with dignity and respect.
* Establishes relationships with team members and families that reflect the key elements of family-centered care.
* Functions as an effective team member, working with administration, team members,, and volunteers, to ensure that appropriate parties are kept informed and those individual and collaborative assignments/responsibilities are met.
* Maintains records.
* Meets training requirements on an annual basis

What Does A Child Life Specialist Do At Lifetime Care

* Collaborate with the CN Case Manager to determine goals and objectives of interventions with the child/family.
* Maintain ongoing dialogue with Child Life Staff at the facility where the child receives “primary care” to determine interventions that have been successful with the child/family and to provide consistency of care.
* Promote family-centered care.
* Hold initial meeting with family:
* Build rapport, assess family strengths and support system(s) for child and/or siblings.
* Determine developmental needs of child/siblings.
* Assess responses of child(ren) to health care experiences based on observation during play session self-report (dependent on age of child) and/or reports of parents and home health care providers.
* Determine coping style(s) and potential interventions with child and/or siblings.
* Provide ongoing interventions:
* Attempt to minimize stress and anxiety for the child/siblings in the home setting.
* Provide developmentally appropriate opportunities for play to foster growth and development, support treatment and/or comfort care goals, provide diversion, observe concerns and maximize cognitive, emotional, social and physical development.
* Provide ongoing opportunities for children to practice and master relaxation and distraction techniques.
* Provide ongoing education and information to parents/caregivers related to child development, childrens’ reaction(s) to stress and healthcare experiences, effects of illness on family dynamics, behavior encouragement techniques.
* Provide opportunities for family members to participate in expressive/therapeutic play activities including grief, loss, and legacy work as appropriate.
* Consistently demonstrates high standards of integrity by supporting the Lifetime Healthcare Companies’ mission and values and adhering to the Corporate Code of Conduct.
* Maintains high regard for member and patient privacy in accordance with the corporate privacy policies and procedures.
* Regular and reliable attendance is required.
* Performs other functions as assigned by management

What Does A Child Life Specialist Do At Aultman Health Foundation

* Observe and assess the needs of infants, children, youth and families using formal and informal techniques.
* Prepares children and their families for medical procedures or treatments based on their assessed development/emotional l levels.
* Introduces coping strategies to help reduce anxiety and enhance cooperation with the health care team.
* Provides support and distraction during medical procedures and other potentially stressful events.
* Offers opportunities for play and expressive activities to encourage normal growth and development.
* Promotes family –centered care by providing information, advocacy and support to families of pediatric patients.
* Properly and accurately document and chart on child and family interventions.
* Maintain appropriate professional boundaries with children, families and staff.
* Participate in interdisciplinary/ departmental team meetings and communicate developmental and psychosocial needs of children.
* Establishes and maintains professional certification as well as affiliations and associations with individuals, organizations and institutions including but not limited to the Child Life Council

What Does A Child Life Specialist Do At Cleveland Clinic

* Assesses and documents patients' developmental level, emotional state, understanding of hospitalization and procedures using informal assessment techniques throughout the hospital stay.
* Provides education, preparation and therapeutic intervention for medical events to help children and families cope based on developmental and emotional level.
* Assists patients and families with relaxation techniques to decrease stress, increase coping skills, and cooperation during tests and procedures.
* Provides diversional activities in the playroom/activity room and bedside based on individual capabilities and needs.
* Provides education and information to enhance parental understanding of hospital system and resources.
* Participates in psychosocial, interdisciplinary and/or departmental team meetings and communicate developmental and psychosocial needs of children.
* Organizes and manages special events, special guests, support groups and other regularly scheduled events.
* Participates in the orientation, direction and development of Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital volunteers.
* Supervises Practicum/Internship students in the capacity of a Certified Child Life Specialist.
* Manages play materials, supplies and equipment for playrooms by assuming responsibility for its cleanliness and storage.
* Maintains inventory of both donated and purchased goods.
* Represents the Child Life program in appropriate Cleveland Clinic committees.
* Other duties as assigned

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How To Become A Child Life Specialist

Requirements for social and human service assistants vary, although they typically have at least a high school diploma and must complete a brief period of on-the-job training. Some employers prefer to hire workers who have additional education or experience.


Although a high school diploma is typically required, some employers prefer to hire workers who have relevant work experience or education beyond high school. A certificate or an associate’s degree in a subject such as human services, gerontology (working with older adults), or social or behavioral science is common for workers entering this occupation.

Human service degree programs train students to observe and interview patients, carry out treatment plans, and handle people who are undergoing a crisis. Many programs include fieldwork to give students hands-on experience.

The level of education that social and human service assistants have completed often determines the responsibilities they are given. Those with a high school diploma are likely to do lower level work, such as helping clients fill out paperwork. Assistants with some college education may coordinate program activities or manage a group home.

Although postsecondary education is important, some employers may prefer or allow for applicants who have related work experience. In some cases, candidates may substitute such experience in place of postsecondary education. 


Many social and human service assistants, particularly those without any postsecondary education, undergo a period of on-the-job training. Because such workers often are dealing with multiple clients from a wide variety of backgrounds, on-the-job training in case management helps prepare them to respond appropriately to the different needs and situations of their clients.


For social and human service assistants, additional education is almost always necessary for advancement. In general, advancement to case management or social work jobs requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree in human services, counseling, rehabilitation, social work, or a related field.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Social and human service assistants talk with clients about the challenges in their lives and assist them in getting help. These workers must be able to listen to their clients and to communicate the clients’ needs to organizations that can help them.

Compassion. Social and human service assistants often work with people who are in stressful and difficult situations. To develop strong relationships, they must have compassion and empathy for their clients.

Interpersonal skills. Social and human service assistants must make their clients feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues. Assistants also need to build relationships with other service providers to become familiar with all of the resources that are available in their communities.

Organizational skills. Social and human service assistants often must complete lots of paperwork and work with many different clients. They must be organized in order to ensure that the paperwork is filed properly and that clients are getting the help they need.

Problem-solving skills. Social and human service assistants help clients find solutions to their problems. They must be able to listen carefully to their clients’ needs and offer practical solutions.

Time-management skills. Social and human service assistants often work with many clients. They must manage their time effectively to ensure that their clients are getting the attention they need.

Some employers require a criminal background check. In some settings, workers need a valid driver’s license.

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Child Life Specialist jobs

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Child Life Specialist Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Chinese

  • Tagalog

  • Korean

  • Japanese

  • Urdu

  • Hindi

  • Arabic

  • Italian

  • Portuguese

  • Vietnamese

  • Filipino

  • Hebrew

  • Igbo

  • Yoruba

  • Burmese

  • Cantonese

  • Mandarin

  • Gujarati

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Child Life Specialist

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Child Life Specialist Education

Child Life Specialist

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Real Child Life Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Child Life Specialist Mount Sinai Medical Center New York, NY Sep 28, 2014 $52,894
Child Life Specialist/Life Skills Specialist Mount Sinai Medical Center New York, NY Jan 07, 2014 $52,000
Child Life Specialist Mount Sinai Medical Center New York, NY May 24, 2014 $46,350
Child Life Specialist VHS Childrens Hospital of Michigan, Inc. Detroit, MI Jan 01, 2011 $39,236

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Top Skills for A Child Life Specialist


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Top Child Life Specialist Skills

  1. Emergency Department
  2. Emotional Support
  3. Special Events
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Implemented therapeutic play techniques under the supervision of a Child Life Specialist in the Pediatric Emergency Department.
  • Provided emotional support to patients and their families through instruction of coping techniques.
  • Coordinated special events for pediatric patients and pediatric donations to the Pediatrics Department.
  • Conducted play therapy sessions with the patients and facilitated the emotional experience of difficult medical procedures.
  • Provided opportunities for medical play and provided procedural preparation and support to patients.

Top Child Life Specialist Employers

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