The Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) credential is the exclusive certification issued by the Association of Child Life Professionals.  The CCLS credentialing program is a rigorous, examination-based professional certification credential to increase the proficiency of child life professionals by identifying a body of knowledge; establishing a level of comprehension and performance necessary for certification; and increasing the value of practitioners to their employers.

The Process of Becoming Certified

Academic Requirements

Individuals are required to complete degree and course work requirements prior to registering for the certification exam.

Clinical Experience Requirements

Individuals are required to complete hours under the direct supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist prior to registering for the certification exam.

The Exam

Once academic and clinical experience requirements are complete, individuals must successfully pass the certification exam in order to hold the CCLS credential.

Getting started with an Eligibility Assessment

The Eligibility Assessment Service incorporates the course work review and exam application into one streamlined process.  Applicants pay a one-time* fee of $75 to open an Assessment “file” and gradually submit information and materials (including official transcripts and other verification documents) as the requirements for establishing exam eligibility are completed. Once all steps in the Eligibility Assessment have been completed, the applicant is granted access to register for an upcoming exam.

Learn More

Why Become Certified?

There are many benefits associated with becoming a Certified Child Life Specialist:

  • Professional Identity -- Earn the exclusive right to identify yourself as a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS), the only credential issued in the child life profession.
  • Recognition -- Achieve formal acknowledgement of your professional accomplishment.
  • Advancement -- Benefit from enhanced career opportunities, with the potential for increased salary.
  • Respect -- Improve your credibility by validating your specialized knowledge and expertise to peers, management and other interdisciplinary colleagues.
  • Growth -- Dedicate yourself to continued professional excellence through education and professional development.
  • Passion -- Demonstrate your commitment to the child life profession.
  • Pride -- Enjoy elevated self-esteem and satisfaction in your work.


Candidate Manual

The Candidate Manual is a detailed, printer-friendly document that provides a comprehensive overview of the certification process, intended for use by individuals who are interested in obtaining the CCLS credential. The manual provides information on child life certification including: eligibility requirements, application procedures, examination content and other essential information about the program.

Learn More


General Certification FAQs

  • Am I required to be a member of the Association of Child Life Professionals to be eligible for certification?

  • Is certification mandatory?