Child Life Council
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Eligibility FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Exam Eligibility Requirements


I. General FAQs

I was previously certified, but my certification lapsed or expired.  Am I still eligible to take the exam?

All candidates must meet the current eligibility requirements regardless of past certification status. CCLSs whose certification has lapsed or expired must re-establish eligibility by starting the application process anew.  They must complete both parts of the exam application, document the completion of the current eligibility requirements, pay the exam fee, and successfully complete the examination

I have already established eligibility but didn’t take (or pass) the exam.  What do I need to submit in order to register for the exam again?

Provided that the eligibility requirements have not changed since you established eligibility, you would still be eligible to sit for the exam.   (see the Candidate Manual for details).

Please note that CCLSs whose certification lapsed or expired MUST begin the application process from the beginning, submitting all necessary documentation in order to re-establish eligibility.


Am I required to be a member of the Child Life Council to be eligible for certification?

Candidates for certification are not required to be members of the Child Life Council.  However, CLC members receive discounted rates on publications to prepare for the exam, examination fees, and certification fees once certified.

II. Baccalaureate Degree Requirement FAQs

Do I need a degree in child life to obtain certification?

At this time you are not required to obtain a degree in child life in order to be eligible to take the Child Life Professional Certification Exam. Your bachelor’s degree can be completed in any field of study.*

* This requirement will be changing.   A progression of steps has been outlined whereby in 2025 all newly credentialed Certified Child Life Specialists will be required to hold an advanced degree in child life from an academic program accredited by CLC.  A timeline  has been developed to help clarify these steps, and to assist those pursuing certification over the next few years to plan their academic path.

How can I locate a college or university that offers a child life degree? Which schools have the best child life programs?

For those interested in obtaining a degree specific to child life, the Students, Interns, & Educators section of the CLC website offers resources designed to help you make important decisions about choosing an academic program, including a self-reported list of child life academic programs in the U.S. and Canada, and a guide to selecting an academic program

CLC is developing academic endorsement and accreditation processes. It is expected that these will be implemented on a rolling basis beginning in 2015. Because CLC does not currently recognize academic institutions, we cannot provide official or unofficial opinions regarding the relative merits of child life academic programs. We encourage you to contact programs directly for more information, and to determine which academic program is right for you.


If I’m still in school working on my bachelor’s degree, can I take the exam?

All applicants are required to successfully complete their bachelor’s degree on or before the application deadline for the exam for which they are applying.  Applications from students anticipating graduation are no longer accepted.


III. Course Work Requirement FAQs


Do the required courses have to be taken for college credit?

Yes.  Non-credit or audited courses are not accepted.

Do the required courses have to be taken as part of a degree program?

The required courses can be taken as part of or in addition to a degree program.  Check with your college/university about enrollment requirements.

Do the required courses have to be 3-credit classes?

No.  There is no minimum number of credit hours per class.


Where can I take the required courses?

Courses meeting the requirement may be taken at any college or university that has been accredited by an organization that is recognized by either the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation or the international equivalent. Please check with your academic institution to determine its accreditation status.

Can the required courses be taken online?

Yes.  Courses may be taken either in-person or online. 

Am I required to take any child life-specific courses? 

Yes, all candidates must complete at least one child life course and that course must be taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist.

Why am I required to take a child life course?

CLCC seeks to ensure that individuals pursuing a career in child life will be proficient in their future practice by requiring an academic background that includes knowledge essential to child life practice.  Academic courses that prepare, support, and provide a solid academic and practical foundation for students allow them to build a foundation of knowledge in the core competencies of child life. 


Why does the child life course have to be taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist? 

When preparing students for areas of specialty such as child life, having content experts providing instruction is of great value.  Those who have earned the CCLS credential by successfully completing the Child Life Professional Certification Exam have demonstrated a level of expertise in child life that helps make them uniquely suitable to instruct aspiring child life practitioners.

Can the child life course be co-taught by a non-CCLS?

No.  All instruction must be provided by a CCLS.

How do I find a child life course taught by a CCLS?

The required course may be completed at any fully-accredited academic institution provided the required curriculum and instructor requirements are met.  There is a list of academic institutions that have reported that they offer a child life course taught by a CCLS in the Students, Interns, & Educators section of the CLC website.  CLC is not responsible for, nor does it endorse, the content or quality of any of these courses.  Prospective students are encouraged to contact the institutions listed at the following link for specific information:  

Do I have to submit a transcript for the child life course in addition to the Child Life Course Verification Form?

Yes, the child life course must appear on an official college/university transcript with a passing grade and the applicant must request an online validation or provide the Child Life Course Verification Form(s) from the CCLS instructor confirming that all six required topics of study were covered.

The child life course I took did not cover all of the six required topics.  What do I need to do?

Academic programs may choose to provide coverage of the six topics in more than one course as long as each course covering the areas is taught by a CCLS. In such cases, an online validation or Child Life Course Verification Form must be submitted for each course, providing confirmation that the applicant received instruction from a CCLS in each of the required topics of study.  As a result candidates may need to submit up to six online validations or  Child Life Course Verification Forms.  Other candidates will only need to submit one.

I’m taking my child life internship for college credit.  Can this count as my child life course taught by a CCLS?

No.  A child life internship taken for college credit cannot be used to satisfy this requirement.  Candidates must have BOTH an internship/fellowship AND a child life course taught by a CCLS in order to establish eligibility for the certification exam. 

I took my child life course a while ago and don’t have a Child Life Course Verification Form.  Can I still use the course to establish eligibility?

Without the online validation or Child Life Course Verification Form courses cannot be used to meet the requirement for a child life course taught by a CCLS.  However, they may count toward the other nine courses that are required.

I am enrolled in classes, but they won’t be complete before the application deadline for the exam I want to take.  Can I establish eligibility in anticipation of completing the required courses?

No.  All of the required course work must be complete on or before the exam application deadline for the administration for which you are applying.  If any of the required courses are not complete by that date, applicants must wait for a future exam date.  Course completion must be documented on an official transcript.


I don’t know if the classes I’ve taken will count; can my course work be reviewed before I apply for the exam?


If you are unsure if your course work meets the eligibility requirements, you may submit your classes for review. Complete the online Eligibility Assessment application and submit your official transcripts, and CLC will review your completed courses to determine if they meet the eligibility requirements.   More information.


How do I know if the child life course I take will be accepted?

CLC does not pre-approve, recommend or require specific courses to meet the educational requirements for exam eligibility.  It is therefore recommended that you contact your academic institution and/or instructor to verify the content of courses and your instructor’s credentials. It is incumbent on the instructor to confirm on the Child Life Course Verification Form or through an online process that the child life course curriculum has been satisfied.


IV. Clinical Experience Requirement FAQs

How do I get the clinical experience?

As the certifying body for child life specialists, Child Life Certifying Committee (CLCC) is limited as to the level of assistance that may be provided for internship placement.  We encourage candidates to contact facilities directly to locate programs and to determine if they are qualified for placement.  It is the prerogative of the hiring institution to set the requirements for internship positions, which vary among institutions and may include elements that are not required by CLCC. 

The CLC Child Life Clinical Program Directory can be a helpful tool in locating potential sources of clinical experience.  Child life programs from around the world have provided key contact information and details about their respective organizations, including internship information.  The Directory is available through CLC Community. This is only accessible to members of CLC.  For more information about membership, please visit


Can I use hours that I have worked as a child life specialist or child life assistant to meet the clinical experience requirement?

The required clinical experience hours must be earned through a structured learning experience such as a child life internship or fellowship.  Paid work experience is no longer accepted to meet this requirement. 

Can I use hours that I have worked with children outside the child life profession to meet the clinical experience requirement?

Other types of clinical experience may not be substituted for any portion of the clinical hours. All 480 hours must be obtained through an internship or fellowship in child life.

Can I obtain the hours at more than one site?

Yes. If an institution is offering a term shorter than 480 hours, then you will need to acquire additional hours at another facility.  You must submit a Clinical Experience Verification Form signed by the supervisor or request that your supervisor complete the online verification process for each site where you obtained your clinical training.

Do the clinical hours I completed in the past still count?

Yes, provided that the hours meet the current requirements and can be documented through the online verification process or via the Clinical Experience Verification Form


I am an independent intern (not currently affiliated with a college or university) looking for liability insurance. Does CLC have any information about insurance companies that cover the child life specialty?

CLC does not have a formal agreement with any particular company to provide liability insurance for child life specialists. However, we can pass along some tips based on experiences reported by other interns. Please contact for more information.