Child Life Council
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Getting Certified



The Child Life Professional Certification Program is a rigorous, examination-based professional certification credential. The requirements for getting certified are based on academic and clinical experiences, and successful completion of the Child Life Professional Certification Examination.  We recommend that all child life professionals interested in becoming certified start by downloading the Candidate Manual, a detailed, printer-friendly document that provides a comprehensive overview of the certification process, along with instructions for establishing eligibility and applying for the exam.


Current Eligibility Requirements - Overview

Currently, in order to establish eligibility for the exam, candidates must meet three requirements prior to the exam application deadline. 

  1. Minimum of Baccalaureate Degree

    Applicants must have successfully completed a bachelor’s degree.*

    * 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.

  2. Course Work

    Applicants must have completed a total of 10 college-level courses in child life or a related department/subject* including a minimum of one child life course taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS).

    *Course work requirements will be changing effective in 2019. See Upcoming Eligibility Requirement Changes for more information.

  3. Clinical Child Life Experience

    Applicants must complete a minimum of 480 hours* of child life clinical experience under the direct supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist who meets specific qualifications.

    *The number of hours required will increase to 600 beginning in 2019. See Upcoming Eligibility Requirement Changes for for more information.

Please refer to the comprehensive section on Eligibility Requirements and Eligibility FAQs for additional details. Eligibility requirements are subject to change.  See Upcoming Eligibility Requirement Changes for a list of changes that will go into effect in 2019.


Eligibility Assessment/Course Work Review

As of September 1, 2014, the Course Work Review Service has been suspended and has been replaced by the new Eligibility Assessment service.    

The Eligibility Assessment is the first in an updated two-step exam application process. In the first step, applicants will log into their profile, pay a fee for the Eligibility Assessment, and begin entering their eligibility information, including course work. 

Because many child life internship programs require applicants to document that they have met the academic requirements for certification, an evaluation report similar to the Course Work Review results will be available for the applicant to print and distribute at any time during the Eligibility Assessment period.

Once eligibility is established, the applicant’s status will change to “candidate,” and he or she may complete the second step by paying the separate exam fee and registering for an exam administration.  

This change was initiated by the CLCC as part of an overall effort to streamline the exam application experience, and to provide applicants with a user-friendly tool for monitoring their progress toward establishing eligibility. 

  Learn more.


Certification Fees

There are currently three different types of fees associated with the certification process: Eligibility Assessment/Examination Fees, Certification Maintenance Fees, and Recertification Fees.  Learn more about Certification Fees


Code of Professional Practice

The Code of Professional Practice addresses ethical dilemmas, behavior that reflects on the child life profession and conduct that may put the general public at risk. All Certified Child Life Specialists are required to provide confirmation of their consent to abide by the code. For more information, please review the Code of Professional Practice


Candidate Manual

The Candidate Manual is a detailed, printer-friendly document that provides a comprehensive overview of the certification process, along with instructions for establishing eligibility and applying for the exam. Review the Candidate Manual


Maintenance and Recertification Manual

The Certification Maintenance and Recertification Manual  is a detailed, printer-friendly document that provides a comprehensive overview of the maintenance and recertification processes. This manual is published by the Child Life Certifying Committee and outlines the steps required to maintain Child Life Professional Certification as well as the process to recertify at the end of the five-year certification cycle.  Review the Maintenance and Recertification Manual