What is a Certified Child Life Specialist?

The Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) credential is the exclusive child life certification and is issued by the Child Life Certification Commission, a subsidiary of the Association of Child Life Professionals.  

The CCLS credentialing program is a rigorous, examination-based professional certification designed to promote the proficiency of child life professionals by identifying a body of knowledge, establishing a level of comprehension, and verifying mastery of critical child life concepts.

Why Hire Certified Child Life Specialists?

The child life profession exists to promote optimal development of infants, children, youth and family members and to minimize psychosocial trauma in children facing a broad range of challenging experiences, particularly related to health care and hospitalization. The American Academy of Pediatrics affirms that child life is “an essential component of quality pediatric health care,” and as such, child life services have become a standard in most pediatric hospital settings. (American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Hospital Care. (2006) Child life services. Pediatrics, 106, 1156-1159)

Current Program Highlights

Digital Badges

A digital badge represents an achievement, skill, or credential online.  The Child Life Certification Commission issues digital badges to all Certified Child Life Specialists to be used to represent visually the achievement of earning the CCLS designation.

With a single click on the badge, the viewer is directed to verifiable information about the rigorous process of earning the credential, the Child Life Certification Commission, and the Association of Child Life Professionals. This allows the viewer to confirm the current authenticity of certification and learn more about the requirements, professional skills, and competencies involved.

With digital badges, CCLSs can take ownership of their achievement by displaying the badge on social media and other platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, as well as over email and on personal websites. This sharing capability helps CCLSs move forward professionally by making them more visible to employers and peers in professional communities.

Our digital badging partner, Acclaim, provides a link from CCLSs’ badges to real-time labor market data, meaning that they can connect with active job postings that require the credential and its relevant skills.

The Certification Cycle

Pursue Certification

Individuals wishing to become certified must meet specific academic and clinical experience requirements in addition to passing the Child Life Professional Certification Exam. 

Maintain Certification

For the first four years of the certification cycle, Certified Child Life Specialists have an annual maintenance requirement.


Recertification occurs in the fifth year of the certification cycle. Individuals can recertify by earning PDUs or by re-taking the Child Life Professional Certification Examination.

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.

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Maintenance & Recertification Manual

The Recertification Manual is a printable-document providing detailed information on earning, counting, reporting, and documenting professional development units (PDUs) towards recertification. It includes helpful reference guides and important forms like the PDU Verification Form and Recertification by PDU Application.

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