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2018 Job Analysis Report

Why a Job Analysis?

A Job Analysis is conducted to determine the tasks a child life specialist performs and the knowledge/skills needed to perform those tasks competently. It is an essential step in safeguarding consumers as it is a methodology for defining the characteristics of an individual who has the capacity to perform competently.

It is essential that examination content be reviewed periodically to ensure that existing outlines continue
to cover the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required for competent practice in the field.

Job Analysis Process

1. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) were selected to represent the population of child life specialists. Factors considered in selection:

  • Educational background.
  • Familiarity with ACLP documents
  • Geographic location
  • Primary job role
  • Number of years certified
  • Size of program

SMEs met over the course of 3 days and discussed the current exam blueprint, drafted revisions and discussed eligibility requirements necessary to produce a candidate with the capacity to perform the tasks they defined as the basis for an entry-level practitioner.

They also discussed the education and training that would be needed for an individual to develop the knowledge and skills the panel determined are required for competent performance as a minimally-competent, entry-level child life specialist, all in order to gain a better understanding of any prerequisite training that would be needed.

2. Schroeder Measurement Technologies, a professional testing service, devised a survey instrument to validate the work of the SME panel.

  • The survey was sent to all CCLSs.
  • There were over 1,400 responses to the survey.
  • This reflects a nearly 30% response rate.
  • Survey respondents rated each of the tasks defined in step one based on frequency and importance.
  • Over 98% indicated that the blueprint adequately or completely covered the essential tasks performed by a child life specialist.

3. The SME panelists met again to discuss any irregularities and comments from the survey.

  • SME panelists were also asked to review the demographics of the survey respondents.  They determined that the respondents were an appropriate sampling of the CCLS population across the demographic elements collected.

  • Decisions were made about the inclusion of a few tasks that were questioned by survey respondents.

  • They engaged in a robust discussion of eligibility.

  • The new blueprint was thus finalized.

About the Subject Matter Expert (SME) Panelists

SMEs had child life experience from 3 to over 15 years.

To see a full list of all the SMEs chosen as panelists for phase one of the Job Analysis, click here.

SMEs’ Primary Job Roles:

  • Two child life program leaders
  • One community-based practitioner
  • Six clinical practitioners
  • One academic coordinator
  • One retired CCLS

SME's Educational Level:

  • 6-Bachelor’s
  • 2-Master's Degree
  • 2-PhD

SMEs represented the following:

  • AL, CA, CT, DC, FL, IA, PA, TN, TX, and BC, Canada

Job Analysis Survey Respondents

  • 59% had over 5 years of experience in child life.

  • 83% work in a hospital setting.

  • Survey respondents reported the following education levels:

    Bachelor’s = 59%     Master’s = 37%     PhD = 3%

Summary of SMEs' Recommendations As a Result of The Job Analysis:

Keeping in mind that the primary role of certification is the protection of the public from entering a therapeutic relationship with unqualified individuals, whether bachelor’s-prepared child life specialists put the public at risk was discussed. The consensus was that they do not. While both undergraduate and graduate study are important, the group agreed that a master’s degree is not essential to obtain the KSAs present in the new blueprint.

In addition, the question, “Are the 2019 requirements enough to obtain all the KSAs in the new exam content outline?” was posed.  The ability of the 2019 requirements to prepare for the new exam blueprint will continue to be assessed.  However, the SMEs felt the 10 courses and the internship provide a strong foundation for the basics of child life and preparation for the exam.  The assessment from this job analysis is that the 2019 requirements stand and no changes are expected in the near term.   

CLCC will use exam results to assess any knowledge gaps that candidates might exhibit.  If there are areas where a majority are struggling, this might suggest the need to revisit the eligibility requirements.  Collecting meaningful data will take some time. CLCC is prepared to look at this in preparation for the next job analysis which will likely take place in 2023.

For a letter detailing the 2018 Job Analysis process and results, click here.

About the Survey

At the end of the survey, respondents were asked to rate the effectiveness of the survey in identifying essential task elements performed by a child life specialist.  Just over 98% of individuals who provided a response indicated that the survey either adequately or completely covered the essential tasks performed by a child life specialist.

Survey respondents were asked to rate the importance of knowledge and skill elements to the role of a child life specialist and the frequency with which each is performed or used as a part of their work.  No KSA was rated as “Not Important” more than 3% of the time.

For the frequency ratings, a total of five elements had “Almost Never” percentages of greater than 5%.

Averaged across all KSAs, the mean importance rating was 2.6 (3-point scale); only 2 elements (out of 77) had average importance ratings of less than 2.0 (“Quite Important”). The remaining 75 KSAs had ratings above 2.0 with an overall average of 2.66.

The Cronbach’s Alpha reliability estimate was calculated to evaluate the internal consistency of the task element ratings. This statistic is bound between 0 and 1, with higher values indicating higher reliability, meaning that ratings obtained from the survey are reliable and consistent. As a rule of thumb, reliability estimates above 0.7 are considered acceptable. For this survey, Cronbach’s Alpha was 0.99 for the importance ratings, indicating that the ratings obtained were reliable.

Based on results of the survey and the high average importance ratings across all KSAs, the SME panel decided that each of the 77 rated KSAs would be included in the final examination blueprint.


Through this process, the SMEs concluded that there is more than the entry level of practice in child life.  Therefore, the CLCC will be conducting a feasibility study in 2019 on the possibility of a new advanced practice credential. It is important to note this is a feasibility study that will help CLCC determine if an advanced practice credential is something needed and possible in our field.