Professional Development Units

Recertification by Professional Development Units (PDU) allows Certified Child Life Specialists® an opportunity to choose education and training options specific to their individual professional needs. In order to be eligible for recertification, CCLSs choosing the PDU option must earn a minimum number of Professional Development Units within their five-year recertification cycle. CCLSs may begin to collect PDUs immediately after they have taken the Child Life Professional Certification Examination. The deadline for submitting a PDU application is October 31.   

Watch Video: "PDU's and You" (YouTube)

Applicable Professional Development Units

Professional Development Units (PDU) must have been completed during the five-year cycle for which they are reported.

  • A CCLS may start accruing PDUs on the day the certification exam is passed and may continue to do so until October 31of the year in which certification will expire.
  • A recently recertified CCLS may begin accruing PDUs for the next recertification cycle on November 1 and may continue to do so until October 31 of the year in which the new certification cycle will expire.
  • Candidates will need to refer to the to establish a connection to each PDU session attended.
  • For each session, candidates will select one of the three domains from the Exam Content Outline.

Obtaining Credit 

Candidates may obtain credit for the following activity types:

  • Traditional professional development (conference sessions, college courses, workshops, seminars)
  • Independent study
  • Presenting
  • Internship supervision
  • Publishing
  • Professional service
  • Conference programs must be broken down into individual breakout sessions with an entry for each 

Reporting PDUs

For step by step instructions on entering PDUs into the certification portal, please see Making Your PDUs Count.

Important Notes

  • Certified Child Life Specialists must keep supporting documentation for each professional development activity in case the application is selected for random audit. 
  • Do not submit these materials unless requested by the Child Life Certifying Committee.
  • PDUs will be calculated in half hour increments only.  CCLSs may not earn PDUs for sessions less than 30 minutes.
  • Hours will be rounded down to the nearest half-hour increment. (For example, .75 will be credited as .5).
  • Unless otherwise specified, one education contact hour will be credited for one PDU.  

Additional Information

Please see the Recertification Manual for additional details.

PDU Opportunities

ACLP offers many PDU opportunities, such as webinars and recorded conference sessions on PlaybackACLP. For additional PDU opportunities, including external opportunities that are ACLP-approved, please click here.

For a complete listing of PDU-eligible activities, please refer to the Recertification Manual.

Do you have a great PDU source that we missed? Let us know!

Random Audit of Professional Development Unit Submissions

It is the responsibility of the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP), through the Child Life Certifying Committee (CLCC), to uphold and enforce the high standards that have been set for child life professional development through an audit of Professional Development Unit (PDU) recertification applications. This annual audit is a random review of selected applications. The percentage of certificants to be audited is set by the CLCC. Audit of PDUs does not mean that there is doubt about the honesty or accuracy of a claim. It is essential to maintain a complete file of documentation of PDUs in the event your application is randomly selected for the audit process.