Eligibility Requirements (Before 2019)

Although it is possible to become certified under the current academic requirements until the end of the November 2018 exam administration, the ACLP Certifying Committee strongly encourages all applicants who have not yet completed their academic course work to do so according to the new 2019 standards. This recommendation is to ensure continued eligibility in case of delays completing course work, obtaining and completing an internship, or passing the exam.

These eligibility requirements are for exams taking place before 2019. If you do not plan to take the exam before 2019, click here to find the requirements relevant to your timeline.

Please Note: If you plan to be certified in 2018, the deadline to apply for the last available internship cycle (summer 2018) is January 5, 2018. If you are not accepted into an internship and are unable to fulfill all the requirements for certification in 2018, you will have to meet the new requirements taking effect in 2019.

In order to establish eligibility for the Certification Examination, candidates must meet the eligibility requirements prior to the exam application deadline. Individuals may track their progress through the requirements via the Eligibility Assessment.


Bachelor's Degree Requirements

Applicants must have successfully completed a bachelor’s degree (in any field of study) on or before the application deadline for the exam for which they are applying.


Child Life Course Taught by a CCLS Requirements

The required child life course must have a focus on children in the health care environment and must be taught by a CCLS. ALL of the following applied areas of study must be included in the course:

  • Child life documents
  • Scope of practice
  • Family-centered care
  • Impact of illness, injury and health care on patients/families
  • Therapeutic play
  • Preparation  

Note: The child life course taught by a CCLS must be documented through an online verification process or via a Child Life Course Verification Form.

Requirements for Nine Additional Courses in Child Life or a Related Subject Area

1) If the course title and/or description include the following terms, the course will be accepted:

  • Child Life - Child Development
  • Family Development
  • Human Development
  • Family Dynamics
  • Psychology
  • Counseling
  • Sociology
  • Therapeutic Recreation

2) Courses offered by the following departments will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Only those with a clear connection with the exam content outline will be accepted. Candidates may be required to supply supporting documentation such as course descriptions or syllabi for courses from these departments: 

  • Nursing
  • Social Work
  • Recreation Administration
  • Education (methods courses for specific subjects, student teaching and other non-related education courses are NOT accepted)

3) Courses on the following topics will be accepted regardless of college department: 

  • Death & Dying
  • Ethics
  • Cultural Diversity (courses in world religions or that pertain to a single culture do not fall into this category)
  • Medical Terminology
  • Anatomy and Physiology

Start a review of your eligibility

Child Life Clinical Internship

480 hour Internship

All exam applicants must complete a minimum of 480 hours* of child life clinical experience under the direct supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist® (CCLS) who meets the qualifications outlined below. These hours can be completed through a child life internship or fellowship only.  Volunteer, practicum and paid work hours are not accepted. 

Supervisor Qualifications

In order to be eligible to supervise an exam applicant’s internship hours, a CCLS must:

1. Maintain professional child life certification throughout the supervisory period
2. Have a minimum of 4,000 hours of paid child life clinical experience prior to the start of the supervisory period
3. Take responsibility for the educational development and guidance of the candidate in the clinical setting

Verifying the Internship

Clinical experience is documented by an online verification process or via a Clinical Experience Verification Form, signed by a supervisor from the internship or fellowship.