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Become a Child Life Specialist

Childhood Development

Do you want to play for a living? Well if the answer is yes then consider becoming a child life specialist. This career will allow you to help children deal with being hospitalized. If you are interested in this career then you will need to make sure that you have the right training and education under your wing before you submit your resume to local hospitals and clinics.

Educational Requirements

Before you can become a child life specialist you will need to get at least a bachelor’s degree. There is a child life specialist degree program available, but very few colleges currently offer this degree. Fortunately, there are many other bachelor’s degrees that you can earn that will qualify you for this career. Some of the degrees that are acceptable for this job include psychology, childhood development, recreational therapy and early childhood education.

Job Profile

A child life specialist has many responsibilities in a hospital. Their first responsibility is to provide the support that the family needs to deal with having their child hospitalized, as well as the support that they need to deal with grief and bereavement issues that may develop. Next child life specialists need to explain medical procedures to the child patient in a way that they understand. For example, many child life specialists utilize medical play to explain what will happen. The goal here is to alleviate anxiety and to make medical supplies and equipment less scary. Next the child life specialist will give pre-admission tours of the hospital or medical facility. Finally they will be required to provide the child with play activities that will help them to grow and develop normally.

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Money You Can Make

The amount of money that you can make in this profession will vary depending on where in the country you live, your education and skill level and the facility that you work with. Generally, however, you can expect to make a salary that is similar to that of a teacher. On the other hand, as a hospital employee you can also expect great medical coverage and other benefits that will increase the value of your compensation package.

Finding a Job

To find a job as a child life specialist you will want to start by talking with local hospitals. You can also work with hospices, pediatric treatment centers and cancer treatment centers. Finally, you can offer your services directly to parents via a private business.