Some schools offer programs focusing on child and family studies, while others offer degrees in psychology; students should to determine the program focus that fits their career plans and review the courses offered.
The Association of Child Life Professionals lists certain courses that are required to become a certified child life specialist. A few internships are offered at the undergraduate level but are more common in graduate programs. Though the Child Life Council does not certify colleges and other educational institutions, it maintains an online database of child life academic programs in the United States and Canada.
The undergraduate degree program at the David B. Child life specialists also work closely with a child's family, including parents and siblings, to educate them about the healthcare process.
Basic Medical Terminology: Although not taught in all programs, child life specialists will need to become familiar with some basic terminology in order to better communicate with medical professionals. Child life specialists are often hired directly from educational programs and after obtaining certification into work facilities like hospitals.
There are opportunities for specialists who wish to work primarily on their own as well.