Nov 30, 2022  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog

Introduction to Child Life Certificate

The Child Life Profession. Child Life Specialists are typically employed in hospital or other pediatric health care settings and work directly with infants, children, adolescents, and their families to create an optimal emotional, social, and educational environment for treatment and recovery, or hospice/palliative care.  Although this often involves working with children with chronic illness, or those in long-term hospitalizations, CLSs are increasingly employed in non-hospital environments as well, including community outreach programs, private practice, hospice services, home health, camps for children with healthcare needs, private medical and dental practices, and services to children of adult patients. 

This certificate provides a concentration in Child Life course content that is aligned with the certification requirements by the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP).  The two certificate programs, Introduction to Child Life and Advanced Child Life, each comprise 12 credits of coursework and together the certificates satisfy 24 of the 30 credits of coursework required by the ACLP1.  The Introduction to Child Life Certificate provides a foundation in child and adolescent development theory and research and an introduction to work in pediatric health care settings.  The Advanced Child Life Certificate provides more in-depth content in medical terminology, the nature of suffering, stages of grief, technology applications in research, and family systems.  Students interested in becoming a child life specialist are encouraged to complete the Introduction to Child Life Certificate first, followed by the Advanced Child Life Certificate, however; each certificate is a stand-alone program.

Students interested in knowing more about the child life profession and understanding the requirements to become a nationally certified child life specialist are encouraged to speak with a faculty member in the Human Development and Educational Psychology Program.

1 See your advisor for a list of courses in the certificate program that are currently pre-approved by the ACLP and for information on how to complete the remaining 6 credits required by the ACLP.  Courses not pre-approved must be submitted to the ACLP for approval before a student is eligible to sit for national certification exam.


Certificate Requirements - 12 Credit Hours Required

State Authorization - It Matters Where You Live

If your learning placement course (internship, externship, clinical, rotation, practicum, independent study, study away, etc.) or your online course will be taken outside South Dakota, please reference USD’s State Authorization webpage.

State Authorization