Child Life Specialist Master’s Degree Programs

As a child life specialist, you’ll become an advocate for children and families at times when they need you most. 

Now more than ever, our nation’s hospitals and healthcare settings need thoughtful, compassionate, and knowledgeable professionals who can help children and their families cope with the emotional trauma of acute or chronic illness and injuries. Child life specialists are specifically trained to see children through the distress caused by health experiences like surgery, pain management, diagnostic testing, or being placed in an intensive care unit.

Bank Street is uniquely poised to help you make an impact in this growing field. Here, you’ll deepen your understanding of child development and learn how to help children process medical experiences in ways that make sense to them. You’ll master concepts centered on supporting the psychosocial development of children through therapeutic play, self-expression, and other age-appropriate techniques that help disrupt the long-term cognitive effects of hospitalization.

If you find purpose in protecting the emotional safety and care of children as they battle health challenges, consider a master’s degree in child life from Bank Street. Join our collaborative and supportive educational community today and take a transformative step in your career.

What Program Is Right for You?

We offer two fully online programs—one for aspiring professionals seeking initial child life specialist certification and one for current child specialists looking to deepen their work with pediatric patients. Both programs meet all requirements set forth by the Association of Child Life Professionals and prepare graduate students to excel on the child life specialist certification exam.

Pretend surgery on doll

Child Life (MS)

  • Complete online coursework and a hands-on clinical internship in a hospital, medical clinic, or another healthcare setting
  • Explore coping strategies that help minimize children’s anxiety and uncertainty during medical procedures and other stressful pediatric care or family health concerns
  • Learn from and be mentored by Certified Child Life Specialists with years of experience working in the field in intensive care units, pediatric care units, and other health-related settings.

Scholarships available

View Child Life Program

Child life student and child

Child Life Advanced Standing (MS)

  • Advance your leadership, supervision, program development, and communication skills as a child life specialist
  • Complete online coursework and learn from a community of peers who are working in the field
  • Understand how you can use research to further support the field of pediatrics and child life
  • Grow your advocacy and grant-writing skills to enrich your program and have a deeper impact on the children and families you work with

Scholarships available

View Child Life Advanced Standing Program

Why Bank Street?

Supporting the Emotional Needs of Children

In deepening your skills and practice, you’ll be better prepared to support children and their families when they need you the most.

Prepared in the Long Run

Bank Street is proud that 87% of its graduates remain in the field of education and 87% feel more confident in their specialty than comparison professionals.

A Growing Field

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of child, family, and school social workers, which includes Child Life Specialists, is projected to grow 7% from 2018 to 2028.

Jessica Torres is a Child Life specialist
Alumni Voices
The advisory aspect of the fieldwork was very helpful and felt very personal even though the program is online. I felt the presence, guidance, and support from my peers and advisor.
Jessica Torres, GSE ’19

Infancy Institute at Bank Street Graduate School of Education

Blog Post: Child Life Specialists—Making Meaning in Troubled Times

Child Life Specialists use their training in child development, medical environments, and therapeutic play to assist children and their families as they navigate stressful life challenges, such as hospitalization, chronic illness, special healthcare needs, and loss. We encourage you to take a few minutes to read about how Child Life Specialists found themselves reimagining their roles during the pandemic.
Read the Blog Post