Today’s hospitals, clinics, and schools need qualified Child Life professionals to work with children having chronic or life-threatening illnesses, as well as with their families. From performing assessments to applying coping strategies, Certified Child Life Specialists play an important role in providing care to children and their families facing difficult health conditions. In addition to hospitals, child life specialists are employed in hospice programs, camps, early intervention programs, courtrooms, dental practices, support/bereavement groups, programs in the community, private practice, etc. Child life specialists continue to advocate for and apply their skills in many venues, wherever their knowledge and expertise can protect the emotional integrity of children facing severe stressors.

This program is designed for any individual wishing to learn more about child life and wishing to study specific subjects.

This Professional Certificate Program provides:

  • An overview of child life theory and practice, including the therapeutic role of play, the nature of suffering, stages of grief, medical terminology, community outreach, and technology.
  • Valuable information and practical skills that can be applied when working with children, adolescents and their families in healthcare settings and other challenging environments.

NOTE* The Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) credential is the exclusive certification offered by the Association of Child Life Professionals. For more information, visit

UCSB Extension/Division of Professional and Continuing Education offers courses that have been reviewed, earned pre-approval and are listed on the Association of Child Life Professionals Programs Offering Pre-Approved Courses or Academic Programs Offering Child Life Course
Our certificate is a stepping stone to help you reach the next step towards becoming a CCLS.

The program requirements are defined in the Program Course Schedule. If planning to apply for an internship, please read: Does the Child Life program offer support for securing an internship/practicum?


Additional Details

Program Course Schedule

Required at least 5 courses (20 units):

Courses are offered across 4 academic quarters: fall, winter, spring, and summer. For more information visit Approved Academic Calendar. 

***All courses are offered in an interactive online asynchronous format. Students are required to complete weekly assignments through GauchoSpace, UCSB's Moodle course management system. Students are not required to be in front of the computer or online at any particular time.

Program Cost

The approximate cost of completion of this program is $2,650. Individual course fees are paid upon enrollment. Estimated costs are subject to change and do not include fees for course materials. For more information visit our Help Center.



For more information visit Frequently Asked Questions - Child Life in our Help Center.



Child Life Student

“The Child Life certificate program has allowed me to learn at a flexible pace and has provided me with the knowledge I need to be successful. All of my instructors are experts in the field and have been great motivators.”

-Alexx Friesen