Child Life Track

Work as a child life specialist

  • Support children and families experiencing stressful situations by providing psychosocial care 
  • While most child life specialists work in healthcare settings, employment opportunities are also growing in other community settings
    • Healthcare settings: Hospitals, clinics, hospice/palliative care, transplant teams, behavioral health 
    • Community settings: Schools, private practice, advocacy centers, grief support, law enforcement, camps, disaster relief, prison systems 

Degree options

Want to pursue the child life track? Review the program requirements for the exact courses you need to take.

Use the four-year plan below as a guide for your overall schedule.

MSU Child Life Studies coursework is pre-approved by the Association of Child Life Professionals to meet the 10 course requirements required to sit for the Child Life Professional Certification Exam administered by the Child Life Certification Commission. 

Course Categories for Certification  

UG Course(s)  

Family Systems  

CFD 163 

Relationships in Today’s Families 


CFD 580  

Research Methods in CFD 


CFD 454  

Therapeutic Play Activities for Hospitalized Children 



CFD 306  

Death, Separation, and Loss 

Child Development   

(includes 2 courses)  

CFD 160  

Principles of Development in Early Childhood 

CFD 557 


Growth and Development: Middle Childhood to Adolescence 

Child Life course  

CFD 354  

Working with the Hospitalized Child 

Additional course options (must choose 3) 

LLT 102  

Scientific and Medical Terminology 

CFD 301 

Play as Development 

CFD 305 

Multicultural Studies in Child and Family Development 

CFD 353 

Childhood Illnesses, Injuries, Diseases and Disorders 

CFD 510 

Child Life Theory and Practice 

Why take the child life track?

  • Have a quicker path to a master’s degree and raise your career ceiling. The accelerated option in child life studies prepares you to become a certified child life specialist (CCLS).
  • Have a rewarding career where you help others in difficult, life-changing times.
  • Join a career field which needs workers. Find many job options within health care or similar settings.
Missouri State student doing therapy session with child
Careers and outcomes

Be there for children and families when they need it most. Give support as they face life-threatening medical events.

Missouri State student using laptop

Apply classroom theory and learning to your future career field.