Child Life Specialist, M.A.


Master of Arts in Child Life Specialist


About the Degree

The master's degree program is for the Child Life student with a bachelor's degree in a related discipline who wants to obtain knowledge in the Child Life field in addition to gaining skills in an area of special interest. Students who enter the program from a field or degree other than Child Life will be expected to complete bridge-up courses: Child Development, Direct Experiences in the Hospital, Anatomy and Physiology I, and Medical Terminology.

Child Life Non-Thesis, 45 credits

Child Life Thesis, 42 credits

Students will study the developmental and psychosocial needs of children in a health care setting related to coping with diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.


Salary and Career Outlook

The career outlook for Child Life is very promising. The Child Life profession is requiring a graduate degree to enter the field beginning in 2022, and The University of Akron is one of only six university programs in the country with a graduate degree in this field. The Education Advisory Board (2014) compiled job postings between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014, using Burning Glass Labor/InsightTM to examine program focus areas, sample curricula, and market demand nationally and in the Midwest. Their data show the “Top Industries In Job Postings for Child Life Graduates” are hospitals and health systems. The top employers in the Midwest are children’s hospitals & clinics, University Hospitals, and St. Johns Hospital.

Starting salary of $32,000, depending on geographical location (Ohio area).


Why Akron?

The lab component of the Child Life Specialist classes is unique to The University of Akron. There are no other academic programs that offer an experiential component to this degree, which includes videotaping and evaluating competencies.

The graduate Child Life Specialist program embeds experiential learning into several classes by using labs to practice videotaping Child Life competencies in which students evaluate their performance and offer suggestions for improvement and also videotaping mock interviews. The Child Life Specialist program fosters connections between pediatric hospitals and the university through practicum, internships and graduate assistantships in which students develop and refine skills that are necessary for gaining employment as a child life specialist. Ninety-five percent of graduate child life program alumni are employed as a Child Life Specialist or are in a position in which they are improving the lives of children who are having difficulty coping with life experiences (medical, mental health, physical, loss, family adjustment), using a developmental approach.


Contact Information

Graduate Coordinator:           Ms. Rose Resler

                                               Polsky Building, Room 181

                                               rresler@uakron.edu

                                               (330) 972-8040

Graduate School:                   Heather Blake

                                               Polsky Building, Room 467

                                               hblake@uakron.edu          

                                               (330) 972-7664