Child Life Specialist Program at The University of Akron
Bachelor's and Master's programs available
The University of Akron offers programs leading to the B.A. and M.A. in Family and Child Development with a Child Life Specialist emphasis. Entrance into the program is highly competitive and limited to only 12 students each year (undergraduate and graduate combined).
The bachelor's degree program is for the student seeking a career as a Child Life Specialist. The undergraduate program aims to provide students with supervised experience in health care settings and the ability to work with individuals and groups of children.
The undergraduate curriculum emphasizes growth and development, family dynamics, play and activities, interpersonal communication, developmental assessment, behavior management, classic and current research, the reactions of children and their families to illness and health care encounters, interventions to support coping, collaboration with other health care professionals, a basic understanding of children's illnesses, medical terminology, and supervisory skills. Learn more.
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 wishing to apply to the Master's Degree Program must fill out an application for the Graduate School and an application for the Child Life Specialist Program. Students who are entering 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. Learn more.
Students wishing to pursue careers in Child Life typically work in hospitals, rehabilitation sites, hospices, and other health care settings. As integral members of a health care team, they:
- Assess responses and needs of children and families related to health care experiences;
- Minimize stress and anxiety for children and the families;
- Prepare children and their families for health care experiences;
- Provide essential life experiences such as play and peer interaction;
- Create opportunities which strengthen children's self-esteem and independence;
- Communicate effectively with other members of the health care team.