Graduate program: Child Life Specialist

Thank you for your interest in the Child Life Specialist Program at The University of Akron. We are proud of the child life curriculum and the related learning experiences provided at hospitals locally and throughout the United States.

What Employers Are Saying:

“We have found the students from the University of Akron to have a strong base in developmental theory, excellent application in the clinical setting and excel throughout the semester."

Alanna Kanawalsky, MS, CCLSII, Child life practicum coordinator

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

“The child life students from the University of Akron are consistently well prepared. They successfully complete their internship.”

Kitty O’Brien, MA, CCLS, Former Clinical Educator

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center


“The University of Akron students are building a great foundation of medical knowledge, understanding of health care practice and meaningful ways to interact with children and families.”

Lisa M. Kappy, BA, CCLS, CEIM, Family and Volunteer Services

Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH

Click here to view The Child Life Program Manual

Because this is a demanding program and the required practicum and internship placement in hospitals are limited, admission to the Child Life Specialist Program is highly competitive. You must be accepted into the Child Life Program as well as the Graduate School.

Application and Reference Form

In order to be formally accepted into the Child Life Specialist Program, a graduate student must meet the following requirements:

  • Submit completed Graduate School application and application fee directly to the Graduate School. The application form is in the back of the enclosed Graduate School Bulletin or on-line at
  • Complete the Child Life Application, submit 3 letters of recommendation, and an essay of your personal goals to the Director of Child Life Graduate Studies, School of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.
  • Maintain an undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 or 3.0 for the last two years of undergraduate study.
  • Receive a minimum combined score of approximately 300 on the verbal and quantitative sections with a minimum of 4.0 on the analytical writing section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) taken within the last five years. GRE scores must be sent to the Director of Child Life Graduate Studies, School of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.
  • Meet the application deadline for assistantship or scholarship. If you are interested, the application form is available inside the back cover of the Graduate Bulletin. The application deadline is February 1st. The completed application, three letters of reference and essay must be sent directly to the Director of Child Life Graduate Studies. The three letters of recommendation for the child life application may be used for the assistantship or scholarship references.
  • Complete and successfully pass an interview with the Director of the Child Life Program, faculty and child life specialist. You will be notified of your interview date when all of the above application requirements are completed.
  • Additional coursework will be required if your undergraduate degree does not meet our curriculum requirements and is not in a related field.

    Student Outcome Data


2015-2016 2016-2017
Program Completion Rate (completed program in expected timeframe)

10/12 (83%)

12/12 (100%) 12/12 (100%)
Employment Rates of Graduates Within One Year of Graduation (within the profession) 10/12 (83%) 13/13 (100%) 12/12 (100%)
Child Life Certification Exam Pass Rate of Graduates 10/12 (83%) 13/13 (100%) 12/12 (100%)