Mental Health Career Project
Childlife Activity Specialist
Child life specialists are pediatric health care professionals who work with children and families in hospitals and other settings to help them cope with the challenges of hospitalization, illness, and disability. Child life specialists work closely with children and families in medical settings, serving as emotional support and helping develop family coping strategies. With a background in child development, psychology and counseling, child life specialists help explain medical jargon to kids and prepare them for procedures.
Child life specialists work in a variety of settings in order to provide the best care possible for children and families. For example, St. Jude’s child life program allows child life specialists to travel to a child’s school and give a presentation to the patient’s peers about his or her illness and time in the hospital. Other child life specialists work specifically in one hospital department. A child life specialist’s job varies among medical settings, with duties changing every day.
Training/ Education Requirements
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the employment of child life workers will increase by 12.3% by 2018. The number of jobs in the child life field continues to rise with virtually every children’s hospital across North American creating a “child life team.” Most children’s hospitals are in large urban areas, therefore, those interested in this career may need to be willing to relocate.