The Master of Science in Child Life Specialist is housed in the Department of Counseling and Family Sciences in the School of Behavioral Health at Loma Linda University. This degree prepares individuals with high-quality academic education and clinical training in order to provide child life services in a health-care setting. These services include, but are not limited to, promoting effective coping through play, preparation, education, and self-expression activities; emotional support for families; and encouraging optimum development of children facing a broad range of challenging experiences, particularly those related to health care and hospitalization. They also play a vital role in educating caregivers, administrators and the public about the needs of children under stress (taken from the Association of Child Life Professionals). Since inception, we have kept our commitment to maintaining small class sizes. As one of the few graduate programs in the nation that offers a child life degree, students can expect a high level of both preparation and personal interaction as they embark on their career.
Loma Linda University shares the same campus as Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital (LLUCH). This enables the program to provide in-class clinical training by utilizing the hospital staff and their facilities as a working lab. All of the core child life courses are taught by certified child life specialists that have ten or more years of experience working in a clinical setting. Additionally, we collaborate with our nursing department to teach within our program.
We pride ourselves on exposing our students to various clinical experiences within the community. Students are able to facilitate and actively participate in our Teddy Bear Clinic, Annual Child Life Symposium, Family Health Fair, Grief Camps and Teen Retreats. Students also have the opportunity to engage in research within our department. Additionally, students enrolled in the program engage in global community work in areas such as China, Belize, Bolivia, and Honduras, where they provide lectures on psychosocial care of children and their families and facilitate Teddy Bear Clinics.
This 73-quarter credit program includes a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship. Students have the opportunity to apply for supervised clinical training at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital and at various hospitals located across the United States. These experiences will provide an opportunity to help students build on course work and put theory into practice. Additionally, the opportunity for global practice experiences within the United States and in other countries will provide students with child life practice in diverse environments.
Based on the program's alumni surveys, results indicate a high success rate of employment in the field and on the child life professional certification exam. Upon graduation, students will:
- Demonstrate the ability to represent and communicate child life practice and psychosocial issues of infants, children, youth, and families.
- Be knowledgeable of child development and family systems theory.
- Demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively in diverse settings.
- Be eligible to obtain the certified child life specialist (CCLS) credential administered by the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP).
- Be knowledgeable of legal and ethical standards of the profession.
- Be knowledgeable of the impact of health and health issues in global settings.
- Be knowledgeable of the impact of health and health issues in the global setting.
Through the Association of Child Life Professionals, the certified child life specialist (CCLS) credential was developed to increase the proficiency of child life professionals by identifying a body of knowledge, uniform and improved standards of practice, and ethical conduct while enhancing the status and credibility of the profession. The requirements for certification are based on academic and internship experience and successful completion of an examination process.
Loma Linda University's academic programs are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
International students whose native language is not English are requirement to pass an English proficiency exam. The following exams are accepted by Loma Linda University:
TOEFL: Scores must be valid for two years from the test date. Minimum score is 80-internet based or 550-paper based.
IELTS: Scores must be valid for two years from the test date. Minimum score is 6.5.
MELAB: Minimum score is 77.
PTE Academic: Minimum score is 60.
iTEP: Minimum score of 3.5.