Child Life Specialist Salary: How Much Do They Make Annually?

Child life specialist is among the most potential jobs nowadays as people invest lots of attention in the younger generation’s mental status. Yet, not everyone understands the field and what it takes to land the job. Thus, if you want to know more about the position, our post is for you. We’ve also included the average child life specialist salary and job outlook for better consideration.

Child Life Specialists: Who Are They?

A child life specialist is a medical practitioner who works in the pediatric department of a facility. They deal with kids below the age of 18 and their parents to alleviate suffering during hospitalizations. Likewise, they also address things with the kid to ensure that they are aware of and know what is happening.

At the same time, child life experts are frequently there to lend a hand, even if the kid isn’t undergoing treatment. For instance, children also call for consolation when someone important to them goes through severe treatment such as chemotherapy or prolonged mental therapy. 

See the daily life of a child life specialist here: A Day in the Life of a Child Life Specialist

Scope Of Practice

The child life industry evolves every day; thus, the specialists should be able to deliver a great deal of flexibility in devising coping strategies. 

Unlike many other health care experts, child life professionals concentrate on young clients’ psychosocial issues, including behavioral, emotional, and psychological problems.

Also, a child life expert does not provide actual hospital treatment, such as monitoring heart rhythm or directly preparing a kid for surgery. Instead, such responsibilities go to the pediatrician or pediatric intern. 


Child life experts play an essential role in child medical treatment as they interact directly with kids and parents. In addition, they frequently cooperate with social services, chaplains, nurses, physicians, and different medical practitioners.


A child life specialist has a lot of duties. – UChicago Medicine

A child life professional’s essential duties include the following:

  • Assisting kids and their parents by utilizing various strategies to clarify a medical procedure, treatment, or different aspects of their healthcare treatment.
  • Providing age-appropriate approaches to overcome traumas.
  • Raising comprehension of a healthcare problem through intervention initiatives that include healing activities, training, scheduling. 
  • Supporting children’s growth and maturation.
  • Advocating for kids’ and parents’ different requirements.
  • Supporting kids and their parents in processing and dealing with health issues.
  • Giving details, encouragement, and direction to parents and relatives.
  • Working with the medical team to organize and monitor the children’s situation.

Working Hours And Environment

Child life specialists primarily serve in hospitals, while they might also seek employment in treatment centers, care centers, dental facilities, campuses, campsites, and, in some instances, their kids’ families. 

Working Hours And Environment

Child life experts usually spend their time in hospitals. – Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

Their schedules are hectic, and child life experts are often out and about, paying visits to determine mental concerns and provide immediate solutions to kids and parents.

Child life experts usually serve full-time, 40 hours weekly, Monday – Friday; yet, sometimes, they still have to work on weekends or holidays.

How Much Does A Child Life Specialist Make? 

Currently, the average child life specialist salary in the US is $54,498 annually. However, the range frequently extends from $47,413 to $61,068, higher than their fellow child development specialist salary of $36,025 a year.

However, it’s not as high as other specialized positions such as optometrists (approximately $129,629 yearly) or anesthesiologists (approximately $350,000 yearly).

How Much Does A Child Life Specialist Make?

The annual income of a child life specialist is quite tempting. – Children’s Hospital Colorado

Their salary could differ tremendously based on various things, including the  degree, qualifications, extra abilities, and the years they have worked in this field. Read on the next section for more details and know how to success as a Child Life Specialist.

In detail, according to, the average annual salary of a child life specialist based on states is as below:

Arkansas$50,261North Carolina$51,991
Arizona$53,880North Dakota$51,173
Colorado$54,334New Hampshire$55,315
Connecticut$58,967New Jersey$60,253
Columbia$60,618New Mexico$49,811
Florida$51,773New York$58,476
Illinois$55,969Rhode Island$57,441
Indiana$53,244South Carolina$51,010
Kansas$51,718South Dakota$46,650
Missouri$51,936 West Virginia$48,285

How To Become A Child Life Specialist 

A competent child life specialist should possess a love for kids, developed interpersonal skills, and the ability to handle the mental distress that accompanies dealing with kids who suffer from severe conditions.

child life specialist salary

A child life specialist position requires a lot of criteria and qualifications. – Sutter Health.

The following are standard education criteria and related qualifications for child life specialist professions:

  • Bachelor’s degree in related majors. (Child life major is preferred)
  • Training standards as specified by the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP)
  • Former work history with kids
  • 600-hour apprenticeship as a child life expert

The ACLP is a board that is in charge of licensing child life professionals. After the interns have received the board’s certification, they could work as official specialists.

However, there might be additional requirements depending on different states of practice or facilities. Thus, it’s best to go over the job overviews and search for frequent interview questions of the site where you want to apply to.

Child Life Specialist Outlook: Is It Potential?

Very potential.

Indeed, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics claimed, child-related occupations and health services, including child life experts, are predicted to increase by 7% between 2018 and 2028. This is owing to the high demand of parents in maximizing their kid’s well-being.

Regarding career advancements, child life experts can advance to managerial and administrative positions once they gain enough experience and expertise. 

Wrapping Up

Now, you’ve grasped the basics of a child life specialist, including their duties and requirements. Although the child life specialist salary and outlook seem quite promising, the job does hold significant responsibilities and calls for lots of passion. 

If this isn’t the job for you, consider a few more potential options like a database administrator or a data visualization analyst. For more news and job orientation, visit our website.

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