Child Life Specialist Salary and Career

child life specialist salary
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The amount of child life specialist salary is often the first topic to be asked when applying for this position. This is reasonable because not many people know the profession that is actually very close to a pediatrician.

The existence of child life specialist is to help pediatric patients and their families deal with all aspects related to treatment at the hospital.

When talking about career opportunities, being a child life specialist has the possibility of a wide-open job. As quoted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a 12.3% chance in the next few years for this position.

child life specialist salary rate

Child Life Specialist Salary and Job Descriptions

In general, the task of a child life specialist is to reduce the discomfort of children, especially those related to psychological problems while receiving treatment in hospital.

The activities that they do to reduce the uncomfortable feeling are vary depending on the age of the patient they are handling and the type of anxiety.

The management of anxiety and emotions for a baby is certainly different from a pre-teen child. The most important thing is to help the patient and also his family to deal with and get through the tough times and manage the remaining pain.

Often child life specialist is not only work with their patients, but also with parents and caregivers of these patients. Through collaboration with parents and caregivers, it is hoped that the psychological side of pediatric patients can be coped which can indirectly help speed healing.

Knowledge of the importance of child life specialists’ existence makes vacancies for this job with satisfying salary even widely open.

Recorded since January 20, 2020, the average salary of this specialist position is $ 53,394 in the United States. But the amount of this salary can also be different, precisely ranging between $ 47,670 and $ 59,862.

Determinants of Salary Range

There are several things that distinguish the amount of salary from a child life specialist:

  • Education

To become a child life specialist, the minimum education level that must be taken is a bachelor. So to get a salary that is higher than those who have graduates at the same level, further education is the best choice.

Not many universities provide educational programs related to child life specialists. You can add your selling value by attending training and certification about child life specialists.

  • Certification

Certification can only be gained after you have successfully obtained a bachelor’s degree, completed internships and then took a certification examination.

The exam for this certification is initiated by The Association of Child Life Professionals and is held three times a year. If you successfully complete this test with 150 multiple-choice questions, with good grades, then you deserve a certificate.

This certificate doesn’t have a lifetime validity. You have to renew it every five years. There are two ways to be recertified, namely by taking the exam or studying professionally again through internship or taking courses.

  • Experience

Some hospitals apply different requirements for child life specialist vacancies. Generally, the flight hours required by a child life specialist to be considered are 600 hours of internships under professional supervision.

The longer your experience in the field of child life, the higher your salary would be. Even more, if you have experience working with families and children outside of health care department.

  • Location

The difference in the range of salary also depends on the location of each job. As an example, in 2018,  the child life specialist salary in California is different from Ohio. In California, a specialist will be paid $ 55,000 to $ 60,000, then those in Ohio get a salary of $ 46,000 to $ 49,000.

The location of the company you work for also affects the salary you will get. If you work in illustrious institutions then your salary will be greater than smaller institutions.

Advantages of Being Child Life Specialist

There are many advantages when choosing to work as a child life specialist, for example is personal fulfillment, especially when you can see the positive impact that you give on patients who make them better.

In addition, the diversity of work that you will get every day can be a fun challenge. You will not get bored easily because there is something new that must be prepared daily.


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