The Child Life Joint Program prepares students to work as a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) to support children's social-emotional needs in health care settings
Students who successfully complete this program will earn a B.S. in Human Development and Family Science, and will complete the requirements for the child life certification exam.
The coursework in this program focuses on development during infancy, childhood, and adolescence, as well as specialized coursework related to working with children in healthcare settings. The coursework will ensure that students have a strong understanding of child development within the context of families, recognize the specific needs of children who are hospitalized, understand play in therapeutic settings, and are familiar with child life interventions in hospital and other clinical settings.
The Child Life Joint Program is a partnership between UGA and Augusta University. Students accepted to the Child Life Joint Program will spend their fourth academic year in Augusta, where they will complete specialized coursework and extensive clinical experiences at Children’s Hospital of Georgia that are required for certification. At the completion of the year in Augusta, students will have completed their Child Life internship.
Child Life Certification
According to the Association of Child Life Professionals, students must complete a minimum of a Bachelor's degree, including 10 required course, to qualify to be certified. Students who successfully complete this program will take all of the specific courses required by the ACLP, and will exceed the minimum degree requirement. After completing the degree program, students will be eligible to sit for the Child Life Certification Exam. Upon passing the exam, they will become a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS).
Who is Eligible?
Human Development and Family Science majors can apply to the Child Life Joint Program in the fall of year 3. Students who are admitted to the program will take specialized child life coursework in the spring of year 3, and will spend year 4 at Children's Hospital of Georgia in Augusta. The number of spots available in this pathway is very limited because of the limited number of supervising CCLSs at Children’s Hospital of Georgia. In order to be eligible, students must have completed 60 credit hours of coursework (including courses currently in progress), have an cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, and have completed (or currently be enrolled in) HDFS 4810: Hospitalized Child and the Family. Please note that only a few students are accepted to this program each year; meeting the eligibility requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Students accepted to the program will complete their last year at Children's Hospital of Georgia.
Information Session for Potential Applicants
Kym Allen, the Child Life Manager at Children's Hospital of Georgia, holds an information session for potential applicants in September of each year. Check the FACS website and watch the screens in Dawson Hall for information about the date, time, and location of that information session. You are strongly encouraged to attend if you plan to apply that year. Students who are considering applying in future years are also encouraged to attend to learn more about the program and application requirements. For those who cannot attend in person, a video of the session will be available on this page after the session is complete. The following is the video of the September 2021 session.
Applicants will be required to submit the Common Child Life Internship Application, three letters of recommendation (including at least one from a college instructor), a resume, a letter from a Certified Child Life Specialist stating that they have shadowed a CCLS in a hospital setting for at least 8 hours, and unofficial transcripts of all college coursework. Applications are due by 4 pm on October 31 of each year, and must be hand-delivered to Dawson Hall Room 123. (Because October 31, 2021 is a Saturday, applications for 2020 are due by 4 pm on Monday, November 1.) Interviews for the Child Life Joint Program will take place on the UGA campus in mid-November, and acceptance letters will be mailed to the student's home address in mid-December, after fall semester finals are complete. Review this checklist before you submit your application to be sure it is complete.