A bachelor degree in child development online program is not only intended for learners who want to teach children. There are surprisingly many careers available to people who enjoy working with children but who do not want to teach, such as a career as a Child Life Specialist.
As a matter of fact, thousands of high salaried professionals with a bachelors degree from one of the various traditional brick and mortar colleges, or even an e-learning program, can be found in a wide variety of job positions across a plethora of career fields.
Child Life Specialists are trained professionals who help children, and their families, cope with the emotional demands of illness and hospitalization. They may assist children with managing pain, fear, and confusion, while also encouraging emotional expression, often via age-appropriate play activities that take into consideration not just a child’s chronological age, but cognitive level and emotional state as well. Child Life Specialists often work in pediatric hospitals in conjunction with nurses and physicians, but they also work in schools, camps, and hospice settings.
Child Life Specialists must have excellent communication skills, be able to apply knowledge of child development in order to best help children depending on their age and their emotional state, be able to explain health and medical issues clearly, know how to structure a child’s play for therapeutic purposes, be team players and work well with other professionals, and must also be able to juggle multiple responsibilities while managing their own stress.
To get a sense of how they help children and their families, please see A Day in the Life of a Child Life Specialist.
In order to become a Child Life Specialist, a student must pass a certification exam after having taken 10 or more college-level courses related to Child Life, and have a Bachelor's degree, or be in the last semester of completing a Bachelor's degree. The bachelor's degree can be in any field, but the degrees best matching Child Life include online bachelor in child development, online bachelors in Psychology, Human Development, Sociology, and/or Therapeutic Recreation, as well as Biology courses.
Earning one of these bachelor degree on-line is a popular option for many individuals especially those with jobs and unable to attend campus-based classes. Psychology courses that likely best help prepare students for a career as a Child Life Specialist include Child Development, Infant and Toddler Development, Abnormal Psychology, and Clinical Psychology.
Students must also have 480 hours of clinical experience in child life. These clinical hours must be under the supervision of a Child Life Specialist, but can be completed during an internship or a paid work experience. In order to gain clinical experience, you may contact your local hospital's pediatrics department for information on Child Life Specialist internship opportunities to see if becoming a Child Life Specialist is right for you.
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