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Child Life

PROFESSIONAL PROGRAM - A stepping-stone to becoming a Child Life Specialist! Our program is geared to provide students with a solid academic foundation as they explore and pursue the journey to becoming a Certified Child Life Specialist.

This program is perfect for...

... PREPARATION for Child Life Certification OR any individual wishing to learn more about the field of child life, including child life assistants, interns, pediatric medical providers, classroom teachers working with children having chronic or life-threatening illnesses. FULLY ONLINE courses are designed to prepare you for CCLS certification exam. The coursework concentrates on childhood growth and development as well as the psychological impact of illness, divorce, and grief.

What you'll learn...

An overview of child life theory and practice, including the therapeutic role of play, the nature of suffering, stages of grief, medical terminology, community outreach, and technology.
Valuable information and practical skills that can be applied when working with children, adolescents and their families in healthcare settings and other challenging environments.
You’ll be equipped with a strong background in child development and family organization. You will study effective coping skills for families facing medical issues and other concerns.
Our program coursework is conveniently designed to meet the individual requirements of the CCLS exam. All classes are taught by Child Life Specialists.


To be eligible for this area of a certificate, students must already have obtained a Bachelor’s degree or are concurrently earning that degree.
To complete our professional certificate, candidates must complete 5 courses with letter grades of “B-” or better. For information about The Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) credential and requirements for the Exam click here.

This program's coursework is designed to prepare you for CCLS certification.

An Application for our Child Life Professional Certificate is no longer required to enroll in any individual Child Life courses. 

NOTE* The Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) credential is the exclusive certification offered by the Association of Child Life Professionals.

UCSB Extension/PaCE offers courses to meet the 10 college-level requirements. All our courses have been reviewed, earned pre-approval, and are listed on the Association of Child Life Professionals Programs Offering Pre-Approved Courses or Academic Programs Offering Child Life Course

To determine which courses you need to complete to complement those from your Bachelor's degree to satisfy the requirements for the Exam, please complete the eligibility assessment offered through the Association of Child Life Professionals.

All classes are taught by Child Life Specialists.

Completion of the UCSB PaCE Chid Life certificate program does not result in Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) certification. Individuals seeking certification must take and pass an examination with the Association of Child Life Professionals. While courses in this certificate program may count toward the educational requirements for becoming eligible to take the examination, completion of this certificate program will not, in itself, result in CCLS certification. For more information about certification, visit the Association of Child Life Professionals.


You can enroll in 3 easy steps

OR    Enroll by phone - 805.893.4200 | Mon-Fri - 9am-5pm PST  

Online Courses Offerings

Required PaCE Courses Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
ED X370.2- Child Life: Introduction to Theory and Practice 4 UCSB UCSB UCSB UCSB
ED X370.3- Therapeutic Role of Play in Pediatric Care 4 UCSB UCSB UCSB UCSB
ED X370.4- Death, Dying, & Grief in Pediatric Care 4 UCSB UCSB UCSB UCSB
ED X370.5- Assessment, Preparation and Medical Terminology 4   UCSB UCSB UCSB
ED X370.10- Child Development: Birth to 18 4 UCSB UCSB UCSB UCSB
ED X370.11- Pediatric Palliative Care & Hospice 4 UCSB      
ED X370.12- Family Systems 4 UCSB   UCSB UCSB
ED X370.13- Children with Special Needs 4   UCSB   UCSB
ED X370.14- Research Methodologies in Child Life 4 UCSB   UCSB  
ED X370.15- Child Life & Trauma 4 UCSB UCSB UCSB  
ED X370.18- Child Life in Non-Traditional Settings: Beyond the Hospital 4 UCSB   UCSB  
ED X370.19- Early Child Development: Birth to 8 4   UCSB   UCSB
ED X370.20- Health Care Ethics 4     UCSB  
ED X370.21-Adolescent Development (ages 10 - 19) 4 UCSB   UCSB  

Ventura Online       UCSB UCSB        UCSB  / Ventura Blended        Ventura Downtown Santa Barbara

  • All courses are 4 units and offered in an interactive online asynchronous format. Students are required to complete weekly assignments through GauchoSpace, UCSB's Moodle course management system. Students are not required to be in front of the computer or online at any particular time in classes from this course schedule. 
  • NOTE: One business day after enrollment but no sooner than 2 weeks before the beginning of the course, you will receive an email with detailed instructions on how to access your online course. You don’t need to take any action until you receive that email. Please note that you will not be able to access your online course until all the steps highlighted in that email are complete. 
  •  Your UCSBnetID will be used as the login for GauchoSpace (GS) and the off-campus login for the UCSB Library (to access online journals for your assignments).


UCSB Students
Individual Courses
Estimated Certificate Cost

3 Easy Steps to Request Certificate

1Log into your PaCE Student Account to verify that you have completed all Certificate requirements

2 Click here to request your certificate release

3 Check your email for a Certificate notification from, our official credential provider.

Advisory Board

Advisory Board Members (Click for bio)


An amazing story about Elizabeth Seton Children's Center in Yonkers, NY.  Some of the most at-risk children in the world are cared for here and one of our own, Vanessa Andrews is on the front line.  Since parents can't visit it's now the nurses' jobs to also fill those shoes. Read More.