The Child Life Specialist emphasis prepares students to support child development and family coping within the context of pediatric illness, injury, medical treatment, and grief in a variety of health care and community settings. Child life specialists use therapeutic play, psychological preparation, and coping skills interventions to help reduce children's anxiety and stress related to illness, disability, hospitalization, and other challenging life experiences. Through a family-centered care approach, they provide parents and other family members reassurance and emotional support, help them understand psychosocial needs, and provide tools to help prevent or minimize psychological trauma. Courses focus on understanding typical and exceptional child and family development, effective methods of supporting children and families, as well as integration of theory and research into hands-on clinical practice experiences. In addition to a 100-hour practicum experience (selection is on a competitive, space-available basis) at MU’s Children’s Hospital, the student’s last semester is spent off-campus completing a 600-hour, unpaid clinical internship in a pediatric hospital setting. Placement at clinical internship sites is not guaranteed by the University of Missouri. Students who successfully complete the degree program with the clinical internship option are eligible to take the Child Life Professional Certification Exam presented by the Child Life Certification Commission (CLCC) after graduation.
This is an emphasis area of the following major:
This major has the following additional emphasis areas:
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Common Career Paths
You can do nearly anything with a Mizzou degree, but here are some common career paths taken by graduates of this major:
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