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Child Life

Undergraduate Certificate

The undergraduate certificate in Child Life is ideal if you already have your bachelor’s degree and wish to complete the coursework that supports the academic requirements to sit for the Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) examination. This 7-course online certificate teaches you a range of therapeutic activities designed to assist children and families facing stressful healthcare or traumatic events requiring coping support (counseling, grief support, advocacy, etc.). Completion of this certificate will help you stand out in the growing and competitive child life field where the CCLS is being increasingly recognized as a necessary component to pediatric care.

Note: Additional coursework may be needed depending on your bachelor’s degree to fully meet the academic requirements to sit for the CCLS. In addition, all candidates for the CCLS examination must complete the required fieldwork/internship, which is not offered by the university. Additional information on these requirements can be found at

Program Courses

The curriculum for this program follows industry trends to help ensure relevancy to today's marketplace. View all courses.

Program Objectives

In addition to the institutional and general learning objectives, graduates of this program are expected to achieve these learning outcomes:

  • Provide an overview of the field of child life theory and practice.
  • Understand the issues faced by children and their families during times of acute or chronic illness.
  • Provide evidence of professional level academic training in the field of child life.
  • Admission Requirements

    There is no fee to complete the university’s admission application. View steps to apply.

    After you complete the enrollment application, an admissions representative will contact you with details about how to submit this required documentation:

    • Your official bachelor’s degree transcript from an institution whose accreditation is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
    • Signed statement of understanding (SOU)

    Note: Your bachelor’s field of study may impact the need for additional coursework to sit for the CCLS licensing examination. Please see the Child Life Council website, for more information.

    Please be prepared to submit a legible copy of your valid government-issued photo ID (civilian students) or government issued JST or CCAF transcript (military students) upon request.  

    An APU admissions representative will contact you with further details about how to submit the required documentation after you complete the enrollment application.

    Need help?

    Selecting the right program to meet your educational goals is a key step in ensuring a successful outcome. If you are unsure of which program to choose, or need more information, please contact an APU admissions representative at 877-755-2787 or

    Undergraduate Tuition Rates 

    Per credit hour:

    $270 through 12/31/2019
    $250 with military grant*

    $285 effective 1/1/2020
    $250 with military grant**

    View Tuition and Fees Details  

    *U.S. active-duty servicemembers, their spouse/dependents, Guard members, Reservists, and veterans are eligible for a grant that currently caps tuition at $250 per credit hour .

    **To help minimize out-of-pocket costs, U.S. active-duty servicemembers, their spouse/dependents, Guard members, and Reservists are eligible for a grant that will cap tuition at $250 per credit hour (military TA cap) . See all military student benefits.

    Paying for School

    Because our university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), (the same as the Ohio State University, Univ. of Chicago, and U.S. Air Force Academy, to name a few), we can accept the following forms of financial aid and payments:

    Ways to Save

    Undergraduate Book Grant

    Books are provided online at no cost if you are enrolled in undergraduate courses for credit. The undergraduate book grant is estimated to save $600 per academic semester* if you are registered as a full-time student.

    Transfer Credits

    Accelerate your degree completion by taking full advantage of our transfer credit options, including credit for your previous college courses, military service schools, American Council on Education (ACE) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, and prior learning experiences.  

    Employer Contributions

    APU has educational partnerships with many employers and associations. Be sure to accurately enter your employer information when you complete our admissions application. Your employer might also offer a tuition reimbursement plan as one of your benefits.

    *According to College Board Trends in College Pricing.

    School of Education

    School of Education

    This program resides in the American Public University School of Education which provides opportunities for practicing teachers to enhance their professional training in critical needs areas such as differentiated instruction, reading and literacy, gifted education, online learning, and educational leadership. We offer programs at all educational levels ranging from undergraduate certificates to masters of education. Undergraduate programs include pre-K child development, family and adolescence studies, and courses in instructional design. We also offer graduate-level certificates designed to enhance your leadership skills as school administrators.

    The School of Education also provides individual continuing education courses to help you earn CE credits or meet your employer's professional development requirements. Our online educational courses are taught by the same professors teaching our degree programs. These courses are convenient, relevant, and affordable, and are ideal if you are an educational professional seeking to maintain certification or looking for career or salary advancement.

    At APU, we understand your need for flexibility because most of our students are working adult learners balancing school around work and life commitments. This is why we offer 8-week or 16-week online courses that start monthly. Through an online virtual classroom, you’ll communicate with students and professors in forum communities as you work to complete your weekly written assignments on your own schedule from anywhere in the world. And with our mobile application, you can even work offline and upload your assignments when you reconnect.

    We encourage you to browse the School of Education webpage to learn more about the school and to find a program that’s right for you.