Salaries For Child Life Specialist

A child life specialist is a person who is predominantly part of the pediatric department in the healthcare sector. They are usually appointed to work with children under the age of 18. Their work is to help comfort the children at the hospital and to teach them about the medical process they are about to go through. Let us see about the Salaries for child life specialist.

Salaries For Child Life Specialist

Salaries For Child Life Specialist

Child Life specialist receive salaries specially designed training to aid them in dealing with the ever-growing emotional trauma faced by kids. They are trained to teach children about the importance of healthcare in a way that the children do not lose interest and register what is being explained to them. They have an average salary of approximately $51995. However, the range can go from $10244 to $260655.

Average Salary

According to Zippa, the best place to earn as a child life specialist is New York, followed by Pennsylvania, Washington, California, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. The average salary in these areas is approximately $30 per hour. The lower 10% of child life specialists earn around $25,000 per annum. 

In New New York, the average salary for child life specialists is $64,402 per anum. This salary is lower than Nevada which has a salary of $65,636 but higher than Delaware which stands at $59,003. Cities like Alaska have a low salary of about $28275 per year. This converts to $13.59 per hour.

Child specialists assist children in three stages during their experience at the hospital. The first stage is pre-procedure. During this time, the child life specialist goes through the medical procedure with the child and tries to relax him so that he does not panic while undergoing the process. Next, the child life specialist may also come during a medical procedure to calm a child patient down or to stop him from having a panic attack that could be detrimental to his health. Child life specialists are also sought to deal with post-traumatic stress after the medical team has done their work.

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Child life specialists use multiple techniques to deal with children of different ages. For example, they may tell funny jokes about injections to children 6-9 years old, if they are afraid of getting injected. Similarly, they may tell stories to help young teenagers understand medical techniques. Another role of child life specialists is to help support children stressed about a close family member who has been admitted to the hospital. In this case scenario, the child life specialist may help convince the child that his loved one is okay.

In case of deaths that repeatedly occur in the hospital, the child life specialist is required to let the child know about the casualty in a genteel and understanding manner that is gentle and understanding to upset them the least possible.

Average Salary According to

According to Comparably, the average pay of a child life specialist is approximately $51,995. The people on the lower end of the spectrum earn $10,244 whereas, those on the higher end can earn up to 260,665. There are several reasons why there is so much diversification in the pay range. They are listed below

  1. The place of work 
  2. Private or public
  3. Experience level

The place of work/ city-state

Just like the cost of living varies from place to place, so do medical treatments. The more the cost of the medical treatment, the higher a child life specialist can get paid. 

Private or Public

Although it may seem like working in the private sector is the better option, for child life specialists this may be wrong. This is because there is a demand for child life specialists in hospitals and other areas where children are treated. Logically, a person would rather see a child life specialist in the same hospital where the child is being treated. Moreover, the hospital would rather that the child being treated by their doctors is receiving help from someone they know and can trust. Both ways, the child life specialist working in the hospital would be preferred. Multiple fields within a single hospital require the assistance of a child life specialist. There is high demand for this skill.

Experience level

Experience plays a vital role in the child life specialist’s career. The more a child life specialist has been in the presence of children, the more likely it is that he/she will be able to placate a child and successfully convey their message. Moreover, the higher the experience of a child life specialist, the higher the chance that they have dealt with a rare case scenario and will be able to handle it well. The top 90th percentile of child life specialists has a reported salary of $97,000. This is $65,000 more than the lowest 10th percentile.

Certification required to become a child life specialist

As child life specialists have grave work they need to be properly certified before they can start work. This certification has the requirements of completing an internship, having a bachelor’s degree, and passing the examination.

The examination is held thrice every year by The Association of Child Life Professionals. It has 150 Multiple Choice questions that test the knowledge of the individual that was taught in internships and educational programs. The certificate given after the examination is only valid for five years. After this, the child life specialist will have to be recertified. Certification can be done in two ways. Either the child life specialist retakes the exam, or they receive professional development units.

Difficulties of being a child life specialist

Many times, caretakers of the child do not believe in the importance of child life specialists. They deem their work unimportant and do not appreciate them. Moreover, dealing with certain kinds of children can also be difficult. The field is such that child life specialists need to be ready for all circumstances, even death. And this can be very traumatizing.


To conclude, the salary of a child life specialist is very varied. It depends on several factors as mentioned in the article. But apart from salaries, there are multiple other benefits of becoming a child life specialist. Not only do you get a lot of respect from the medical team and the children, but you also get to apply the skills you learned in practice.


Q) Is being a child life specialist stressful?

A)Being a child life specialist can be a very traumatic experience, especially when dealing with children with terminal illnesses that require constant care. If these children pass away, the specialist may need therapy to move on.

Q) Is the child life specialist field competitive?

A)People with higher skills will always have the upper hand in the field of child life specialists and therefore, it may be hard to find a vacancy that suits less experienced people.

Q)Do child life specialists work as a part of a team?

A)Child life specialists often collaborate with other medical members in their job. They may need to understand a medical procedure from a doctor’s assistant before they simplify it and tell it to the child patient.

Salaries For Child Life Specialist

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