Incoming or Current College Students


  • Choosing the Right College/University
  • Child Life Practicum
  • Volunteer Work

Choosing the Right College/University

Finding the right college/university that fits your individual needs and your career goals is very important. The Child Life Council website lists important considerations when choosing a college/university. Click here for help when choosing an academic program.

In Wisconsin, there are two programs that focus on Child Life coursework. Specific coursework in Child Life will help prepare you for your internship and the Child Life Certification Exam. The Education Committee of the Child Life Council recommends classes in specific content areas. It is strongly recommended that you attend a college/university that offers a degree in Child Life or closely related field.

The two highly recommended programs in Wisconsin are:

Edgewood College in Madison

Major: Child Life (Department of Education)

Katie Glass, M.Ed, CCLS

Program Director/Faculty, Child Life Program Edgewood College School of Education Office Der. 226

1000 Edgewood College Drive

Madison, WI 53711-1997


University of Wisconsin-La Crosse 

Dual Certification in Therapeutic Recreation and Child Life

Major: Therapeutic Recreation with Child Life emphasis
Minor: Psychology

What is Therapeutic Recreation?

Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists use recreational activity as treatment to improve functioning, build resources and awareness through leisure education and recreational participation for normalization and pure enjoyment for people of all ages.

Contact: Susan "BOON" Murray, Ed.D., CCLS, CTRS
Professor/Internship Coordinator for Therapeutic Recreation
Department of RMTR

University of Wisconsin La Crosse
1725 State Street
La Crosse, WI 54601
Phone: (608) 785-8199
FAX:  (608) 785-8206


Click here to learn more about the dual certification in Therapeutic Recreation and Child Life.

Click Here: Coursework for Dual Certification 



Important Upcoming Changes to the Eligibility Requirements from the Child Life Council

Child Life Course Work Requirement Policy

* All applicants for the Fall 2013 and subsequent exams will be required to successfully complete a minimum of one child life course taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist as part of this requirement

Click here to learn more about the specific content area classes that the Education Committee of the Child Life Council recommends. If a recommended class is not offered in the major, search with your advisor for the elective classes in other departments.

Interested in attending colleges/universities outside of Wisconsin?

The Child Life Council provides a reference for different colleges/universities.

Click here to for Child Life Council's Academic Program Directory

Child Life Practicum

A Child Life practicum prepares students for an internship and gives them hands-on experience in the roles and responsibilities of a Child Life Specialist. A Child Life practicum also allows college students to observe the impact of hospitalization at each developmental stage and the appropriate Child Life interventions.

Child Life practicums in Wisconsin are offered at:

While in college it is important to participate in volunteer opportunities. Volunteering with children gives you great opportunities to learn how to interact with children.

Volunteer work with hospitalized children is very important to help prepare you for the Child Life profession.

Look for pediatric volunteer opportunities in your area.

Contact Volunteer Services at local hospitals in your area to find out how you can volunteer on a pediatric unit.

Volunteering at camps with ill children also a fun way to learn about childhood illnesses and provides an opportunity to interact with children of varying abilities. Research camps in your area to learn more about applying for volunteer positions.

A few camps for children with special needs/circumstances in the area:

· Hozhoni Weekend (414-532-5500; A three-day weekend camp for families with a child with cancer) 

· Easter Seals (608-277-8333; Working one-on-one with a camper during a weekend respite program running from September to May) 

  Camp Awesum ( ; for children with Autism)

· Camp Angel (715-542-3065; camp for young people experiencing cancer of a loved one)

· Camp Hope (Contact Becky at; a weekend camp for grieving children and teenagers experiencing the death of a loved one) 

· One Step at a Time Camp (Children's Oncology Services, Inc office number 312-924-4220; educational, social and physical development services to children with cancer and leukemia)

· Volunteer Work with healthy children is also very important to prepare you for the Child Life Profession.
Common examples are:

  • After School Programs
  • Day Care
  • Big Brothers and Big Sisters
  • Boys and Girls Club
  • Family Resource Centers

Volunteer work with children with developmental delays
Common examples are:

  • Head Start Programs
  • YMCA Adaptive Programs
  • Birth to 3 Programs (Early Intervention Programs)
  • Families and Schools Together (FAST)
  • Respite Programs
  • Special Olympics









Major: Child Life (Dept of Education)

Contact: Katie Glass, M.Ed, CCLS. Child Life Director/Facutly

School of Education, Child Life Major

1000 Edgewood College Drive

Madison, WI 53711-1997 


Major: Child Life (Dept of Education)

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