What’s Your Major? Child Life Dual Degree Program


Alexa Curtiss is majoring in Child Life with a goal of becoming a licensed Child Life specialist. Through Wheelock College’s Child Life Dual Degree program, she will earn her bachelor’s degree in May 2016 and her master’s in Child Life and Family Studies with just one additional year of study.

With the dual degree, she can sit for a license to become a certified Child Life Specialist, a role designed to help hospitalized children and their families navigate the healthcare system. Alexa says she would like to work in either a hospital neonatal intensive care unit or on surgical floors. “Those are the places that speak to me the most,” she says.

She says Wheelock faculty have all worked in the Child Life field. “They know everything about this career and that what makes it so special,” she says. Alexa said that before applying to Wheelock, she did job shadows with Child Life specialists at hospitals around the country. “[They] told me very directly that…if a Wheelock degree is on your resume, your resume is going to very top of the pile because Wheelock is so well known for this program,” she says.

Wheelock College’s Child Life Dual Degree Program

Children undergoing medical treatment have unique developmental, emotional, social, and educational needs, as do their families. Child life specialists are specially trained members of health care teams who focus on addressing these needs. They work in a variety of settings, such as pediatric inpatient and outpatient units, emergency rooms, and intensive care.

Through this program, you’ll develop expertise in helping children and families cope with acute and chronic illness, medical procedures, and grief and loss. You’ll learn how the use of play, emotional support, and teaching can help reduce the stress of hospitalization, illness, and health care procedures in your patients.