Child Life Exam

This exam is designed by the Association of Child Life
Professionals to determine the level of competence each applicant for certified child life specialist (CCLS)
credentials needs to be successful in their field.

How Do I Apply?

Eligibility is based on a two-part process. Firstly, applicants
for the exam must complete an Eligibility Assessment. This will make sure you
have the following requirements:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in any field of study with 10
    completed college courses in:

    • Child life course taught by a CCLS
    • 2 Child development courses
    • Family Systems course
    • Play course
    • Loss/bereavement or Death/dying course
    • Research course
    • Three (3) additional courses in related subjects
  • Or a degree from an ACLP endorsed academic program
  • Completed 600 hours of a child life clinical
    internship supervised by a CCLS

Once you have proved that you are eligible, you will be sent
information on how to register and pay for the exam. There is an exam fee of $300
for ACLP members and $450 for non-members. This is due at the time of

When and Where Can I Take It?

Exams can be scheduled during one of three 15-day testing
windows each year, in March, August, and November. Each has its own registration deadlines that are
strictly adhered to.

The exam is computer-based and is taken at one of about 300
ISO Quality Testing (IQT) sites located worldwide. A full list of all available
testing sites, as well as dates and times for the exam, will be provided during

A confirmation email containing your scheduled exam date,
time, place, and things to know for test day will be sent to you. you will need
to keep this handy, as you will need to bring it with you to the testing site
as part of a check-in process.

Special accommodations can be requested for those with
disabilities or who may not be able to test under normal conditions. This
request and the appropriate supporting documentation must be received at least
two weeks before the registration deadline.

What Should I Bring?

It is important that you arrive early or at least on time
for your exam. Latecomers will not be given extra time to complete the exam, and if arrival is more than 20 minutes late,
you will not be allowed to enter. Your testing time begins as scheduled, not
based on when you arrive.

Along with the above-mentioned confirmation email, you will
need to bring a valid government-issued photo ID with you to your exam
appointment. This must contain your full name as it appears on your
application, your signature, and a recognizable photo. IDs that contain missing
or incorrect information will not be accepted.

Personal items are not be brought with you into the testing
area unless you have received approval as a special accommodation. This
includes cell phones or any electrical devices, calculators, study materials,
and/or food/drinks. You will be provided with all the testing materials you
will need at the testing site.

What Is Covered?

The test is made up of 150 multiple-choice questions. 25 of
these will be unidentified pretest items that will not count towards your
score. You will be given a total of four (4) hours to complete it.

Three main domains or sections make up the exam. Below is a
brief summary of each, including the number of questions and weight given.

  • Professional Responsibility – (30 questions/20%)
  • Assessment – (60 questions/40%)
  • Intervention – (60 questions/40%)

How Is It Scored?

Most of you will receive an unofficial score report at the testing center after you have finished your exam. However, due to recent changes in the testing format, a new passing point must be determined.

Official scores will be released to you in your ACLP user
profile online.

Candidates who pass will only see a pass/fail status on your
report. A wall certificate and information on how to maintain your CCLS
credentials will be sent to you shortly after your exam window. Your
credentials are good for a five-year period, after which you will need to

For those who fail, your score report will also indicate a scaled score and percentage of correct answers. Retakes are available as many times as needed, once during each window.

How Can I Prepare for the Child Life Test?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam. Below you’ll see links to both!

Study Guide



Last Updated: November 9, 2023