Child life specialists are people who help children to deal with the challenges of medical conditions and the treatments required to address them. These individuals have to possess strong communication skills and be able to help a child to continue to grow and develop in a hospital setting. A child life specialist's salary is dependent on a number of factors, including his or her education and region of employment. In addition, certification and experience also impact his or her pay level.
A child life specialist’s salary can be affected by his or her level of education. Most employers in this field require job applicants to have four-year bachelor’s degrees in areas such as early childhood education, child life, or child development. Some professionals in this industry, however, choose to also complete two-year master’s degrees. Employers often pay higher salaries to people who have attended graduate school because they have a more in-depth knowledge about helping children to deal with medical problems, and healthcare providers consider this to be very valuable.
The region in which a person works also has a bearing on income levels in this field. A person who works in a larger city area can expect to earn a wage that is larger than one given to a person who accepts a job in a smaller, more rural community. Cities simply feature more residents and thus possess a much larger customer base, meaning that a children’s hospital in an urban area typically earns more revenue and thus can pay a higher child life specialist’s salary.
Whether a professional in this career area is certified also influences his or her level of pay. Certification comes from councils in this industry and can be achieved by taking and passing an exam. An employer often is willing to pay a higher child life specialist’s salary to a person who is certified because he or she essentially proves that he or she is extremely knowledgeable about the field. In addition, certification requires an employee to complete continuing education requirements, so employers are assured that their workers will stay current on developments in this industry, allowing them to remain competitive in the marketplace.
The amount of experience that an individual has affects his or her earnings as well. For instance, a child life specialist’s salary for someone who has more than 20 years of experience in the field can be double the salary given to a person who has only a year of experience. An individual who has worked in the industry for a longer period of time is considered to be an expert, so employers are willing to pay him or her more money in an effort to retain his or her skills.