Child Life Internship

Comprehensive child life internship training is offered three times a year at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Internship training is one integral requirement for students who are planning a career as a certified child life specialist. Information about certification process, information on coursework and career planning and eligibility requirements for certification can be found at The Child Life Council’s website ( Internship positions are full time (40 hours/week) for 16 weeks.

Interns are involved in the planning and implementation of a developmentally and emotionally supportive programming for infants, children and adolescents. Students are expected to incorporate play, emotional support, healthcare education and family involvement in order to enhance the social, emotional, intellectual and physical well-being of children and families in the healthcare setting.

Interns rotate through two different areas of the hospital during their experience. A variety of both inpatient and outpatient areas will be offered each semester for students to rotate through.

Internship requirements

  • Internship students must be college seniors, enrolled in an academic program, or college graduates with a strong background in child development or a closely related field.
  • Child life intern applicants must complete the Child Life Council course review and have a minimum of 10 approved courses completed prior to applying to the internship program. Please refer to the internship packet checklist for a complete listing of prerequisites.
  • Applicants must have at least 100 hours of student or work experience with children individually or in group settings (such as camps, day cares, developmental centers, etc.).
  • Applicants must have a minimum of 100 hours practicum experience working under the supervision of a Child Life Specialist in a healthcare setting. The 100 hours in a pediatric healthcare setting are a requirement. Additional hours in other settings should be included on your application.

Interns do not need a bachelor's degree in child life. Many child life staff have degrees in child development, human development and family studies, psychology, etc.

For more detailed information about the child life internship experience, please download the internship application, which includes the Intern Job Description and Application.

Additional information

  • The start/end dates are established with limited flexibility. For the summer 2014 session, the session dates are May 12, 2014 through August 29, 2014. For the fall 2014 session, the dates are September 2, 2014 through December 19, 2014. Please contact the Student Programs Coordinator ( with any questions regarding the start and end dates.
  • The number of students accepted will vary from semester to semester due to the number of applicants and supervisor availability. Generally we accept two to four child life interns.
  • An on-site interview is not required because the majority of our applicants are not from the local area; a phone interview is sufficient, although all applicants are welcome to come for an on-site tour and interview.

Contact us

For more information about professional education in the Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy Department, please call 267-426-1340 or email

Reviewed on April 11, 2014