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Child Life Practicum

Gain practical knowledge about the child life profession through observation in the health care setting 


The Children's Hospital Child Life Practicum gives qualified students the chance to gain practical knowledge about the child life profession through observation in the health care setting. Students can evaluate the strengths and limitations of their current knowledge and broaden their understanding of the child life profession.

Focus of the Practicum

The practicum is designed to facilitate the student’s growth as a professional through at least 100 hours of observation of the daily work of a certified child life specialist. Students will have the opportunity to become familiar with:

  • Medical play
  • Pre-operative and pre-procedural preparation
  • Coping facilitation
  • Planning and supervising developmentally appropriate activities while working with individuals and groups

Application Deadline

Applications for the practicum program must be emailed by January 5th. INCOMPLETE OR LATE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE REVIEWED.

Applicant Qualifications

The practicum program is open to students who:

  • Have completed their collegiate-level sophomore year,
  • Are majoring (or have a degree) in child development or a related field, 
  • Have completed a minimum of three courses taught by a certified child life specialist
  • Have completed a minimum of 50 volunteer hours in a children’s hospital or under direct supervision of a certified child life specialist, and
  • Have compeleted a minimum of 50 hours with well children. Preference will be given to those with experience in a structured environment, including daycare, nursery, school, camp, etc.

Please include documentation of  this experience on this verification form or official letterhead (separate from recommendation letters). See How to Apply below.

Practicum Semesters

The practicum session is held during the month of July.

Students must be able to attend mandatory orientation and complete their practicum hours within their assigned time frame.

We are limiting the number of practicum students being trained at our facility. The exact number will depend on staffing and resources of Children's at Erlanger Child Life Department. We will contract you if you have been chosen for an interview.

How to Apply

Email the completed items below to childlifepracticum@erlanger.org:

  • Resume
  • Unofficial academic transcript(s)
  • Two recommendation letters:
    • Non-family members who are able to comment on your work based on observations
    • Letters must be emailed by the person writing the reference to childlifepracticum@erlanger.org
  • Proof of required experience working with children:
    • Minimum of 50 volunteer hours in a children’s hospital or under direct supervision of a certified child life specialist
    • Minimum of 50 hours with well children. Preference given to those with experience in a structured environment, including daycare, nursery, school, camp, etc.
    • Documentation of experience on this verification form or on official letterhead (separate from recommendation letters).
  • Attach a separate document with a statement of intent, which includes personal goals for practicum, what you will bring to our program and why you desire to complete hours for practicum at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger. In addition, please describe your interest in the child life profession, what are your strengths in working with children, what aspects of working with children do you need to improve, describe the ways in which the work of a child life specialist contributes to the health care experience of a child and his/her family.

Candidate Notification

The submission of an application does not guarantee placement. Acceptance is based on program capacity and qualifications of all applicants. The most qualified candidates will move forward with phone interviews. Initial practicum offers will be made on the second Tuesday of February. Candidates who are not selected will receive notification by email.

Housing Arrangements

Practicum students are responsible for obtaining their own housing. The Children's Hospital Child Life Department will provide guidance and provide additional housing information as requested.

Uniforms

Our dress code for practicum students includes solid color polo, khaki pants, and comfortable shoes (tennis shoes). Practicum students are responsible for purchasing their own uniform.

Assignments

Practicum students will be responsible for completing required assignments during their experience. These varied assignments will promote personal and professional growth as students continue to pursue the field of child life. Additional assignment information will be provided during Practicum Orientation.

Student Evaluation 

Informal evaluations will be provided to each student to help guide and focus professional growth within the field of child life. Any formal evaluation forms provided by the faculty advisor will be completed by the coordinator of  the practicum program.

Practicum Program Evaluation

At the conclusion of the practicum experience, the student will be provided with a site evaluation form. The completed form is required prior to the completion of the practicum experience. Information shared helps to promote program growth and development.