Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy

Therapeutic Recreation Student Programs

Therapeutic Recreation student training opportunities are offered three times a year, beginning in January, May and September. Interested students should submit a completed application and be available for an on-site interview. Students for whom an on-site interview is not feasible due to distance may participate in a phone interview.

Application is not a guarantee of acceptance, and not all applicants are invited to interview. The Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy department provides students with quality supervision and education during placement, and as such, only accepts a limited number of students per semester.

“** Currently we are unable to support Therapeutic Recreation only intern students for upcoming semesters. We apologize for any inconvenience and will update the site when we are able to provide this training opportunity.

We will be offering the Dual Child Life/Therapeutic Recreation internship during the Spring session beginning in 2014.

Types of student training

Senior therapeutic recreation internship

560-hour experience for individuals interested in a career as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Further details below.

Dual child life / therapeutic recreation internship

720-hour experience for those individuals planning to be eligible to sit for both the Child Life Specialist certification examination (through the Child Life Council) and Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists examination (through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification). for more details, see dual child life / therapeutic recreation internship.

Senior therapeutic recreation internship

Comprehensive therapeutic recreation internship training is offered up to three times a year on the inpatient Rehabilitation unit. Internship training is required for those students who are planning a career as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Internship positions are full time (40 hours/week) for a minimum of 14 weeks.

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

Internship requirements

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

Frequently asked questions

Are start/end dates flexible?

Start/end dates depend on several variables, including Hospital orientation dates and the length of the student experience. Check with the student program coordinator for the program you are interested in for more specific information on the flexibility of start/end dates, as they will vary from program to program. For students who are affiliated with a university, start/end dates may vary based on semester calendars and graduation deadlines.

How many students do you accept at a time?

The number of students accepted will vary from semester to semester due to the number of applicants and supervisor availability.

What are the prerequisites for applying for an internship?

Potential interns must have completed a minimum of 100 hours volunteer or paid work experience working with children and a minimum of 100 hours practicum experience in the pediatric healthcare setting under the supervision of a Child Life Specialist. The applicant must be currently enrolled in the Therapeutic Recreation academic program. Please refer to the internship packet checklist for a complete listing of prerequisites.

I have experiences working with children in other settings. Do they count towards my 100 hours of practicum experience?

While all these experiences with children are extremely valuable in the selection process and your career overall, the 100 hours in a pediatric healthcare setting under the supervision of a Child Life Specialist are a requirement. Additional hours in other settings should be included on your application.

Do I need to get my bachelor's degree in therapeutic recreation to do an internship in therapeutic recreation, or to be a certified recreation therapist?

Yes, applicants must currently be enrolled in a therapeutic recreation degree program.

If I do a therapeutic recreation internship, will I have met the requirements to be certified in therapeutic recreation?

Upon completion of a therapeutic recreation internship, the intern will meet the eligibility requirements of an internship experience for National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC).

Do you accept interns that are not currently enrolled in/affiliated with a college or university?

No, applicants must currently be affiliated with a college or university.

Is the internship full-time?

Yes. The therapeutic recreation internship experience is 40 hours per week for 14 weeks.

Is an onsite interview required?

No, 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

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