Child Life Practicum

Important update regarding Fall 2020 and Spring/Winter 2021 Session

See below for more information.

Practicum experience is intended to introduce the student to the field of child life, as well as the variety of experiences facing children and adolescents in the healthcare setting. This type of training is highly recommended for those students who are considering a career as a child life specialist.

A child life specialist will supervise the student as he or she participates in individual and group activities with children and families. The student will also have the opportunity to observe certified child life specialists in their work with patients, families and the interdisciplinary team. Students are placed in two areas of the Hospital for their practicum experience.


Practicum students are required to:

  • Have completed a core curriculum, including child development course work, and must document successful experiences working with children.
  • Complete eight to 12 hours per week, for approximately 14 weeks and a minimum of 120 hours.

Students do not need a bachelor’s degree in child life, but do need to have related coursework. Many child life staff have their degrees in child development, human development and family studies, psychology, etc. More information about the Association of Child Life Professionals course recommendations can be found on the Association of Child Life Professionals website.

These requirements must be met by the application postmark deadline for the candidate to be considered. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia does not accept “in progress” for the requirements, including academic course requirements and hours working with children/teens in traditional and healthcare environments.

Start/end dates

The start/end dates are established with limited flexibility:

  • Fall 2020 session & Spring 2021 session: In order to prioritize staff deployment, preserve precious resources and ensure we are offering the highest caliber educational experience, we have paused the overwhelming majority of our student programs. Based on the current state, we will not be able to offer Fall 2020 or spring 2021 practicum student program. We are closely monitoring the situation with the hopes of re-engaging in educational opportunities in Summer 2021. If you would like us to keep your application in order to be considered for our Spring 2021 programming, we will happily do so.

Summer 2021: May 10, 2021 — August 20, 2021. Application postmark deadline: Jan. 5, 2021

All application materials must be postmarked by the stated application deadline to be considered a candidate for the session. Hand-delivered applications will not be accepted.

Please email the Student Programs Coordinator with any questions regarding the start and end dates.


The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia does not provide housing for students. However, rooms and apartments are available for rent from Sansom Place Guest Accommodations through The University of Pennsylvania, located adjacent to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Students who are accepted to the student program who contact Sansom Place Guest Accommodations for housing must notify the staff at Sansom Place that they are CHOP-Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy students.


For more information about the practicum experience, download the practicum application, which includes the Practicum Job Description and Application.

Application is not a guarantee of acceptance. A limited number of students will be accepted each session. The number of students accepted in the practicum varies from semester to semester due to the number of applicants and supervisor availability. Generally, we accept one to three child life practicum students per semester.

Application Mailing Address:
Attention: Child Life Practicum
Wood Building 6th Floor, Child Life Suite
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
3401 Civic Center Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Contact us

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