Child Life Practicum

The Child Life 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 they participate 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 have the opportunity to be in this observership in two clinical rotation areas.


Practicum students are required to:

  • Have completed a core curriculum. This can include:
    • child development course work, life span development, death, dying and aging, play coursework, research
  • Practicum students must be able to complete 30 hours per week (6 hrs. each day) for a period of 6 weeks (Clinical days are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Education day is Thursday).
    • One week of orientation, four weeks of clinical and educational training and one elective week

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 email deadline for the candidate to be considered.

Start/end dates

The start/end dates are established with limited flexibility:

  • Spring 2024 session: January 8-February 16. Application email deadline: September 15, 2023
  • Summer 2024 session: May 6-June 14. Application email deadline: January 15, 2024
  • Fall 2024 session: August 26-October 4. Application email deadline: May 15, 2024

All application materials must be emailed 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. 


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

Apply via email: with title of Child Life Practicum Application Term (spring/summer/fall) (year). It can be submitted via Zip or individual files.

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.

It is the policy of the Hospital to prohibit unlawful discrimination and discriminatory harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, marital status, disability, veteran’s status, genetic information, victim of domestic or sexual violence status or other protected classifications to the extent required by applicable laws.  Such conduct is prohibited whether engaged in by fellow employees or supervisors or by outside vendors, patients, visitors or other non-employees who conduct business with the Hospital, and whether in the workplace or in other work-related settings, such as on business trips, at conferences and at business related social events.

In compliance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is committed to providing an environment free of discrimination on the basis of sex, including, but not limited to, sex-based disparate treatment, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment in all of its educational programs and activities.

Contact us

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

Defining Diversity and Inclusion at CHOP

Diversity refers to the composition of our employees, students and patients—the variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from differences of culture and circumstance. Such differences include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and geographic region.

Inclusion refers to our CHOP culture whereby all of our employees, students, patients and families feel welcomed, respected, valued and understood. It's the way we fully integrate, leverage, develop, and hardwire the diversity of our employees and patients in everything we do, every day.