Child Life Internship

Photo of a health care provider sitting next to a pediatric patient's bed; the child is holding a tablet and has an oxygen mask near their face

Child Life services at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital offers a comprehensive, 600-hour, 15-week internship program designed to prepare interns for a career as a child life specialist.

  • Doernbecher Children’s Hospital will be utilizing the NEW 2023 ACLP (Association of Child Life Professionals) Internship Application.
  • Our program adheres to the ACLP application deadlines.
  • Our internship program utilizes the ACLP Internship curriculum.
  • At the completion of the internship, an intern will be eligible to sit for the ACLP certification exam and will be prepared to practice as an entry-level child life specialist.
  • No summer internship is offered at this time.
  • No practicum experiences are offered at this time.
  • Unaffiliated/independent interns are accepted.

We will not be accepting any interns in 2024. We will hope to accept a Fall 2025 intern.


Meeting the minimum requirements for internship application as outlined by the ACLP application.


Submit the following by email:

  • Applications will be reviewed and applicants will be notified if their application is selected for next-round review.
  • In-person interviews are not required.

Before the internship begins, interns must also:

  • Have a completed background check, documented up-to-date immunizations, a current TB test and proof of COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Provide documentation of liability insurance coverage, either through a university affiliation or through private liability insurance.

Internship requirements

During the program, intern must be willing to:

  • Work at least 40 hours per week, including some holidays, evening and weekend shifts based on the rotation unit.
  • Complete rotations as assigned.
  • Meet weekly with the internship supervisor.
  • Keep a reflective journal, sample chart notes and developmental assessments.
  • Create and achieve personal internship and rotation goals.
  • Prepare one case study and present to the Child Life Program team.
  • Complete virtual and in-service trainings as assigned.
  • Prepare a significant project, with the internship supervisor's approval, that directly supports the Doernbecher Child Life Program.

Internship program structure

Interns work at the bedside/playroom with a certified child life specialist, assessing patient needs and providing interventions and support. Interventions may include developmental and therapeutic play, diagnosis teaching, preparation and procedural support, coping support, emotional and grief support, and support to siblings and family members. Documentation of encounters and interventions is entered into patient charts.

The 15-week program includes:

  • Week 1: Orientation with internship supervisor (Child Life manager).
  • Weeks 2-13: rotation with certified child life specialists on these units and programs:
    • Outpatient services
    • Surgery
    • Surgical unit
    • Medical unit
    • Pediatric intermediate care unit
    • Newborn intensive care unit (NICU)
    • Oncology/BMT unit
    • Outpatient hematology/oncology unit
    • Pediatric emergency department
    • Pediatric intensive care unit (PICU)
    • Public Relations/Foundation/Hospital School Program/Emotional Safety
    • Child life administration/Volunteer services/Gender identity/Behavioral health
    • Facility dog therapy/Anti-racism/Trauma-informed care
  • Weeks 14 and 15 are solo shifts weeks. Interns will assume the role of the primary child life specialist on several units, with oversight by the unit's child life specialist.
  • Weekly meeting with internship supervisor.
  • Complete virtual trainings and in-services as assigned.
  • Internship hours are mostly completed during weekdays, with some holiday, weekend and evening hours.
  • A certified child life specialist is assigned to the intern during each rotation. Your CCLS supervisor will meet with you daily to discuss rotation goals, journal entries, and patient assessments and interventions.
  • The internship program supervisor will provide oversight of a case study.

Contact us

To submit an application or inquire further, please contact:

Internship application contacts:

Julie Haynes, M.S., CCLS
Kyli Mosher, M.S., CCLS