Child Life Internship

The Child Life Department at Kentucky Children’s Hospital offers a comprehensive 600-hour (15-week) child life internship program designed to prepare students for a career as a child life specialist.
The child life internship program follows the recommendations for internships outlined by the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP). After completing this child life internship, each intern will be prepared to begin practice as an entry-level child life specialist and will be eligible to sit for the ACLP certification exam. For more information regarding Child Life Certification, please visit childlife.org/certification

Our child life internship program accepts one intern per summer session (beginning in May) and one intern per fall session (beginning summer 2023). 

Internship applications follow the ACLP application deadlines.

  • Summer applications: Due Jan. 5 
  • Fall applications: Due March 15

Child life internship qualifications

All applicants for the child life internship must meet the following minimum qualifications:

  • A minimum college senior in bachelor’s degree program or master's degree student in social sciences/human development field of study.
  • Completion of all child life coursework in the six applied areas of study, as required by ACLP. 
  • Completion of the academic course work outlined by the ACLP eligibility assessment form.
    • ACLP confirmation of Child Life Course In-Progress form and Additional Required Courses In-Progress form are accepted as long as course work is completed prior to the start of the internship.
  • Completion of at least 120 hours of documented experience volunteering or working with infants, children, youth or families in healthcare settings or programs designed for children with special needs, identified stressful situations, child advocacy programs or bereavement/hospice settings. Experience working with well children is also acceptable.
  • Affiliation with a college or institution for liability purposes.
  • Completion of a child life practicum is strongly encouraged.

Child life internship application

Submit the following to KCHChildlife@uky.edu. Please include “Internship Application” as well as the internship session requested (summer or fall, plus year) in the subject line.
Application should consist of:

  • Completed and signed ACLP Common Child Life Internship application form, which includes:
    • Official ACLP Eligibility Assessment Report.
    • Two Common Recommendation forms and/or reference letters (ACLP Common Recommendation Form preferred).
    • One should be an academic recommendation.
    • One should be a work/volunteer experience recommendation.
    • Cover letter.
    • Resume/curriculum vitae.
  • Other required documents include: 
    • Verification of Child Life Practicum Experience Hours form (if applicable).
    • Verification of Related Experience form.
    • Confirmation of Child Life Course In-Progress form (if applicable).
    • Confirmation of Child Life Practicum In-Progress form (if applicable).
    • Official or unofficial academic transcripts.

Completed applications must be received by deadline.

Interviews for the child life internship may be virtual or in-person.

Child life internship structure

The child life internship will be a 15-week program (40 hours per week) resulting in a minimum of 600 hours of clinical experience.

Child life interns will complete:

  • One week of orientation.
  • Two rotations of six weeks each (one inpatient and one outpatient). 
  • One week of special services (Gaming and Technology Specialist, Integrative Medicine Shadowing, Forensics, Behavioral Health, etc.).
  • One week on unit of choice. 

Interns will be supervised by certified child life specialists during each of their rotations. Assignment to specific units for rotations will be based on availability of child life staff for the internship period.

Interns may experience rotations in any of the following areas:

  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit/Cardiac Intensive Care Unit
  • Acute Care Units (Respiratory, Oncology, Surgical, etc.)
  • Progressive Care Unit
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • Children’s Endoscopy Center
  • Children’s Sedation and Procedure Unit
  • Hematology/Oncology Outpatient Center
  • Pediatric Emergency Department

Interns will be required to complete weekly assignments that support the growth in critical thinking and skill development. These will include reflective journaling, psychosocial assessments, virtual trainings/education, documentation, therapeutic play planning, case study, end of semester project, etc. Any academic requirements will also be included in assignments during internship.

Interns will gain hands-on experience in assessing patient psychosocial needs, providing developmental and therapeutic play opportunities, facilitating diagnosis teaching and preparation, providing procedural and coping support, offering emotional and grief support, and supporting siblings and family members.