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Child Life Program Practicum

Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s Child Life Department offers an experiential practicum program for individuals interested in pursuing a career as a child life specialist. This practicum is aligned with the Association of Child Life Professionals’ 2013 Practicum Task Force recommendations.

Over the course of the practicum, students will become acquainted with the hospital environment and will have the opportunity to interface with and learn from members of the child life staff. While shadowing child life assistants, students will learn why play is an important part of helping hospitalized children cope. With child life specialists, students will learn about the importance of preparing children for procedures, teaching effective coping techniques, and engaging patients in therapeutic play.

The practicum program is 6 weeks and requires a minimum of 120 hours spent in the hospital. Shifts are scheduled on weekdays between 7:00am and 6:00pm with shifts and times changing throughout the summer based on staff schedules and availability. Typically, in a two-week period, students will spend either 4, 10-hour shifts or 5, 8-hour shifts at the hospital. The practicum is offered during the summer semester only. Phoenix Children's will not offer a summer practicum in 2024.


Practicum Applicant Requirements

1. College

Minimum of 50 college credit hours

Be working toward or have completed a bachelor’s degree in child life, child development, human development and family studies, psychology, or a closely related field

Minimum overall grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

2. Child Life Course

Completion of a child life class taught by a certified child life specialist

For a list of schools offering this class, visit the ACLP website: Academic Programs Offering CCLS Course

3. Additional Coursework

Completion of a minimum of 5 classes in child life, child development, family systems, play, psychology, loss/bereavement, death/dying, or related fields

For more detailed information, visit the ACLP website: ACLP Coursework Guidelines for Certification

4. Experience with Children

Minimum of 6 months working or volunteering with children in any setting

5. Experience with Children in a Medical Setting

Minimum of 50 hours working or volunteering directly with children in a medical setting (hospital, clinic, medical camp, etc.)

6. CPR Certification

Current CPR certification from any certifying organization (i.e. Red Cross, American Heart Association, etc.) is required at time of application 


Required Application Materials

Please include all materials together in one envelope. Do not send items separately.
Do not send extra/additional items.

1. Application

Completed Phoenix Children’s Hospital Practicum Application 

2. Resume

Include all relevant experiences and number of hours worked

3. College or University Transcripts

Unofficial transcripts or photocopies of official transcripts ARE accepted

Transcripts must include cumulative GPA

4. Verification of Work with Children Hours

Letter from employer/supervisor verifying time spent working or volunteering with children in any setting

5. Verification of Medical Setting Volunteer Hours 

Letter from employer/supervisor verifying time spent working or volunteering with children in a medical setting

6. Letters of Recommendation

Two current (within the past year) letters of recommendation with at least one letter from someone who has observed you working directly with children

Letters can be addressed to “Phoenix Children’s Hospital Practicum Committee” and should be in sealed, author-initialed envelopes

7. CPR Certification

Copy of current CPR certification card


Practicum Deadlines


Applications Postmarked By

Coursework Completed By

Acceptance Notification Date

Approximate Practicum Dates

















Send completed application packets to:

Child Life Department – Practicum Committee
Phoenix Children's Hospital
1919 East Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85016

Please direct any questions to

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