Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas
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Child Life Services
Practicum Program

The Child Life Practicum at Dell Children's Medical Center is offered 3 times per year and is designed for individuals interested in pursuing a career as a certified child life specialist.  It is an opportunity to learn more about the child life profession and to observe and participate in child life services.  The child life practicum is focused on developing core skills in order to prepare students for a child life internship.  These skills include rapport building, developmental and psychosocial assessment, increased comfort with the medical environment, play and therapeutic activities, working with a multidisciplinary team, the ability to identify coping and education strategies and professionalism.  Practicum students complete relevant readings, written assignments and journals throughout the course of the semester to supplement hands-on learning. 

Students work approximately 15 hours per week to accumulate 195-225 hours over the course of 13-15 weeks.  Hours are flexible and may be adjusted based on a student's university program requirements.  A student's weekly schedule varies throughout the semester and is dependent on the schedule of the clinical area assigned and the supervising child life staff member. Practicum placements are unpaid and do not guarantee future employment at Dell Children's Medical Center.  Housing, meals, transportation, and medical insurance are the responsibility of the student.

Child Life Practicum Requirements

  1. Applicants must be currently pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree and receive course credit for the practicum. Priority is given to applicants with an educational background in child life, child or human development, family systems, psychology or another closely related field.
  2. A variety of work or volunteer experiences with well children in a group or individual setting.  All experiences listed on the applicant's resume must be documented on institution letterhead.
  3. A minimum of 50 hours experience working directly with children in a healthcare setting, preferably in a child life program. These hours must be verified by a supervisor on institution letterhead.
  4. Commitment to working approximately 15 hours per week for 13-15 weeks throughout the semester. The practicum is offered Monday - Friday, with occasional weekend days required.  The hours will vary depending on the schedule of the practicum student's rotation supervisor.

Application Process

Applicants who meet the above requirements must submit an application to the child life education committee to be considered for an interview. Please submit all application materials together in one envelope. A complete application must include all of the following:

  1. Child Life Practicum Application (pdf)
    Child Life Practicum Application (doc) 
    Handwritten applications will not be reviewed
  2. Professional resume including academic, child-related and other relevant experiences.
  3. One professional letter of recommendation from an academic professor, supervisor, or other professional who has directly observed the applicant's work with children.
  4. Academic transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Unofficial copies are acceptable.
  5. Verification of experiences with well children on institution letterhead.
  6. Verification, on institution letterhead, of at least 50 hours of experience working with children in a healthcare setting.  At the time of application, a minimum of 30 hours must be completed and verified on institution letterhead as well as verification, on institution letterhead, that the remaining hours are in the process of being completed.  The remainder of the hours must be completed and verified by the practicum start date. Please include a copy of any written evaluation received from a volunteer or practicum experience.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received. Based on the quality of each candidate's education/experience, a candidate may or may not be contacted for an interview. Not all candidates will be selected for an interview and not all interviewed candidates will be offered a practicum.
Applicants who submit incomplete or falsified applications will not be considered.

Application Deadline Schedule: 

Applications must be received by the application deadline or they will not be considered. Application deadlines are as follows:

Practicum Begins

Application
Deadlines

Offer
Deadlines

Acceptance
Deadlines

January

September 19

4th Tuesday of October

Following Wednesday

May

January 19

4th Tuesday of February

Following Wednesday

September

May 19

4th Tuesday of June

Following Wednesday

 

Contact Information

Child Life Department
Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas
4900 Mueller Blvd.
Austin, TX 78723
512-324-0146

The Child Life Department is unable to accept Practicum students for the Spring semester.

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