Child Life Internship

The Child Life Department at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas (DCMCCT) is a vital component of the healthcare team and contributes to the overall quality of developmentally appropriate, patient and family-centered care for patients of all ages. Staffed by professionally trained individuals, the child life team helps children and their families cope with the emotional and psychological stress of illness, inpatient and outpatient medical treatment, and trauma. The Child Life Department works closely with members of the entire healthcare team and with families to reduce the stress and anxiety of the healthcare experience and to facilitate positive outcomes.

Child life specialists are assigned to every inpatient unit including the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Hematology/Oncology Unit, Respiratory Unit, Neurology Unit, and Surgical/Trauma Unit, as well as outpatient areas such as Day Surgery, Imaging, Specialty Care Center and the Emergency Department. In addition to a department director, the Child Life Department includes Art and Music Therapists. The dedicated child life team prioritizes the facilitation of therapeutic play to promote growth and development, enhance opportunities for communication and self-expression, and foster coping skills of patients and their families.

Our child life internship program is designed to support career training for those who are currently seeking an undergraduate or graduate degree in child life, child development, or a related field and are looking to advance in the child life profession. Our goal is to provide interns with opportunities to expand their knowledge of child life and child development, enhance their therapeutic play skills, develop their ability to provide education and procedural preparation and support and strengthen their assessment, intervention, and evaluation skills.

Our internship program is unpaid and does not guarantee future employment. Housing, transportation, meals, and medical insurance are the responsibility of the intern. All child life students are required to be affiliated with a college or university and complete the internship for course credit. Internship offers are contingent on securing an affiliation agreement between Dell Children’s and the applicant’s college/university as well as completing a criminal background check, current TB test, and other vaccination requirements in accordance with hospital policies.

Child Life Internship Requirements

    1. Successfully completed child life coursework that included the 6 applied areas of study as required by the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP).
    2. Successfully completed the ACLP Eligibility Assessment showing at least 10 classes accepted, with one being the child life course taught by a certified child life specialist.
    3. A minimum of 100 hours of work or volunteer experience with well infants, children, youth and/or families in a group or individual setting.
    4. A minimum of 150 hours experience working directly with children in a healthcare setting.
      • At least 100 hours must be from a child life practicum experience. The child life practicum may be in progress at the time the child life internship application is submitted, but at least 100 completed hours of child life practicum is required before beginning the child life internship.
      • The additional 50 hours may come from the child life practicum or other appropriate setting.
    5. Commitment to a 600 hour, 15 week, full time internship. Work days and hours will vary depending on the schedule of the intern’s rotation supervisor. Some nights and weekends may be required.

Application Process

Applicants who meet the above requirements must submit an application to the Child Life Internship Committee to be considered for an interview. Please submit all application materials together in one envelope with no staples or paper clips. Please do not place materials in any kind of folder or binder. A complete application must include all of the following:

  1. Typed ACLP Common Child Life Internship Application with your university affiliation information competed under Application Category. Handwritten applications and applications with the independent internship category selected will not be reviewed.
    **If you check the “independent” box on the application, then do not continue applying and do not mail us your application, as no exceptions can be made at our hospital**
  2. Professional resume including academic and clinical experience.
  3. Academic transcripts from all colleges/universities attended. Unofficial copy is acceptable.
  4. Documentation of relevant coursework by ACLP Eligibility Assessment Report.
  5. Verification of completion of a child life course taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist.
  6. Verification of Child Life Practicum Experience Hours on Institution letterhead.
  7. A copy of any written evaluation received from the Child Life Practicum experience.
  8. Verification of a minimum of 100 hours of work or volunteer experience with well children in a group or individual setting.
  9. Two completed Dell Children’s Child Life Internship Reference Forms from an academic professor, supervisor, or other professional who has directly observed the applicant’s work with children. Please send the following link to your references and ask them to complete and submit the online form. Once submitted, the form will be sent directly to the child life education committee and added to the applicant’s other application materials. Applicants are responsible for confirming, with the reference, that the form has been submitted.
    **Please do not include personal references or more than 2 forms, as they will not be considered.**

Due to the large number of applicants, we are unable to confirm receipt of documents. If you require verification that we have received your documentation, please arrange for delivery confirmation by the post office or the delivery service you choose.


Internships are offered two times a year. Applications must be postmarked by the application deadline or they will not be considered. Deadlines are set in accordance with the Child Life Council internship scheduling guidelines found at:

Internship BeginsApplication
January (winter/spring)September 52nd Tuesday of OctoberFollowing Wednesday
September (fall)March 151st Tuesday of MayFollowing Wednesday

Internship Components

  1. The internship experience includes a one week orientation, 2 clinical rotations and planned time to visit other sites within the hospital and community. Interns will be supervised by Certified Child Life Specialists meeting all eligibility requirements established by the Child Life Council.
  2. Observation of and experience in assessment of needs and documentation in the medical chart
  3. Planning and implementation of developmentally appropriate activities and therapeutic play in group and individual settings.
  4. Observation of and experience in providing patient and family support through coping interventions, developmentally appropriate education and preparation, emotional support and interactions that facilitate expression.
  5. An average of 3 educational inservices per week facilitated by child life professionals and multidisciplinary staff covering a variety of topics applicable to child life practice and profession.
  6. Completion of assignments including weekly readings and journals, case presentation, and a major project.
  7. Regularly scheduled opportunities for verbal and written evaluation and intern support.