Child Life Internship

The Child Life Department at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas 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. Certified Child Life Specialists work 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.

Certified Child Life Specialists are assigned to every inpatient unit including the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Cardiac Care Unit (CCU), Hematology/Oncology Unit, High-Acuity Respiratory Unit, Neurology/Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, Neuro Rehab Unit, General Medicine Unit and Surgical/Trauma Unit, as well as outpatient areas such as Day Surgery, Imaging, and the Emergency Department. Dell Children’s is a Level 1 Trauma Center and a Level 4 NICU. In addition to a department manager, the Child Life Department also 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. Throughout the semester our students will earn a minimum of 600 hours over the course of 15 weeks. 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 is accredited by the Association of Child Life Professionals.

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. Applicants must be currently pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree and receive course credit for the internship. Dell Children’s Medical Center will only accept students who are affiliated with a college or university during the time of the internship.
      **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. Completed Association of Child Life Professionals Eligibility Assessment indicating “passed” for all 6 areas of applied study.
      • Applicants for the Fall 2018 semester or later must submit an ACLP Eligibility Assessment that meets the 2019-2021 academic requirements.
    3. Completed a Child Life Course taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist.
    4. A minimum of 100 hours of work or volunteer experience with well children in a group or individual setting.
      • Must include the verification of related experience form found in the common application.
    5. A minimum of 150 hours experience working directly with children in a healthcare setting, stressful situations and/or programs designed for children with special needs.
      • At least 100 of those hours must be from a Child Life Practicum under the supervisor of a Certified Child Life Specialist.
      • The additional 50 hours may come from the Child Life Practicum or other appropriate healthcare setting.
      • Must include the Practicum verification form found in the common application.
    6. 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 CLC Common Child Life Internship Application with your university affiliation information completed 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. Current one-page Resume
    3. A one-page Cover Letter explaining why you have chosen to apply for this internship site and what qualities you have that make you a good fit for our internship.
    4. Verification of a 100-hour Child Life Practicum under the supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist using the Verification of Child Life Practicum Experience (included in the common application above)
      • If practicum is in progress you must submit the Confirmation of Child Life Practicum In-Progress. At least 50 of the hours must be complete at the time you are applying for the internship program. (included in the common application above)
      • Please include a copy of any written evaluation from your practicum supervisor.
    5. Verification of a minimum of 100 hours of work or volunteer experience with well children in a group or individual setting using the Verification of Related Experience Hours (included in the common application above)
    6. Documentation of the ACLP Eligibility Assessment Report showing all coursework as “passed”.
    7. Verification of completion of a child life course taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist.
      • If child life course is in progress: Confirmation of Child Life Course in-Progress (included in the common application above)
    8. Academic transcripts from all colleges/universities attended. Unofficial copies are acceptable.
    9. Two completed Child Life Internship Common Recommendation Forms from an academic professor, supervisor, or other professional who has directly observed the applicant’s work with children. The recommendation form is included in the common application above. Both recommendation forms need to be signed/sealed and mailed to the Clinical Internship Coordinator at the address below. 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 received by the application deadline or they will not be considered. Deadlines are set in accordance with the Association of Child Life Professionals 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 six-week clinical rotations and one week designated for the student to visit other sites within the surrounding community to learn more about other Child Life programs and one week for a mini-rotation.
  2. Interns will be supervised by Certified Child Life Specialists meeting all eligibility requirements established by the Association of Child Life Professionals.
  3. Observation of and experience in assessment of needs and documentation in the medical chart
  4. Planning and implementation of developmentally appropriate activities and therapeutic play in group and individual settings.
  5. 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.
  6. An average of 3 educational in-services per week facilitated by certified child life specialists and other multidisciplinary staff covering a variety of topics applicable to child life practice and profession.
  7. Participation in multidisciplinary meetings and rounds, special hospital events, and support groups.
  8. Completion of assignments including weekly readings and journals, case presentation, and a major project.
  9. Regularly scheduled opportunities for verbal and written evaluation and intern support.

Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas
Child Life Department
Attn: Clinical Internship Coordinator
4900 Mueller Blvd.
Austin, TX 78723