The UC Davis Child Life Department offers a practicum and internship program for those interested in pursuing a career as a child life specialist. Each student program is designed to meet the individual learning needs of the student, while providing a foundation for students to learn about the psychosocial needs of children in the healthcare environment.

Please review our program and application information below, and if you have any further questions, feel free to email

*Student Projects (University & High School): Unfortunately, due to staffing and patient privacy concerns we do not provide opportunities for staff interviews or job shadowing.  If you have interest or project information needs, please feel free to review the attached Child Life Specialist FAQ’s, review our webpage or review the Association for Child Life Professional webpage at .

Child Life Internship Program

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The UC Davis Child Life program offers a 16-week, 640-hour clinical internship, under the direct supervision of experienced child life specialists. The internship curriculum is based on standards set by the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP). Students in the internship program will undergo training in preparation for their future careers and certification examinations.

Interns gain hands-on training in child life programming, including medical play, surgical and procedural preparation, stress point coping, charting, planning and implementing therapeutic interventions, bereavement support, sibling interventions, and individual and playroom experiences. In addition, interns participate in multidisciplinary rounds, in-service training, and classes with the Center for Nursing Education when available.

We offer placements during the fall and winter/spring cycles.

Requirements to Apply

  • Bachelor's degree in related field of study and GPA will be considered as we review your application.
  • Completed eligibility assessment report from the ACLP unless you are enrolled in an endorsed program and instead will submit an endorsed program letter with attached course status verification.
  • A minimum of 100 hours of experience with infants, children, youth and/or families in a health care setting.
  • A minimum of 100 hours of experience with well infants, children, youth and/or families (childcare, counselor, teacher, etc.).
  • All candidates must complete at least one child life course taught by a CCLS prior to the application deadline.

Additional Recommended Experience

  • Experience with infants, children, youth and/or families in stressful situations (camps for children with chronic illnesses, programs for children with special needs, advocacy programs, bereavement/hospice experience, etc.)
  • Completion of a Child Life Practicum experience

Application Process

Applicants who meet the necessary requirements must email their complete application to the UC Davis Child Life internship committee to be considered for an interview: A completed application includes:

  • Completed UC Davis Internship Application Cover Sheet
  • Cover letter and resume
  • Completed ACLP common child life internship application  
  • Verification of hours from experiences within a healthcare setting, working with well children
  • If applicable to your experience, verification of completion of practicum and/or hour worked with children in stressful situations
  • Response to UC Davis specific essay question: UC Davis Children’s Hospital serves a large geographic area and diverse population of families. Please share how you plan to incorporate DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) perspectives into your work as a child life specialist. (200-300 words)
  • ACLP eligibility assessment report (or endorsed program letter with course status verification, as applicable)
  • Unofficial transcripts from ALL colleges/universities attended
  • Verification of child life course taught by a CCLS (for those coming from non-child life related school programs, on ACLP verification form)
  • Additional letters of recommendation are not required beyond the completion of the Common Recommendation Form included in the ACLP Common Application.

Internship Application, Offer and Acceptance Dates

ACLP recommends common internship application deadlines in order to make the process as equitable as possible for prospective interns. There are several important dates each internship cycle –  for these timelines, please refer to the ACLP Internship Information page.

Interview Information and Notes


  •  Once the applicant pool is narrowed down, we will reach out to the candidates selected to be interviewed.  At that time, we may request a professional reference with whom we can contact.

  • Group interviews will be scheduled virtually to meet the deadlines of the ACLP


  • University affiliated and non-university affiliated applications are accepted.
  • The UC Davis Child Life Internship is an unpaid educational opportunity.
  • Although interns are responsible for the costs related to transportation and housing, the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department is able to provide parking at no expense.

Child Life Practicum Program

We will be accepting applications for Summer 2022 with a tentative start date the month of June.

The UC Davis Child Life program offers a 120-hour practicum program for undergraduate and graduate students, who have not yet completed a child life internship. This experience is intended to serve as an introductory experience for individuals interested in pursuing a career in child life. Through experiential learning and observation of child life specialists, child life practicum students begin to increase their knowledge of evidence-based, developmentally appropriate interventions. Practicum standards set forth by ACLP are followed and students will receive close supervision from experienced child life specialists throughout their rotations.

Requirements to apply:

  • Have completed a minimum of 50 hours volunteering within a pediatric hospital setting (preferably under CCLS supervision)
  • Have completed at least one class in typical child development with a passing grade
  • Have a minimum of 100 hours experience working with children (paid or volunteer) in group or individual settings
  • Ability to commit to a 120-hour practicum program
  • GPA will be considered as we review your application

Application Process

Applicants who meet the necessary requirements must email their completed application to the UC Davis Child Life practicum committee at To be considered for an interview, submit your completed application by Jan. 28, 2022 for the summer cycle.

A completed application includes:

  • Completed Practicum Application 
  • Cover Letter and Resume
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation (from supervisors or professors, and on organizational letterhead)
  • Verification of 50 hours of volunteer experience in a pediatric healthcare setting (ideally under a CCLS)
  • Have a minimum of 100 hours of experience working with well/typically developing children (paid or volunteer) in group or individual settings
  • Unofficial transcripts from all universities or colleges attended

Interview Information

  • Interviews are typically scheduled within 2-4 weeks from the application due date.

Art Therapy Internship in Pediatrics (on Hold)

The Art Therapy Internship is open to graduate students who are actively attending an approved or accredited program by the American Art Therapy Association. The Internship program will meet the supervision and direct client contact requirements identified by the Intern’s education program. The Art Therapy Intern will be supervised by a board-certified, registered art therapist and will work closely with the entire Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy team.

After orienting to the inpatient units, the Intern will be assigned a specific caseload and conduct art therapy groups on various units. Under supervision, the Intern will provide individual and group art therapy to patients, family members, and caregivers. When clinically indicated, the Intern will conduct formal art therapy assessments and document the outcomes in the electronic medical record, along with daily and weekly case notes. The Intern will have the opportunity to collaborate with different treatment modalities and gear the content of the internship towards his or her individual interests.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Letter of approval from Art Therapy program director stating student’s eligibility for internship
  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • All official university/college transcripts 

Music Therapy Internship in Pediatrics (on Hold)

UC Davis Children’s Hospital is proud to be an American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) national roster internship site. The music therapy internship follows completion of a bachelor’s or equivalency degree in music therapy and fulfills the 1200-hour requirement of clinical hours before sitting for the national board certification exam. 

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Completion of music therapy program (bachelor's, equivalency or master's) from an AMTA accredited program
  • Proficiency on piano, guitar and voice  
  • Preferred but not required - interest in pursuing music therapy in medical settings after internship