Child Life Specialists

Child Life Specialists are trained professionals who help children and their families overcome the fear and anxiety kids can suffer from being in the hospital. According to the Child Life Council, specialists "promote effective coping through play, preparation, education and self-expression activities. They provide emotional support for families, and encourage optimum development of children facing a broad range of challenging experiences, particularly those related to healthcare and hospitalization." Learn more about the child life profession.

To become a Child Life Specialist, one must complete a bachelor's degree in Child Development or a related field (including a class taught by a certified child Life Specialist), a 480-hour internship and pass the certification exam. The Children's Hospital at Saint Francis does not have an internship program at this time. However, we do offer a Child Life practicum program.

Practicum programs are intended to introduce the student to child life, as well as the variety of experiences facing children and adolescents in a healthcare setting. The benefits to the student are opportunities to observe hospitalized children and youth, as well as to gain increased comfort with hospital environment and increased practical knowledge of child life. A certified Child Life Specialist will supervise the student during the practicum.

Practicum students must be enrolled and in good standing with a university program; have completed a minimum of three classes recommended by the Child Life Council; have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in core classes; and have at least 50 hours of experience working directly with healthy children. This type of practicum experience is highly recommended for students who are considering a career as a Child Life Specialist. Practicum students must complete at least 100 hours within a minimum of 10 weeks.

Application deadlines are as follows:

Application Deadlines                        Training Dates

November 15                                        January - April

April 1                                                  May - August

A completed application is not a guarantee of acceptance. In order for us to provide students with quality supervision and education during placement, only a limited number of students are accepted per semester.

 Should you have any further questions, please call the Child Life Department at 918-502-6333 or email