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Child Life Services Practicum Program
Children's National Hospital (CNH) offers a child life practicum program to students who are interested in becoming a certified child life specialist (CCLS) and have academic training in the fields of child life, child development, early childhood education, psychology or another related discipline. The program accepts both current students and college graduates. Please note that if you are seeking course credit from the completion of this practicum, an affiliation agreement must be established and signed by both CNH and your university/institution.
The child life practicum program at CNH provides students with an opportunity to shadow child life specialists and to learn from the various members of the Child Life and Integrative Care Services team. Students will also help facilitate the normal growth and development of pediatric patients through the provision of supervised, developmentally appropriate play opportunities.
The practicum program is offered three times a year (fall, winter/spring and summer).
Practicums are typically offered three times a year (spring/summer/fall) with one practicum student participating in each session.
Currently, we will not be accepting applications for the spring or summer 2023 session.
When information becomes available, this page will be updated with details about the fall 2023 session.
- Active enrollment in a college or university
- As of January 2022, we can no longer accept unaffiliated students
- Minimum 3.0 GPA
- Experience working with well/healthy children
- Volunteer hours in a hospital setting
- Minimum of 50 hours completed prior to applying
- Must be under the direction supervision of a CCLS
Once accepted, students will be required to have an affiliation agreement (hospital contract) signed by their host university. Students must also successfully pass a background check and complete a health screening as a part of the clearance process before beginning the practicum.
A completed application consists of:
- Child Life Services Practicum Application including:
- Cover letter
- Unofficial transcripts from each college or university attended
- A 2-minute video clip explaining why you want to complete your practicum at Children’s National and why you believe you are the ideal candidate
- Two recommendation letters
- Recommendations should be written on letterhead (if applicable) and must be signed, scanned and emailed directly from the recommender to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Recommendations must be completed by a professor, supervisor, manager or other individual who has observed you working with children
If you have any questions, please email us.
Holly Bulgarella, CCLS
Certified Child Life Specialist
Frequently Asked Questions
Currently, we are only able to accept one practicum student per semester.
During the fall and winter/spring sessions, students are on site for 16 weeks (2 days per week for 5-hour shifts). During the summer session, students are on site for 13 weeks (3 days per week for 5-hour shifts). Most practicum students acquire approximately 200 hours per semester. Practicum students complete three rotations on different hospital units or outpatient areas/clinics. The days of the week and specific hours that students are on site may vary throughout the semester based on each rotation.
Practicum students’ three rotations are selected by the practicum coordinators based on staff/supervisor availability each semester. While we try to take students’ interests into consideration when determining rotations, we cannot guarantee placement on any specific units or areas of the hospital.
Practicum students are assigned weekly readings, journals, diagnosis case studies, play activity write-ups and self-evaluations. Each practicum student also completes a final project which is presented to the Department of Child Life & Integrative Care Services at the end of the semester.
We encourage you to check with your academic advisor to ensure that your school will be willing to sign a contract and provide you with liability insurance during the semester that you intend to complete the practicum program.
No, the practicum program is an unpaid learning experience.
No, we are not able to provide housing assistance.