Continuing Education > Child Life Practicum Program

Child Life Practicum Program

The Child Life Practicum is designed as an introductory experience for individuals interested in pursuing a career in child life. Through experiential learning and observation of Certified Child Life Specialists, child life practicum students begin to increase their knowledge of basic child life skills related to play, developmental assessment, and integration of child life theory into interventions with infants, children, youth and families. Child life practicum students will increase their comfort level by interacting with infants, children, youth, and families in the health care setting. Through these experiences, child life practicum students will enhance their knowledge of the child life profession and investigate the process of applying child life and developmental theory to practice.

Child Life Council

Child Life Council Recommended Practicum Standards

Standard #1: The child life practicum is largely an observational experience with child life practicum students beginning to engage in independent play and developmentally supportive interventions with infants, children, youth, and families as deemed appropriate by the supervising CCLS.

Standard #2: The child life practicum student will be supervised by a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) who has achieved a minimum of 2,000 hours of paid work experience as a child life specialist.  The supervising CCLS must be currently practicing in the field of child life; however, the setting of the child life practicum could vary.

Standard #3: The child life practicum encompasses a minimum of 100 supervised hours. The child life practicum experience may include a combination of practicum hours being completed in no more than two different settings given each setting builds upon and strengthens a child life practicum student’s continual development and growth as a child life specialist.

**The number of hours encompassed will be determined between the practicum student and supervising CCLS. This determination will be made based upon each student’s individual and educational needs.

Standard #4: Child life practicum hours should be completed in an appropriate setting that provides the child life practicum student with the opportunity to observe and learn from psychosocial interventions that assist infants, children, youth and families experiencing health related or stressful situations. Approved settings can include:

Standard #5: The child life practicum includes observation opportunities for students to explore the following theory and interventions related to child life practice:

  • Child life assessments
  • Developmental theory integration
  • Therapeutic play interventions
  • Rapport building

Standard #6: The child life practicum learning experiences include activities and assignments which allow the child life practicum student to begin to apply and integrate knowledge and theory application for future clinical practice and help to initiate the development of a personal philosophy of child life practice. These learning assignments should include:

  • Journaling
  • Assignments
  • Educational Discussions
  • Specific and Structured Readings

Application Requirements

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Completed or currently completing a course taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS)
  • Minimum 40 hours volunteering in a Pediatric or Child Life department
  • Current or past interaction with children in a formal setting (e.g. tutoring, mentorship, teaching, daycare, coaching)
  • Actively pursuing a career as a Certified Child Life Specialist

Application Deadlines

Practicum Semester Application Deadlines Initial Offer Dates Acceptance Dates 2nd Offer Date
Winter/Spring 2020 September 5 October 8 October 9 October 10
Summer 2020 January 5 February 10 February 11 February 12
Fall 2020 March 15 May 5 May 6 May 7

Application Checklist Review

  • Completed and Signed Application Form
  • Unofficial College/University Transcripts
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation in sealed and signed envelopes
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae

Please mail completed applications to:

Child Life Services-Practicum
Carle Foundation Hospital NT8
611 W Park St.
Urbana, IL 61801

Apply to Practicum Program