Child Life Internship and Practicum

The Child Life Department at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital offers practicum and internship programs to students interested in the field of child life. Participants must meet several requirements to qualify for these programs.

The internship offers the opportunity to learn the skill sets of a child life specialist.

The practicum provides practical experience in applying child development theory and learning the effects of hospitalization.

Child life services help children and families adjust to and understand hospitalization, illness, injury and treatment. We also offer services to help make the hospital experience as positive as possible for patients and their families.

Child Life Internship Program

The Child Life Internship Program is open to students considering a career as a Certified Child Life Specialist.

Applicant Requirements

To apply, download the Internship application from the righthand column on this page.

Clinical internship only accepts students who have:

  • 100 hours of experience with well infants, children, youth or families.
  • 100 hours of experience with infants, children, youth or families in stressful situations, health care settings or programs designed for children with special needs.
  • Successfully completed child life coursework in the six applied areas of study, as required by the ACLP.
  • Completed the academic course work portion of the ACLP eligibility assessment.

Internship Requirements

Clinical internship only accepts students who:

  • Have completed the child life internship application. Applications must be sent via UPS or FedEx.
  • Provide photo ID and proof of health clearance, immunizations and an up-to-date TB test on their first day.
  • Provide documentation of liability insurance coverage, either through a university affiliated with UCSF or through private liability insurance. We do accept non-affiliated students.

Interns must be willing to:

  • Work a minimum of 40 hours a week, including holidays, evenings, Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Meet weekly with rotation supervisor and internship coordinator.
  • Keep a journal, including sample chart notes and developmental assessments.
  • Create personal goals and rotation goals.
  • Prepare a case study and present to the Child Life Services team.
  • Observe in-service trainings as required or requested.
  • Attend weekly classes taught by the Child Life Services team.
  • Complete rotations as assigned.
  • Prepare a significant project approved by the internship coordinator and rotation supervisor that directly benefits the Child Life Department and its goals.

Program Structure

A combined 600 hours of clinical experience:

  • Week 1: Orientation with Internship Coordinator
  • Rotation 1 (six weeks) and Rotation 2 (six weeks) with a Certified Child Life Specialist
  • Two elective weeks
  • Weekly meetings with Internship Coordinator
  • Weekly classes with the Child Life Services team

The internship and practicum hours are mostly completed during the week with some holiday, weekend and evening involvement.

A rotation supervisor, assigned to each intern, will meet with you once a week to discuss goals, journal entries, a case study, and specific rotations and interventions. Interns work at bedside with a CCLS conducting therapeutic play, diagnosis teaching, preparation, procedural support, sibling support, charting and more.

We receive many applications for these positions. Please do not submit an application unless you meet all the requirements. Please make sure your application is complete before submitting it.

Application Process

After the application due date, you will be contacted once your application is reviewed.

  • Applications from candidates who meet the internship requirements will be reviewed by the internship committee to choose finalists.
  • If chosen, you will be interviewed by the internship coordinator and the supervisors for the internship.
  • Up to two Child Life interns are accepted per semester.
  • UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital follows the ACLP application deadlines.

Child Life Practicum Program

The Child Life Practicum Program is open to college students enrolled in child development courses. This is a 12-week program that gives child development students the opportunity to interact with children in our playroom. Students are offered several learning opportunities to better understand the impact of hospitalization on child development.

Application Process

To apply, download the Practicum application from the righthand column on this page.

After the application due date, you will be contacted once your application is reviewed. Candidates who meet practicum criteria will interview with the playroom coordinator and the internship and practicum coordinators. A decision will be made following the interview.


  1. Enrollment in a child development program or concentration
  2. Completion of a practicum application

If chosen, the practicum student must:

  • Obtain health clearance with proof of immunizations and an up-to-date TB test.
  • Provide a photo ID.

Applicants must be willing to:

  • Work a minimum of two days a week.
  • Create written goals for the practicum.
  • Complete readings and participate in topic discussions with the supervisor. Topics include an introduction to the child life field and the value of play with hospitalized children.
  • Meet weekly with supervisor.
  • Conduct weekly journal entries and developmental assessments.
  • Prepare a programming-focused project – for example, develop a playroom schedule for a month.
  • Observe a child life specialist preparing for procedure intervention.
  • Help plan and implement age-appropriate playroom activities.

Contact Us

For more information about the child life student program, please contact Kristen Beckler in the UCSF Child Life Department:

[email protected]
(415) 476-5029
UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco
Child Life Department
Attn: Kristen Beckler
1975 Fourth St.
San Francisco, CA 94143

Related Information

Ways to Give

How to Reach Us

To apply for an internship or practicum, or for more information, please contact Kristen Beckler in Child Life at (415) 476-5029 or by email.

Child Life Department
UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco
1975 Fourth St.
San Francisco, CA 94158