Children’s Minnesota offers a full-time (40 hour/week), child life specialist internship to an undergraduate student in his or her senior year. We also accept students in Master’s programs. Students must be affiliated with a university during their internship experience; Children’s is not able to accept independent students at this time.
Learn more about the internship program, requirements and application process below.
Children’s uses the Common Child Life Internship Application form found on the Association of Child Life Professionals website. Please complete the Child Life Intern Application form and return it along with the requisite supporting documents in a single envelope to:
Diane Dingley, MS, CCLS
Child Life Department MS B704
2525 Chicago Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404
We also adhere to the ACLP’s timeline for offering internships and confirming acceptance from the student. Because we accept a limited number of students at one time, we recommend you apply for an internship at more than one hospital. Please note: You will not be notified upon receipt of your application. Use mail/shipping options if you require delivery confirmation.
In addition to the application form, we require 3 professional letters of reference, a copy of the ACLP Eligibility Assessment and Course Verification Form, a resume, cover letter, and a description of your goals for an internship.
We do accept copies of official transcripts.
Our application deadlines and process follow the recommendations of the Association of Child Life Professionals:
- Fall Session (August – December)
Application deadline (postmarked): March 15
Offer date: first Tuesday in May
Acceptance date: following Wednesday
- Winter/Spring Session (February – May)
Application deadline (postmarked): Sept 5
Offer date: second Tuesday in October
Acceptance date: following Wednesday
Additional information to consider before applying
Before applying, prospective students should review:
- Memorandum of Agreement: This contract must be reviewed and approved by your school’s or institution’s legal department or administrative offices. We encourage you to submit this document for immediate review. If you are accepted into the internship program, the contract will need to be finalized prior to your start date. You do not need to include the contract with your application materials. It is only required if you are accepted.
- Health requirements for students: For review only. Documentation will be required if you are accepted for an internship.
- Operating rules for clinical education agreements
- Expectations of students
The child life internship program provides intense working experience in child life. We place an emphasis on candidates with a strong academic background in child development.
Required academic background
Candidates need to be a senior in college or have completed a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Suggested majors (may include but are not exclusive to):
- Child life
- Child development
- Human growth and development
- Child psychology
The student must have:
- Supervised involvement with healthy children (minimum of 100 hours)
- Supervised involvement with children in the healthcare setting as a volunteer (minimum of 100 hours)
- Solid understanding of child development through coursework and experience
- Completion of child life coursework inclusive of the ACLP required 6 applied areas of study
- Completed the academic course work portion of the ACLP eligibility assessment
Expectations of the student
The student will need to:
- Commit to one full semester (16 weeks), 40 hours/week
- Have a flexible schedule, including some weekends and evenings
- Provide the clinical internship coordinator with a list of expectations and requirements from the university
- Maintain contact with university supervisor
- Complete required readings, weekly journal, final case study or project, and other assignments
Child life department responsibilities
We will provide:
- A child life supervisor who will communicate with the student’s university supervisor
- Weekly supervision meetings
- Exposure to a variety of ages and diagnostic groups
- A multi-disciplinary setting
- Flexibility to tailor internship experience to student’s needs and interests
- Normalizing and therapeutically-oriented interactions with patients and families
- Opportunities for continuing education
Child life internship opportunities
Here is a list of potential opportunities for a child life intern. These are in addition to the basic internship requirements.
- Child life professional development in-services
- Child life case study discussions
- In-hospital educational inservices
- Care conferences on individual patients
- Site visits to other child life departments
- School visits
- Informational interviews with other multidisciplinary team members
- Participation in support groups and/or dialogue with staff who facilitate them
- Exposure to hospital-wide committees and family-centered care programs
- Participation in production of closed-circuit TV show “Kids Clubhouse”
- Engagement with the Youth Advisory Council at the hospital
We strongly suggest:
- Students do not have an outside job during this internship
- Applicants contact the Association for Child Life Professionals to gain more information about the child life profession
Child life programs in medical facilities are a result of research that shows the need to provide developmental and emotional support to children as they cope with the stressful experiences inherent in illness, hospitalization, acute and chronic disease, and surgical procedures.
The presence of illness has been shown to be a major disruptive force in the life of a child and family. In order to assist children in developing adequate, positive coping mechanisms, child life programs which utilize therapeutic play and educational activities, infant development and stimulation programs and adolescent activities are included as an integral component of the healthcare team.
The child life department at Children’s presently includes:
- Activities associates, who have a background in child development or child psychology, with either two- or four-year degree. Their primary responsibility is to provide children with opportunities for play and activity that promote normal growth and development.
- Certified child life specialists (CCLS), who have professional training in child development, human development, art therapy, psychology, family development or child life at the bachelor’s or master’s level. These specialists provide therapeutic, developmental and educational activities with a primary focus on helping children better understand and cope with their healthcare experiences in both inpatient and outpatient areas.
- Child life supervisor, who is a certified child life specialist, provides some of the staff supervision and support of department operations
- Department manager, who has ultimate responsibility for the functioning of the department, including coordination with Child and Family Services senior director of personnel and financial and system-wide initiatives.
- Music Therapists, who are have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, use music therapy interventions to establish a non-threatening, supportive environment to meet patients clinical needs.
- Healing Arts Coordinator, who use an extensive background in arts programming to promote collaboration with the arts community and assist the healing process through the use of creative arts.