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Child Life Practicum

We are pausing our fall practicum session as we are evaluating and making changes to our current experience. All updates will be posted to this website. Please check back periodically for more information. If you have any questions, please email childlifestudents@childrensal.org. Thanks!

The Child Life Practicum is intended to introduce the field of Child Life to students interested in pursuing Child Life as a career. Students will observe Certified Child Life Specialists in their work with patients, families, and the interdisciplinary team. It is highly recommended that students interested in Child Life complete a practicum experience, as many institutions require at least 100 hours of practicum to be eligible for Child Life Internship. The practicum program will provide 100 hours of clinical observation for each student in the Fall or Spring terms. Students will complete an 8 hour shift once a week for a 13-week period under the supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist. Student schedules are considered, but schedules will need to coordinate with hospital staff schedules. Practicum hours must be completed during the working week; weekend hours are not available at this time.

Download Practicum Application

Practicum Objectives

  • To become familiar with the child life profession and the various roles of Child Life Specialists
  • To become familiar with the role of Child Life Activity Coordinators
  • To recognize the importance and value of family centered care
  • To develop a greater understanding of child and family development and stress and coping theories
  • To recognize how hospitalization can effect children, adolescents, and their families
  • To understand the importance of play opportunities for children and adolescents
  • To enhance communication skills when working with patients and families and other staff members
  • To begin learning how to build rapport with patients
  • To begin to transition from student to professional

Student Expectations

  • Three to 5 written goals for the practicum experience
  • Weekly journals
  • Developmental assignments and readings
  • Take initiative within scope of student role to interact with patients under the direction of supervisor
  • Keep high standards of professionalism (appearance, punctuality, flexibility, communication, boundaries)


  • Be currently affiliated with a university.
    *Children’s of Alabama is unable to complete affiliation agreements with online academic institutions*
  • Have completed or are currently enrolled in Hospitalized Child and the Family, or similar course that is taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist.
  • Have at least 50 hours of experience working with children.

Application Checklist

  • Completed application (Download Practicum Application)
  • Transcript (unofficial is accepted)
  • One recommendation from your advisor or professor
  • School guidelines/requirements for practicum experience if applicable

Incomplete applications will not be accepted. It is the students' responsibility to confirm the receipt of the application.

Practicum Term Application Deadline

June 5 (Fall)
September 5th (Spring)

Once accepted as a practicum student, you must provide the following before starting:

  • Current  Measles – Rubeola Titer
  • Current Measles – Rubella Titer
  • Current Chickenpox – Varicella Titer
  • Current flu shot verification
  • Current TB skin test verification within the past 6 months
  • Proof of Full COVID Vaccination

Before students begin practicum hours a signed contract agreement between Children’s of Alabama and the students’ university must be completed.

Please email completed application and documents to childlifestudents@childrensal.org  

If you have further questions, please contact Fairfax Davis, Practicum Coordinator at childlifestudents@childrensal.org