Child Life Internship FAQs

What is a child life internship at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan (CHM)?

Our internship is 640 total hours (40 hours/week for 16 weeks). It is a hands-on experience under supervision of certified child life specialists (CCLS) with 4,000 hours of experience. Interns learn how to work in a clinical setting that consists of two six week rotations. 

How many hours is an internship?

The Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) requires a minimum of 480 hours; however, the number of weeks and hours vary between sites (between 12-16 weeks). Our internship is 600 hours.

Is a practicum required before I apply for an internship at CHM?

Yes, completing a 100 minimum hour practicum is required prior to beginning your internship at the Children's Hospital of Michigan. Please provide written documentation within your application of a practicum in progress or a completed practicum.

Should I attend conferences?

Yes. There are several annual conferences available: ACLP’s Annual Conference on Professional Issues, Great Lakes Child Life Conference, Pacific Rim Conference, Midwest Child Life Conference, New England Child Life Professional Conference.

How many internship hours are required to sit for the child life certification exam?

A minimum of 480 hours.

What are some things I should consider when choosing an internship?

  • Size of the hospital and child life program
  • Does the internship offer an orientation to the program and the hospital?
  • Does the internship have regularly scheduled meetings with the supervisor?
  • Is there a student fee? What does it cover?
  • Is the supervisor a certified child life specialist (CCLS) with 4000 hours of experience?
  • How many rotations does the internship offer?
  • Is the internship a minimum of 480 hours?

Should I apply for more than one internship?

Yes, internships are highly competitive. You should apply at as many sites as possible.

Do I need to have volunteer hours to apply for an internship at CHM?

Yes, there is a requirement of 120 volunteer hours to be considered for our internship. Volunteer hours should be a combination of work with well children and children with special needs. Volunteer work in a hospital setting, specifically working in a pediatric setting with a child life department is preferred.

Can I do my volunteer hours at CHM and apply for an internship at the same site?


Can I continue to log volunteer hours after the application deadline?

Yes, however, the more hours you have before the application deadline, the better. Please indicate on the application if you plan to continue logging hours.

Can I apply for an internship at CHM if I have completed a practicum at CHM?

No, we encourage our students to have different opportunities and see other sites in order for them to grow professionally and have as many varied experiences as possible.

Do you accept students for an internship who are not affiliated with a university?

No at this time we do not accept unaffiliated students.

If I’ve attended more than one university, do I need to submit  transcripts for both universities?


Can transcripts and letters of recommendation be sent separate from my application?


Do you accept applications from candidates who do not meet the 3.0 GPA requirement?

No, we adhere to our minimum criteria because we receive many applications each semester, and it is highly competitive.

Do I need to submit an Eligibility Assessment from the Child Life Council to apply for internship

Yes, the Course Work Review Service was suspended as of April 30, 2014 and was replaced by the new Eligibility Assessment Service, which was introduced in July 2014. This change was initiated by the CLCC as part of an overall effort to streamline the exam application experience, and to provide applicants with a user-friendly tool for monitoring their progress toward establishing eligibility.

What is expected of an intern at CHM?

An intern is expected to establish goals and complete appropriate documentation for patients, develop clinical assessment and intervention skills, write weekly journals, present two case studies, complete a special project and two site visits, plan and lead creative activities in the activity centers, create an informational bulletin board, facilitate volunteer training, and assist with special event planning and implementation. An intern must be professional, demonstrate initiative and knowledge of child development and embody cultural sensitivity.


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