Child Life Training Programs

Rotations Are On

The COVID-19 pandemic has not impacted our student program. All rotations are currently moving forward as planned and outlined below.

For Prospective Applicants

Our small program's staffing is limited. So please review all internship and practicum information and requirements in their entirety before reaching out for questions or clarification.

UC San Diego Health's Child Life Program provides educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing careers in the field of child life.

Our program is small, so child life interns and practicum students are quickly integrated as valuable members of the support team.

Candidates must be creative, dependable and able to function both independently and as a team. There have been countless innovations and developments in the Child Life Program at UC San Diego Health that are the direct result of the hard work and creativity of our students.

Child Life Internship

Our Child Life Internship program is a 600-hour clinical internship under the direct supervision of a certified child life specialist. Intern experiences include time in the burn unit, trauma unit, burn outpatient clinics and palliative care services.

The responsibilities for child life interns at UC San Diego Health include distraction and accompaniment during procedures or dressing changes, preparation for surgery and other procedures, assistance with schoolwork, school reintegration, grief and bereavement support, and facilitation of therapeutic, medical and diversional play for patients ages 21 years and younger.

Interns are also involved in community outreach and education programming, burn-survivor field trips, support groups and in providing support and education to the young family members of our pediatric and adult patients.

Interns are required to complete assignments such as a weekly journal, case study and a final project as assigned.

Guidelines for Accepting Internship Candidates

  • Child life interns are required to complete a substantial project by the end of the internship term, so we can't consider students who plan to be enrolled in thesis during their clinical time.
  • We accept internship candidates year-round (winter/spring, summer and fall).

Internship Prerequisites

Affiliation: You must be affiliated with one of the following universities at the graduate level to apply for an internship with UC San Diego Health:

  • Loma Linda University
  • Azusa Pacific University
  • Eastern Washington University

Vaccination: Per UC San Diego Health policy, all students must be vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19.

Practicum: Although a practicum is not required by the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP), we require students to have completed a minimum 120-hour practicum before the start of the internship due to the nature of UC San Diego Health's internship experience.

Submitting your Application

Complete the Internship Readiness Common Application found on the ACLP website.

  • You must create an account to complete the application.
  • Select the "Internship Readiness Common Application" tile and complete all prompted steps that appear on the dashboard.
  • Once the application is complete, you should download the completed application as a ZIP file.

In addition to the common app, please include an essay with a minimum of 500 words addressing the following areas:

  •  What do you think might be your biggest challenges in working with burn care, trauma care and palliative care populations?

Email Your Application

Please email your completed Internship Readiness Common Application ZIP file and UCSD Health Essay to

The heading should say "Child Life Internship Application" and be followed by your last name. 

  • Example: Child Life Internship Application Smith

Applications received incomplete or received after the deadline will not be reviewed.

Child Life Practicum

Our Child Life Practicum program is a 120-hour clinical experience spanning eight weeks. Although dates vary, the practicum start dates generally align with the standard internship timeline set by ACLP.

The program gives students the chance to experience the child life profession and gain insight into the unique, individual needs of children and their families in the hospital setting by observing a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) in settings such as the burn unit, trauma unit, burn outpatient clinics and palliative care services.

Responsibilities include shadowing and assisting CCLS and interns in distraction and accompaniment during procedures or dressing changes, preparation for surgery and other procedures, schoolwork assistance, school reintegration, and facilitation of therapeutic, medical and diversional play for patients 21 years of age and younger.

Additional responsibilities include various office tasks such as toy sanitization and organization. Completion of weekly assignments is also required.

Guidelines for Accepting Practicum Candidates

  • UC San Diego Health accepts practicum applications from those who at least have a bachelor's degree (either completed or in progress) and who meet additional requirements.
  • Applicants do not need to be enrolled in or affiliated with any educational program at the time of applying.
  • We continue to accept practicum students each round (winter/spring, summer and fall).
  • For questions, please email practicum coordinator Sabrina Suarez, MS, CCLS.

Child Life Practicum Application Process

Child Life Practicum application deadlines mirror the Child Life Internship application deadlines set by the Association of Child Life Professionals. You must submit the internship application and all supporting documents by email.

Email Your Application

Please email your completed application package to

How to Contact Us

Child Life Internships

Child Life Practicum

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