Child Life Internship

Providing clinical development through a systematic learning experience centered on child life competencies

Update: Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital will not host a summer 2023 Child Life Internship. We look forward to welcoming child life interns again for the fall 2023 semester (applications due March 15, 2023) .

Note: For the safety of our patient and families, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital requires all students participating in clinical training opportunities to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. There will be no exemptions for medical or religious reasons. Students should ensure that they are able to comply with this requirement prior to applying.

The Child Life clinical internship program at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital is accredited by the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) and all of the internship modules provided are in alignment with the up-to-date ACLP internship curriculum. The program is designed for both undergraduate students at the end of their academic program and graduate students to further develop their clinical skills in this dynamic program. Child life internships provide clinical development through a systematic learning experience centered on child life competencies. The internship is highly structured and provides multiple opportunities for unique, individualized learning.

  • Each 600-hour unpaid internship is structured as 40-hours per week for 15 weeks. Intern schedules at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital vary and may require intermittent evening and/or Saturday commitments. 
  • Two 6-week rotations are offered on a specific medical unit/area. Possible rotations include: Emergency Center, inpatient Hematology/Oncology, Outpatient Clinics (Infusion Center, Pre-Operative Services, Dialysis), Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CVICU), Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Center for Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CCDH), and/or Radiology. Playroom/group programming is also incorporated.
  • Supervision is provided by Certified Child Life Specialists, who strive to assist students as they apply theory to practice through a combination of didactic and experiential learning.

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital is a teaching hospital and therefore interns will have a wealth of educational opportunities that vary throughout the year. Interns are welcomed and encouraged to attend various interdisciplinary presentations including, but not limited to, Grand Rounds, Schwartz Rounds, student seminars, in-services, and on-campus conferences. Interns have access to our medical library and the Johns Hopkins database, free of charge. 

Due to the extensive nature of this experience, interns should have no other commitments during this experience.

**ACLP internship verification form will be signed at the completion of all hours and observation of all achieved competencies.**

Goals and Objectives for Internship

  • To become familiar and invested in the Child Life profession and specifically to become acquainted with the Child Life Program at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital.

  • To assess and interact with patients and families using theories of human growth & development, family systems, and cultural background.

  • To gain experience in providing a therapeutic and safe environment for individuals and groups, ages 0-21 years, including weekly programming and special events.
  • To assist patients and families in coping with the stress of hospitalization, illness, death, and/or loss.
  • To build skills in providing patient teaching and therapeutic interventions, specific to populations served, including psychological preparation for potentially stressful events.
  • To grow in professional attitude, maturity, judgment and practice self-reflection in relation to professional and personal life experiences.
  • To learn and function as a member of and integrate Child Life Programming into the health care team.
  • To gain practice in representing and communicating Child Life and psychosocial issues, and advocating for children and families with the pediatric health care team.
  • To implement child life services within the structure and culture of the work environment.
  • To gain an understanding of the special needs of chronically ill children/adolescents and their families.
  • To gain a basic and practical working knowledge of medical procedures and terminology.
  • To gain an understanding and appreciation for family centered care, safety, teamwork, service excellence and commitment to cultural sensitivity.
  • To become familiar with processes surrounding death, bereavement, companioning and support.
  • Introduction to Clinical Supervision, Shared Governance and other professional practices.

Internship Assignments

The following is snapshot of requirements and does not fully reflect all assignments. Child Life Internship Coordinator will work with University Academic Supervisor to streamline assignments when possible to avoid duplication. Students will be expected to fully participate in the following assignments:

  • Written goal statement - overall and weekly.
  • Policy and practice guideline manuals review.
  • Safety and disaster manual review and be familiarity with emergency procedures.
  • Weekly journal entries that demonstrate depth of practice and a high level of self-reflection skills. Journal notes will be utilized as a springboard for discussion with rotational supervisor and during weekly supervision.
  • Weekly educational seminars and hands-on skills labs.
  • Behavioral and developmental observations and implementations with .
  • Documentation in the electronic medical record of patients.
  • Case studies focusing on the psychosocial aspects of the child's reaction to hospitalization and child life interventions to be presented to Child Life staff.
  • Participation in weekly 1:1 supervision with Child Life Internship Coordinator.
  • Presentation focusing on a specific disease or disability and transition to adult care.
  • Presentation regarding a self-designed teaching tool.
  • Multidisciplinary team interviews, site visit opportunities, and varied creative assignments.
  • Group program planning and creation/facilitation of special event for patients and families.

Internship Provisions

  • Meals: Interns receive a 20% discount in the hospital cafeteria.
  • Housing: There is a potential to receive complimentary on-campus housing, however this is not guaranteed.
  • Parking: Parking is provided at no cost to the student.
  • Public Transportation: The hospital is on the main bus line and located within downtown St. Petersburg, a city that allows for easy foot traffic.
  • Uniform: Interns are required to wear a uniform throughout their clinical experiences. Two shirts are provided free of charge and additional shirts may be purchased from the hospital gift shop. Scrub pants and closed toed sneakers are the responsibility of the student.

How to Apply

  • In order to be considered, all candidates must be enrolled at a college/university at the time of their application and throughout the internship. Please do not submit an application if you are an independent student.
    • If selected for an internship, an education affiliation agreement between the candidate's university and Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital is required. Proof of liability insurance from the university or the applicant must also be provided.
  • All applications must be electronically submitted prior to the posted ACLP Application Deadlines.
  • Incomplete or late applications will not be accepted.
  • Submission of an application does not guarantee that the candidate will receive an interview or an internship placement.

Submission Requirements:

Within the application, please include all of the following:

  • ACLP Internship Internship Readiness Common Application

  • Documentation of active enrollment in an ACLP endorsed academic program and/or completed ACLP Eligibility Assessment report showing all coursework as "passed".
  • Online Portfolio: While this component is not needed for initial submission of an application, if selected for a final round interview, candidates will be required to submit the URL of their personal online portfolio.

Apply to our Child Life Internship Program

Interview Process

All application materials will be reviewed by the Internship Coordinator. Applicants are selected to continue in the interview process based on their internship readiness according to the Association of Child Life Professionals' "Internship Readiness Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs)" Document.

Select candidates will be invited to participate in a prerecorded video interview screening. Based on submissions, top candidates will be asked to participate in a 1-hour virtual interview via Microsoft Teams on one of the following dates:

  • To be determined. Check back for further details.

Each semester, 1-2 candidates will be selected to participate in the internship program.


If you have further questions, please contact the Child Life Internship Coordinator at [email protected].