Child Life Practicum Program

Child Life Practicum Program

Our practicum program will provide you with an introduction to the field as well as the psychosocial aspects that patients and families face as a result of hospitalization.  We are confident that your experiences during your practicum will give you the foundation you need to be successful in your internship.

Below are some frequently asked questions about our practicum program.

How long is the practicum program?

Our practicum program is a total of 120 hours. Practicum schedules will be structured as 20 hours a week (2-8 hour days & 1-4 hour day) for a total of 6 weeks. 

What areas of the hospital do practicum students get to experience?

Practicum students are assigned to shadow Certified Child Life Specialists throughout various areas of the hospital.  Clinical areas that practicum students may experience are:

  • General in-patient units
  • Hematology/Oncology
  • Special Procedures/Day Hospital
  • Emergency Department
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
  • Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU)
  • Surgery

When are practicum students accepted?

St. Joseph's Children's Hospital follows the internship guidelines and deadlines set forth by the Child Life Council. Students are accepted three times per year, spring, summer and fall semesters.

Do I have to be enrolled in a college or university to apply?

No, you do not have to be enrolled in a college or university to apply. We accept independent students as well as students currently enrolled in a college/university and require course credits. Please be aware that our facility does not enter into affiliation agreements with colleges and universities. If your school requires an affiliation agreement, we will not be able to accept you as a student.

What is expected out of practicum students?

  • Our practicum program is a total of 120 hours. Practicum schedules will be structured as 20 hours a week (2-8 hour days & 1-4 hour day) for a total of 6 weeks
  • Facilitation of playroom activities once a week
  • Attendance for three in-services from child life staff
  • Daily journals
  • Reading Assignments
  • Developmental Assessment
  • Regular meetings with the Practicum Coordinator

What are the minimum requirements to apply for the child life practicum?

  • Current enrollment in or completion of a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Child Development, Child Life, Family & Human Development, Recreation Therapy, Psychology, or a related field. 
  • A minimum of 5 completed courses related to the Child Life field. (Example: child development, death & dying, medical terminology, psychology, etc.)
  • Completion of at least 50 hours of working with children in a structured setting. Babysitting and nanny positions do not meet this requirement. 

Although not required, we do recommend that applicants have at least 25 hours of volunteer experience with children & families in a healthcare setting (preferably a child life department). 

Applicants must include the following items with their application packet:
  • Completed application
  • Current resume
  • Transcripts from each college/university attended (unofficial are acceptable)
  • 2 letters of recommendation (from individuals that have witnessed your work with children). Letters must be signed.
  • Proof of a minimum of 5 completed courses relevant to the Child Life field.
  • Verification of a minimum of 50 hours working with children in a structured setting (Verification must be signed and on official letterhead).
  • Typed answers to supplemental questions provided on the application

Failure to submit the required documents by the application deadline will result in your application not being processed. 

When should I apply?

Internship Session Application Deadlines Initial Offer Dates Acceptance Dates 2nd Offer Date
Winter/Spring September 5th 2nd Tuesday of October Following Wednesday Following Thursday
Summer January 5th 2nd Tuesday of February Following Wednesday Following Thursday
Fall March 15th 1st Tuesday of May Following Wednesday Following Thursday

How do I apply? Mail in the completed Practicum Application along with all supplemental materials to:
Mail:   St. Joseph's Children's Hospital of Tampa
           ATTN: Leslie Dempsey, BS, CCLS 
   Child Life Department
           3001 W. Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.
           Tampa, FL 33607

How does the selection process work? Applicants will be contacted after their application packet has been received in its entirety. If the application is incomplete, applicants will have until the application deadline to provide the missing documents. If advancing in the selection process, a phone interview will be set up via email. During your interview, you will be informed of the date that selections will be made for that semester and will be notified via phone if you are selected. If not selected, you will be notified by email. 

How do I contact you if I have any questions? If you have any questions, please contact us via email.