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student internship program

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About Our Internship Program:

The child life internship program at Advocate Children's Hospital - Park Ridge offers a comprehensive experience with hospitalized children and adolescents under the supervision of certified child life specialists. Clinical rotations give interns direct contact with patients and families, while working as a member of a multi-disciplinary team. Interns focus on meeting developmental, educational and therapeutic play needs during hospitalization.

Weekly objectives are determined at the onset of the internship. Following a two-week orientation, specific rotations are scheduled. Each intern will complete four weeks of pediatric programming (including planning and implementing daily playroom group activities for patients ranging in age from infants through nine years). An additional four weeks is designated programming for the adolescent unit (patients age 10-21). Other rotations are offered as personal choice selections. During this time, interns elect to provide coverage in specialized treatment areas such as clinics, emergency medicine or ambulatory surgery.

The comprehensive scope of this internship provides opportunities aimed at developing professional excellence. The goal of our program is for interns to assume the role and responsibilities of a child life specialist, and make the successful transition from student to professional.

This internship is designed in accordance with the standards for clinical preparation programs set forth by the Child Life Council. All content and assignments focus on certification preparation.

It is our hope this experience will be a rewarding one filled with educational opportunities for professional growth and personal gratification.

Internship Placement Schedule

CHILD LIFE INTERNSHIPS are offered three times a year, with January / May / September start dates. Internships are full time positions, 40 hours a week, for period of 16 consecutive weeks. The scheduled days and hours vary depending upon rotations. Some evening, weekend and holiday coverage is required.

Up to three interns are accepted each session. Although interns are assigned to rotations independently, they must be able to function within a team.

The Child Life Department offers placements for both independent and course credit students.


CHILD LIFE INTERNSHIPS at Advocate Children's Hospital are available to undergraduate and graduate level students pursuing a career with children/teens in a health care setting. Placement will only occur once all undergraduate coursework is completed (no earlier than last semester of senior year.)

Internship experiences are open to individuals who:

  • Have completed all necessary coursework for a child & family related degree. Coursework must be validated by an official school transcript and course credit review by Child Life Council.
  • Completed at least 50 hours of practicum or volunteer experience with hospitalized children. Hours must be validated by hospital where services occurred

Students obtaining course credit for this clinical experience must receive approval from their academic supervisor before their application is complete. This assures a student meets university’s requirements for the field placement, and the hospital setting meets the academic criteria for credit. Independent internships are also available to those individuals who have completed their undergraduate work and are no longer enrolled in further studies. Most independent interns seek additional experience in the hospital setting primarily to qualify for child life certification.

We seek enthusiastic candidates with:

  • Strong knowledge of child development
  • A sincere interest in the well being of children and families
  • Goals appropriately matched with our program
  • Ability to be self directed and flexible
  • Personal commitment to the assignment
  • Investment in opportunities for learning
  • A passion for the child life profession

To be considered, candidates must also submit letters of recommendation regarding their ability to act in a responsible manner. At least one recommendation must be from prior hospital practicum/volunteer site. Candidates must be able to deal with diverse and challenging situations in a mature and emerging professional manner. All interns must support the mission, values and philosophy of the Advocate health care system.

Qualified candidates will be invited to interview for positions and will be notified regarding their acceptance into our program

Why Choose Advocate Children's Hospital - Park Ridge

Advocate Children’s Hospital offers a comprehensive child life internship program. Some of the features that we highlight include:

  • Innovative child life activity programming
  • Opportunity to complete standard internship objectives, along with individual choice rotations
  • A stimulating medical environment with a variety of patient populations
  • Pediatric in-patient services, as well as a separate adolescent medicine unit and expanding pediatric intensive care unit.
  • Specialty areas of treatment in: oncology; cystic fibrosis; cardiology; pediatric trauma and palliative care.
  • Cultural diversity
  • Independence within a team approach
  • Emphasis on family centered care
  • Attractive and comforting patient care areas that promote healing
  • Compliance with competency standards set forth by the Child Life Council
  • Supervision by certified child life specialists
  • Weekly intern meetings to discuss specific topics and share information
  • Focus on preparation for the professional child life certification exam.

Advocate Children's Hospital is consistently recognized as one of the top health care providers in the nation. Child life at Advocate Children’s Hospital is an established program and well respected among our colleagues. It is our goal to provide an internship that prepares individuals to enter the child life profession with a multitude of experiences and confidence in their clinical and interpersonal skills.


"I truly loved the experience I got here. I enjoyed working in different areas. I wanted professional growth and I achieved that."

"I enjoyed the independence that helped me develop my style, but supervision was always available and I benefited from the constructive comments I received."

"It’s a very organized, well-structured internship."

"My internship experience at Advocate Children's Hospital has been exceptional. As I leave here, I truly feel I have acquired the skills and knowledge needed to become a successful child life specialist. The days were long and hard, but in the end I feel confident and prepared."

Applying for Child Life student internship

As you consider applying to our internship, please review all website information carefully. It is essential you select a placement site well matched to your interests and abilities.

Application deadline dates are as follows:

Internship Session   

Application Deadline   

Offer Deadline   

Acceptance Deadline   


 May 5

 June 22

 June 28


 Sept. 5

 Oct. 22

 Oct. 28


 Jan. 5

 Feb. 22

 Feb. 28

Applications will be reviewed by an internship selection committee composed from our team of child life specialists. The top qualified candidates will be scheduled for an interview & tour following the application deadline. Only applicants for the current placement will be considered for interviews.

Candidates will be notified if they are selected by the offer deadline date.

All candidates will be informed of final decisions for placement.

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