Child life practicum

The Child Life Program at Dell Children’s Medical Center provides practicum opportunities for students interested in pursuing a career in child life.

Toddler playing with blocks.

Child life practicum at Dell Children's

The Child Life Practicum at Dell Children’s Medical Center is offered during the summer each year and is designed for current students interested in pursuing a career as a certified child life specialist.

It is an opportunity to learn more about the child life profession and to observe and participate in child life services. The child life practicum is focused on developing core skills in order to prepare students for a child life internship. These skills include rapport building, developmental and psychosocial assessment, increased comfort with the medical environment, play and therapeutic activities, working with a multidisciplinary team, the ability to identify coping and education strategies and professionalism. Practicum students will complete readings, written assignments and journals throughout the course of the semester to supplement hands-on learning.

Students work approximately 40 hours per week to accumulate 160 hours over the course of 4 consecutive weeks. There are two sessions, one from June 3 to June 28 and the other from July 8 to Aug. 2.  A student's weekly schedule varies throughout the semester and is dependent on the schedule of the clinical area assigned and the clinical rotation supervisor. Practicum placements are unpaid and do not guarantee future employment at Dell Children's Medical Center. Housing, meals, transportation, and medical insurance are the responsibility of the student.

Practicum requirements

  • Applicants must currently be pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree and receive course credit for the practicum. Due to corporate regulations, at this time, the DCMC child life department is only allowed to accept applications for our practicum and internship programs from students who are affiliated with the following colleges and universities:
    • Texas State University
    • The University of Texas at Austin
    • University of Iowa
    • Texas Woman’s University
    • Texas Christian University
    • Oklahoma State University
    • Eastern Washington University
    • Ohio University
    • University of Central Oklahoma 
  • A variety of work or volunteer experiences with well children in a group or individual setting.
  • A minimum of 50 hours experience working directly with children in a healthcare setting, preferably in a child life program. These hours must be verified by a supervisor on institution letterhead.
  • Commitment to working approximately 40 hours per week for 4 consecutive weeks. The hours will vary depending on the schedule of the practicum student's rotation supervisor.

How to apply

Applicants who meet the above requirements must submit an application to the child life education committee to be considered for an interview. Please submit all application materials together via email to A complete application must include all of the following:

  1. Child Life Practicum Application (handwritten applications will not be reviewed)
  2. Professional resume including academic, child-related and other relevant experiences.
  3. Two completed Child Life Practicum Reference Forms. One from an academic professor and one from someone who has directly observed the applicant’s work with children. Both reference forms need to be emailed directly from the person filling out the form and can be sent to the student program coordinator at
  4. Unofficial academic transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
  5. Verification, on institution letterhead, of at least 50 hours of experience working with children in a healthcare setting. Letter can confirm that hours are in process.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received. Based on the quality of each candidate’s education and experience, a candidate may or may not be contacted for an interview. Not all candidates will be selected for an interview and not all interviewed candidates will be offered a practicum. Applicants who submit incomplete or falsified applications will not be considered.

Application deadlines

Summer (May)

Application deadline: January 5
Offer deadline: second Tuesday of February
Acceptance deadline: Following Wednesday

Contact us

Dell Children’s Medical Center
Child Life Department
4900 Mueller Blvd.
Austin, TX 78723 

Child Life Practicum Coordinator

Child life practicum