The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at UC Davis Children's Hospital offers a 16-week full-time training program for individuals seeking a career as a child life specialist.

Interns will learn by working with supervisors from the program, and also with patients, family members, and pediatric specialists from these groups:

Interns gain hands-on training in Child Life programming, including medical play, surgical and procedural preparation, stress point coping, charting, planning and implementing therapeutic interventions, bereavement support, sibling interventions, and individual and playroom experiences. In addition, interns participate in multidisciplinary rounds, in-service training, and classes with the Center for Nursing Education.

Requirements to Apply

  1. Bachelor's degree in Child Development, Psychology, Special Education, Therapeutic Recreation, Creative Arts Therapies, or related field of study (GPA of 3.0 or above).
  2. Completed Eligibility Assessment report from the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP)
  3. A minimum of 200 hours of volunteer experience within a pediatric hospital setting (preferably under the supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist).
  4. Verify completion of a Child Life practicum consisting of at least 120 hours
    1. These hours must be verified by a CCLS supervisor on institution letterhead.
  5. All candidates must complete at least one child life course taught by a certified child life specialist prior to the application deadline.

Application Process

Child life specialistsApplicants who meet the above requirements must submit an application to the UC Davis Children’s Hospital Internship Committee to be considered for an interview.

A completed application must include all of the following (mailed in one complete packet, in a manila envelope, documents secured by a paper clip with the following documents in the order specified below):

  1. Current resume
  2. CLC Common Child Life Internship Application Form
  3. Completed Eligibility Assessment report from the ACLP
  4. Documentation of successful completion of a Child Life Course taught by a CCLS (for candidates with a bachelor's degree or those in a non-child life master’s program, and the documentation must be on the ACLP Child Life Course Verification Form)
  5. Documentation of a minimum of 200 hours of volunteer experience within a pediatric hospital setting
  6. Minimum of 200 hours working with well children (teacher, counselor, etc.)
    1. Documented in the ACLP common application
  7. Two letters of reference
    1. One letter from an academic professor or supervisor and one from a professional who has directly observed the applicant’s work with children.
  8. Transcripts from all colleges/universities attended (unofficial transcripts accepted)

Application deadline

Internship session: Application Deadline:
Spring Sept. 5 (Offers made by the second Tuesday of October)


Jan. 5 (Offers made by the second Tuesday of February)


Intern selection is highly competitive and based on the following criteria:

  • Academic performance of 3.0 or above in both undergraduate and graduate studies
  • Previous experience working with children, especially in the health-care setting
  • In-person panel interview
  • Knowledge of typical growth and development, child development theories, and the child life profession
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Accurately completing the application process

Disclaimer: Completion of a child life internship does not guarantee eligibility to sit for the child life certification exam. Please visit for information about educational requirements to sit for the exam.

Please mail completed applications to:

UC Davis Children's Hospital
ATTN: Emily McDaniel, Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department
2315 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95817

For questions about our internship program, email is the best method to contact; please email Emily McDaniel at Thank you for your interest in our program.