The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at UC Davis Children's Hospital offers an 18-week full-time training program for individuals seeking a career as a child life specialist.

Interns will learn by working with a supervisor 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.


  1. Bachelor's degree in Child Development, Psychology, Special Education, Therapeutic Recreation, Creative Arts Therapies, or related field of study.
  2. A minimum of 100 hours of volunteer experience within a pediatric hospital setting.
  3. All candidates must complete at least one child life course taught by a certified child life specialist prior to the application deadline.


Child life specialistsTo be considered for an interview, candidates should submit their completed CLC Common Child Life Internship Application form with the following documents in the order listed below. All items should be mailed in one complete packet. Please do not place submit applications in a binder or folder, but in a manila envelope secured only by a paper clip:

  1. Current resume
  2. CLC Common Child Life Internship Application Form
  3. Documentation of Eligibility Assessment and approval of a minimum of 10 courses from the Child Life Council
  4. Documentation of successful completion of a Child Life Course taught by a certified child life specialist (for candidates with a bachelor's degree or those in a non-child life master’s program the documentation must be on the CLC Child Life Course Verification Form)
  5. Documentation of a minimum of 100 hours of volunteer experience within a pediatric hospital setting
  6. A Statement of Purpose using the following statements as headers to your answer:
    • Your personal philosophy on working with children and families
    • How will this philosophy influence your role as a child life intern?
    • How is this philosophy a good match for UC Davis Children's Hospital?
  7. Three letters of reference
  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)


March 15 (Offers made by the first Tuesday of May)


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: Diana Sundberg, Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department
2315 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95817

Please click here to download the Child Life Internship application.