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Child Life Internship

The child life internship program at Yale New Haven Children's Hospital provides individuals with the clinical and professional experiences required to enter the field of Child Life. At the end of the 15-week, 560-hour internship, the individual will be eligible to sit for the Child Life certification exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

What level of education do I need to be eligible for a child life internship?

An applicant needs to have at least a bachelor's degree (or enrolled in coursework leading to a bachelor's degree) in child life or a related field (including but not limited to child development, family studies, human development, psychology, etc.). However, several courses are needed for acceptance to the internship program. Please review the internship requirements above for more specifics

Do I have to be affiliated with a college/university to complete my internship?

We contract with colleges/universities for enrolled students completing their bachelor's or master's degrees. For individuals who have already earned their bachelor's or master's degree, the contract is between Yale New Haven Hospital and the individual learner. Individual students must purchase their own professional liability insurance.

Are there fees/expenses associated with the internship?

There is no fee to apply to the internship, which is an unpaid position. Educational materials are provided and administrative costs are covered by the hospital. Interns are responsible for parking expenses and meals during the internship, although interns are eligible for a 15% food discount in the cafeteria with photo ID. Interns are also responsible for their own housing and living expenses while in New Haven. Child Life interns are able to apply for housing in the graduate dormitories associated with Yale School of Medicine and Yale University. In addition, interns have access to Yale University's off-campus housing data base to rent apartments or rooms in local Bed and Breakfasts.

What can best prepare me for the internship?

We require a minimum of 200 hours of practicum, volunteer, or work experience. At least 100 of these hours must be a child life practicum experience in a hospital setting directly under the supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist. This exposure will provide the opportunity to observe the role of a child life specialist and help you solidify your own commitment to the field of child life.

What happens after my application is received?

Each application is reviewed by the Child Life Internship Committee upon receipt. In keeping with the deadlines mentioned above, you will be notified if your application is going forward to the interview process. We require those within 100 miles of New Haven to interview on-site. Parking will be validated the day of the interview; all other travel expenses are the responsibility of the applicant.

What can I expect as a Child Life Intern?

Our goal during the 15-week internship is to provide a professional level, clinical experience that will prepare you to enter the field of child life. As an intern, you will work 40 hours a week (Monday-Friday), following the same schedule as your supervisor(s). The hours are typically during the daytime, although they may vary with supervisor schedules as well as special programming that might occur during the evening. In this way, you will acquire the most realistic and consistent working experience to prepare you to be a child life specialist.

Comments from past interns at Yale New Haven Children's Hospital

"I've had a great experience here these past 14 weeks! I feel that my placement settings provided me with a very comprehensive background with which to enter the professional field."

"My supervisors have been very supportive, while still challenging me to think and do more. They have used supervision time effectively, always giving feedback and being very open to listening to my thoughts and feelings."

"I really feel like I was prepared/trained to transition from student to professional. The internship met my expectations as I was able to accomplish my goals and meet my challenges."

"Weekly educational seminars provided an opportunity to expand and learn additional areas of child life. It was also great to learn about other healthcare staff and how they collaborated with Child Life."

"The midterm and final evaluations allowed an outlet to express concerns, issues, and successes. I found the evaluations to be helpful in demonstrating where I was as a student and where I needed to be at week 14."

"I felt my supervisor did a good job in maintaining a balance between independence/autonomy and supervision. I feel I worked well with my supervisor and received positive feedback, which was crucial to my advancement in the internship and child life profession."

"I had a very positive experience with my internship and I am so glad I came here. It is a challenging program, yet I found it to be very rewarding. At times, I got stressed about things, but staff members served as supports and my supervisors did a great job of helping me focus. I have grown so much, both professionally and personally throughout the semester. The assignments and expectations were both reasonable and challenging. Each day brought new learning experiences."