Practicum Program

The Child Life Practicum at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital is an introductory, hands on experience, intended to familiarize students with the child life profession. Created under the ACLP Recommended Standards for Practicums, our program is designed to build on the theoretical and foundational knowledge gained in the academic classroom. Practicum rotations allow students opportunities to observe real world applications of child life practice through a variety of activities including: shadowing child life specialists; leading groups in the playroom; facilitating one on one play sessions with patients; and practice in documentation and assessment. In addition to clinical work, practicum students are expected to complete assigned readings and written projects intended to advance their own understanding of child life theories. It is our expectation that upon successful completion of the practicum programs, students will be well equipped to find success in their internships, and future child life professional work.

Timing and Availability

Generally, the program accepts a maximum of two students per semester, with a requirement of 120-150 hours, depending on student need and staffing availability. Fall and Spring semesters typically follow a 15 week schedule, with approximately 10 hours required per week.

Summer term lengths are more flexible and can occasionally be lengthened or condensed to meet student needs, pending staffing availability. (Summer weekly hour requirement will vary based on this length and the total hours required).

Please reach out to the child life department directly to confirm that applications are being accepted for a particular semester prior to applying as availability is subject to change. Inquiries can be sent to childlife@shands.ufl.edu with subject line “Practicum Inquiry”.

Minimum Requirements for Applicants

  • Completion of Junior year of a Bachelors level degree
  • GPA of at least 3.0
  • At least 100 hours of experience working with children of all ages (of which a minimum of 30 hours must be completed with a child life program under the direct supervision of a certified child life specialist)
  • At least 5 completed courses in child development, family studies, psychology, sociology, or expressive therapies, of which one course must be taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist. (with a grade of 3.0 or higher for these courses)

Please note that given the hospital’s relationship with the University of Florida, preference may be given to qualified students at this institution, although not guaranteed. Strong candidates with affiliation at other academic institutions are still encouraged to apply. Students without institutional affiliation may occasionally be accepted on a case by case basis at the discretion of the child life program. Please contact our program directly prior to applying as an unaffiliated practicum student.

Application Process

All applicants must submit the following information to be considered for placement in the practicum program

  1. Completed application form submitted by deadline (see link below)
  2. Unofficial college transcript(s)- Please note that in some cases, the program may request official transcripts before a practicum offer is confirmed.
  3. Two letters of recommendation (at least one related to your work with children; preference given for letters written by a CCLS)
  4. Current professional resume
  5. Download the application

All applications must be postmarked by the dates below. Please note that we reserve the right to refuse consideration of applications sent after the official deadlines.

Application Due Dates (Postmarked by)

  • Fall: April 15th
  • Spring: September 25th
  • Summer: January 25th

Please mail your completed application to:

Attn.: Child Life Practicum Committee
BOX 100335
1600 SW Archer Rd
Gainesville, FL 32608

Internship Program

Our program is currently in the process of developing an internship program according to the requirements and standards set forth by the Association for Child Life Professionals. We anticipate opening this program in the Spring of 2022. Please reach out to our team directly if you are interested in this opportunity or check back here for updates.