Child Life – Internship Program

About Child Life Specialists

ACLP seal

A child life specialist is a trained professional who helps children and their families understand and manage challenging life events and stressful health care experiences. Child life specialists hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, human development, psychology, child life and other related fields. They must pass an exam to obtain child life specialist certification. Child life specialists also help with communication between patients and families and the medical staff.
Norton Children’s child life specialists are part of the health care team at Norton Children’s Hospital, Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital and Norton Children’s Medical Center. They can help families in the following ways:

  • Minimize fears and stress experienced by children, adolescents and families as related to health care experiences
  • Teach patients and families about procedures and surgeries
  • Provide techniques for pain management and relaxation
  • Help improve coping skills
  • Help create a comfortable environment for patients
  • Promote patient- and family-centered care
  • Support patients and families during medical procedures
  • Give tours of the hospital before surgery
  • Encourage socialization in a fun and safe environment
  • Use medical play to encourage expression of feelings
  • Offer pet therapy programs (with some restrictions), as well as full-time facility dogs
  • Plan special community-oriented visits and events
  • Provide coping techniques and education for patients’ siblings
  • Provide end-of-life and bereavement support
  • Support and teach children of adult patients

About Our Child Life Internship Program

Child life specialists at Norton Children’s Hospital, Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital and Norton Children’s Medical Center offer a 640-hour child life internship experience. Internships begin in January and August and accept up to two candidates at a time. All interns complete two rotations at Norton Children’s Hospital and the remaining rotation at either Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital or Norton Children’s Medical Center.

Students may apply by reviewing the internship prerequisites below and submitting an internship readiness common application online to Interns need only submit one application for consideration for all sites.

Applicants must:

  • Be working toward a degree in child life, child development, psychology, early childhood education or a related field
  • Be college seniors or graduate-level students in their final semester, and must be affiliated with a college or university
  • Have completed the academic coursework portion of the Association of Child Life Professionals eligibility assessment

Internship Expectations

  • Work 16 weeks, full time with possible weekends; no holidays are required.
  • Assignments include but are not limited to: completing and presenting a project, case studies, daily journals, article summaries and Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) learning module assignments.
  • Attend weekly meetings with clinical internship supervisor and clinical internship coordinator.
  • Formal evaluations will be completed at the end of each rotation, along with a midterm and final evaluation.

Norton Children’s prioritized the ACLP’s knowledge, skills and abilities as the following:

  • Awareness of growth mindset relating to diversity, equity and inclusion, and cultural humility
  • Knowledge of child development and how each developmental stage is impacted by illness, stress and hospitalization
  • Ability to self-reflect on one’s learning, goals, openness to feedback, self-care, and professional boundaries and their implications for practice
  • Demonstrated flexibility and time management skills to adapt to changing situations

Possible rotation experiences

  • Antepartum/labor and delivery
  • Adult intensive care unit
  • Emergency
  • General pediatrics
  • Hematology/oncology/renal (adult or pediatrics)
  • Medical/surgical
  • Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
  • Pediatric or cardiac intensive care unit
  • Radiology
  • Surgery

Association of Child Life Professionals application deadlines (Check for specific dates):

Fall semester (August to December)


Spring semester (January to May)



To be considered for an internship with Norton Children’s Hospital, Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital and Norton Children’s Medical Center, all students must meet the prerequisites and submit the following documents:

  1. Internship Readiness Common Application (
  2. Verification of enrollment in a college/university throughout internship

Students also may be asked to submit additional information if selected for an interview. 

For questions, contact Heather Stohr, M.S., CCLS, manager of child life and expressive therapies, at