Professional opportunities to become a Certified Child Life Specialist

The Helen DeVos Children's Hospital Child and Family Life team is pleased to offer child life university student, practicum and internship opportunities. We strive to offer students a wide variety of experiences within the hospital setting as well as a solid understanding of the child life profession. We accept students with or without a college affiliation.

Child life practicum

Our 120-hour practicum is offered in the summer (May to August), fall (September to December) and winter (January to May). The practicum is essentially an intensive job shadow experience mixed with a child life curriculum and additional student responsibilities. It includes observational opportunities in departments of the hospital where students observe child life specialists at work. Students are required to have at least 50 hours of volunteer experience to apply for the practicum. Please see the practicum application to the right for further requirements.

Child life internship

Our program follows the guidance of the Association of Child Life Professionals offering a 600 hour (16-week) internship. We offer up to three interns a placement each winter (January to May), summer (May to August), and fall (September to December) semester. The 16 weeks are composed of two 6-week rotations. Interns will gain an in-depth understanding of inpatient and outpatient settings, which will allow the intern to finish their internship with a strong foundation to become an independent child life specialist. Interns will begin with a week of thorough orientation and curriculum study, while also becoming familiar with our hospital setting. Interns will have two weeks to choose interdepartmental observations to see all that our child life team has to offer patients and families in areas that are not part of their two rotations.

We provide a well-rounded curriculum, including child life module readings, written assignments, in-services, hands-on instruction, and experience, to prepare interns for a career as a child life specialist. The internship is a full-time experience (40 hours a week) including weekends and requires completion of a child life practicum prior to applying for the internship. Please see the internship application to the right for further requirements.

Child life internship diversity, equity and inclusion scholarship

Spectrum Health is committed to cultivating a diverse workforce that fosters an inclusive culture. In past years, our commitments to national and regional initiatives have brought diversity, equity and inclusion strategies to the forefront. Commitments to the American Hospital Association’s 1, 2, 3 for Equity Pledge and the Talent 2025 Initiative have made reflecting our community in all roles and leadership a priority for our talent acquisition strategies. In support of these commitments, we are pleased to offer a child Life intern diversity, equity and inclusion scholarship to two child life interns each semester at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. See below for further requirements.

Child life phase one student

Our program offers a 10 week to 16 week child life student opportunity for university affiliated child life students. We offer phase one student opportunities in the winter (January to April), summer (May to August), and fall (September to December). The phase one student will be scheduled for one, 8-hour day each week. Students work with patients and assist with needs on several different units. These students have a lot of independence while they are enrolled in our program, and we encourage them to get the most out of their time here. The students will also be paired up with a child life specialist who will act as their mentor, allowing the student to be able to seek advice on a variety of topics related to the child life profession. We are seeking students that are actively pursuing a future career as a certified child life specialist, are independent, and reliable. Important program information:

  • Students applying for the child life phase one student opportunity must be seriously interested in the profession with the intention of pursing a child life practicum and internship.
  • Students who complete 120 hours as a child life phase one student at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital are not guaranteed a child life practicum or internship placement.
  • The child life phase one student experience does not take the place of a child life practicum experience.


Our phase one student opportunity is open to interested child life students pursuing certification as a child life specialist. Candidates must be referred by an advisor or professor. Please see attached referral form.

Placement includes

  • 16 weeks commitment (1 day per week)
    • 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Monday to Friday)
    • 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Saturday to Sunday)

Referral dates and deadlines

Winter phase one student opportunity: January to April

  • Referral deadline: November 1

Applications and referral forms