Child Life Professional Opportunities

Our child life program is pleased to offer both child life practicum and child life 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.

Our summer and fall student programs have been put on hold. Practicum and internship programs will begin again in Spring 2021.

Child Life Practicum

Our 120 hour practicum is offered in the winter (January to March) and fall (September to November) semesters. The practicum is essentially an intensive job shadow experience mixed with additional volunteer responsibilities. It includes observational opportunities in at least two areas of the hospital where students observe child life specialists at work. The practicum also includes time spent in the playroom setting, interacting with patients and families, and assisting the child life staff with various tasks. Students completing a child life practicum at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital are not eligible to apply for an internship at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital. Students are required to have at least 50 hours of volunteer experience in order 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 two interns a placement each winter (January to May) and fall (September to December) semester. The 16 weeks are composed of two six 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 in order 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, in order to prepare interns for a career as a child life specialist. The internship is a full-time experience (40 hours a week) and requires completion of a child life practicum at a different hospital prior to applying for the internship. Please see the internship application to the right for further requirements.

Child Life Student Volunteer

We offer a 10 to 16 week child life student volunteer opportunity. Opportunities are available for winter rotations (January to April), spring rotations (May to August) and fall rotations (September to December). The student volunteer will be scheduled for one eight hour day each week. Students work with patients and assist with needs on several different units. Student volunteers will have much independence while they are volunteering and are encouraged to get the most out of their time. They will be paired up with a child life specialist who will act as their mentor, allowing the them 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.

Important Program Information

  • Applicants must be interested in the profession and have a desire of later pursing our child life practicum and internship opportunities
  • Completion of a volunteer experience does not guarantee placement in our practicum and/or internship opportunities
  • The child life student volunteer experience does not take the place of a child life practicum experience
  • Student volunteers are expected to fulfill a 10 to 16 week commitment, volunteering one day per week
  • Available days/times are:
    - Monday to Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    - Saturday or Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.


  • Our student volunteer opportunities are open to interested child life students pursuing certification as a child life specialist
  • Candidates must be referred by an adviser or professor

Referral Deadlines

  • Winter and spring rotations: November 1
  • Summer rotation: March 1