Practicum - Child Life Services

Learn More About Becoming a Child Life Specialist

At Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, our Child Life Specialists provide services throughout the entire hospital including: Emergency Department, Surgery, Inpatient Medical/Surgical, PICU, Radiology and outpatient specialty clinics. In the child life practicum, individuals will complete 120 hours during a 6-week period, roughly amounting to 20 hours/week in the clinical setting. Our practicum program follows recommendations set forth by the Association of Child Life Professionals. 

A Practicum in Child Life Will:

  • Orient individuals to the profession
  • Familiarize individuals with the hospital environment
  • Provide individuals with the opportunity to apply play and child development theories

Those in the program will receive the opportunity to shadow Child Life Specialists during clinical interventions. They will also help to plan, coordinate and facilitate therapeutic play activities, as well as engage patients in activities at bedside. 


  • At least one course in child development (child life course preferred)
  • 75 hours mandatory experience in-hospital or with medically fragile children (volunteer or otherwise).
  • Purchase "The Handbook of Child Life," by Richard Thompson (ISBN: 978-039807834)

Along with the Child Life Practicum Application, please include:

  • Resume
  • At least one letter of recommendation

Application Deadlines - Summer: April 14th. At this time we are only offering a summer practicum. All applications must be postmarked by the stated deadline. Preference may be given to in-state applications.

How is the practicum being affected by COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted student and volunteer programs at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. This could have a potential impact on our ability to offer the practicum program in the Summer of 2021. At this point we are still accepting and processing applications and we will reach out individually if the situation changes. 

Please Return Completed Applications to:

Bari Bates & Katie Dahlquist 
Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital
Child Life Department
PO BOX 5299  
MS: 315-M6-CFL
Tacoma, WA 98415-0299

Still Have Questions?

Feel free to contact Bari Bates at 253-403-1648, or [email protected]