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)

Application & Interview Process

Our application has moved to an online submission portal. Please upload the following:

  • Completed Practicum Application form (including essay responses in same document)
  • Resume
  • Letter of recommendation
    • If your reference prefers to send letters directly to our program, please have them email letters to [email protected], with your name in the subject line.

Submit Your Application

Interviews are held over video conferencing or via phone call. In-person interviews are not required.

Application Deadline - Summer: April 2 at 11:59 pm. 

At this time we are only offering a summer practicum. All applications must be submitted online by the stated deadline. Preference may be given to in-state applications. 

The practicum program will run June 5 – July 21, 2023, with students completing on-site shadowing on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. There will be no scheduled on-site shadowing during the week of July 4.

How is the practicum being affected by COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic has previously impacted student and volunteer programs at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. We do not anticipate any interruptions to student programming but acknowledge that adjustments may be made as needed. In accordance with MultiCare staff and volunteer standards, practicum students must be fully immunized against COVID-19, and wear a mask and eye protection while at the hospital. 

Still Have Questions?

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