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 10-week period.

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 Child Life interventions. They will also have the opportunity to plan, coordinate and facilitate group activities, as well as engage patients in activities at the bedside. 


  • At least one course in child development.
  • 75 hrs 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. Preferences may be given to in-state applications​.

*Our child life practicum programming follows the recommendations for child life practicums set by the Child Life Council. 

How is the practicum being affected by the coronavirus/COVID-19?

The novel coronavirus/COVID-19 has impacted student and volunteer programs and Child Life at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. This could have a potential impact on our ability to offer the practicum program in the Summer of 2020. 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:

Valerie Chance, CCLS
Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital
Child Life Department
PO BOX 5299  
MS: 315-M6-CFL
Tacoma, WA 98415-0299

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Practicum Program

Can I Apply Early?

Yes.  However, please note that applications will not be reviewed until April 14th.

Do You Offer Housing and/or Transportation to the Hospital?

No. Students are encouraged to make their own arrangements ahead of time.  Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital is located on the city bus line. 

Are the Start and Stop Dates of the Practicum Set in Stone?

No. We are committed to working with students that have varied school and work schedules.  Our goal is to start mid-June and run for approximately 10 weeks.   

Is it a Paid Practicum?


Does Mary Bridge Offer Other Practicums throughout the year?

No, unfortunately we only offer a summer practicum program at this time. 

Do You Need to be in College to Apply?

No. To apply to the Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital Child Life Practicum Program, you do not need to be affiliated with a college or University.

Still Have Questions?

Feel free to contact Valerie Chance at 253-403-7243, or [email protected]