Child Life Department Practicum Program

The Child Life Practicum Application (PDF) form or correspondence to the Child Life Department at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC should be addressed to:

Child Life Practicum Coordinator
Child Life Department
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224


Child life student practicum placements are assigned according to the three-semester calendar cycle. Application forms for each semester must be received in accordance with the Child Life Council’s recommended internship application and offer dates:

Fall: March 15
Winter/Spring: September 5
Summer: January 5

Students will receive notification about interview scheduling and placement possibilities before the following offer deadlines:

Fall: Second Tuesday of May
Winter/Spring: Second Tuesday in October
Summer: Second Tuesday in February

Students will give written notification to Children's Hospital's Child Life Department by:

Fall: Following Wednesday
Winter/Spring: Following Wednesday
Summer: Following Wednesday


Practicums are offered to currently enrolled minimum bachelor’s-level (junior status) students each semester whose interests are in child life, child development, or related fields.

The design of the practicum is based on the standards of practice set forth by the Child Life Council. The practicum seeks to provide students with the opportunity to become more familiar with the basics of a child life program as well as learning to interact with hospitalized children and their families.


Students are assigned to placements where they will be supervised by a certified child life specialist. Weekly supervision meetings are mandatory, as is attendance at lectures, seminars, conferences, and meetings relevant to the practicum.


Placements are typically based on university hours/credit requirements. Hours will vary. Typical placements will be a total of 16 hours per week over 16 weeks. Two full 8 hours days during daylight times are required. Students must complete a minimum of 224 hrs.

Housing, Parking, and Meals

Students are responsible for making their own arrangements for housing and meals. For your convenience, a refrigerator and microwave may be available to you. The hospital complex and surrounding area offer many possibilities for meals. Parking can be provided at zero cost to the student, if needed.

Contact Us

For questions regarding the practicum program please contact program coordinator Alanna Kanawalsky:

 Alanna Kanawalsky, MS, CCLS
(412) 692-6364