Frequently Asked Questions About Volunteering at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

General Volunteer Information

How old do you have to be to volunteer?

All volunteers in the Hospital Volunteer Program must be 18 years of age.

Our Teen Volunteer Program accepts applicants ages 15 to 17.

How can I become a volunteer at UPMC Children's Hospital?

Our application information includes:

  • What to consider prior to beginning the application process.
  • Specific steps for completing the application.
  • Dates applications will be accepted for the different categories of volunteers. Due to the volume of applications that are received, the Volunteer Services Office will be actively accepting applications only during the time periods listed.

Are applications available online?

Yes.

Apply to volunteer at UPMC Children's »

Note: The link is only available during open enrollment periods.

If a program is not currently accepting volunteers, can I be put on a wait list?

Due to a high interest from our community and large volume of volunteer applications we receive, we are not able to wait list prospective volunteers at this time.

We review volunteer assignments and programs regularly to:

  • Monitor openings.
  • Check availability of applicants.
  • Screen applications for best fit.

Due to the volume of applications we receive, we remove all applications from our system every four months.

I have a group that wants to volunteer for a day of service at the hospital, how can we go about scheduling this?

At this time we are able to accommodate a very limited amount of group requests.

If you are interested in bringing a small group to UPMC Children’s, please notify us by email, chpvolunteer@chp.edu.

Consistent support for our Hospital Volunteer Program volunteers best meets the needs of the hospital and the needs of our patients and families.

What types of activities would I do as a volunteer?

The focus of the Volunteer Services at UPMC Children's is supporting and nurturing children and families. Volunteers provide valuable support to many areas of the hospital.

Volunteer assignments are classified into five areas including:

  • Direct work with children.
  • Family support.
  • Technical and specialized positions.
  • Hospitality.
  • Office and clerical positions.

These duties include:

  • Helping children with crafts.
  • Greeting families in the waiting areas and serving as an information resource.
  • Assisting with administrative tasks.
  • Escorting patients to special events.
  • Distributing informational and recreational materials to patients and families.

Learn more about the volunteer opportunities available »

Can I hold babies? Is there a baby-rocking program for volunteers?

We do not offer a baby-rocking program however volunteers, under the supervision of our Child Life staff, interact with children of all age groups, including infants.

Other UPMC locations offer opportunities to interact with infants, but applicants are usually placed on a long waiting list. Learn more about the Cuddler Program.

Can I select which unit and hours I choose to volunteer?

Volunteer assignments and hours will be discussed during your personal interview.

We will work with you to match the needs of our patients, families, and staff to your:

  • Individual interests
  • Working style
  • Talents and skills
  • Scheduling availability

Note: Teens with relatives that work at UPMC Children’s are generally not placed in the same area for their volunteer assignment.

What perks do volunteers enjoy at UPMC Children's?

There are many benefits of volunteering at UPMC Children’s including complimentary meal tickets and an invitation to our annual recognition event.

View a complete list of volunteer perks.

Will I have an opportunity to interact with hospital professionals and pursue my interests in a health care career?

Although volunteers work closely with many members of our medical and support teams, our volunteers are focused on meeting the needs of patients and families during their volunteer experience.

If you are interested in a health care career, volunteering will allow you to gain insight to the hospital environment and supporting the needs of patients and families.

Volunteering at UPMC Children's will not, however, provide any job shadowing or clinical experiences. Those opportunities, if available, are coordinated directly by the hospital department. Additionally, the Volunteer Service Department can provide a letter verifying volunteer hours of service.

Learn more about Youth and Student Volunteer Opportunities at UPMC »

I've been instructed to do court-ordered community service. Can I complete these volunteer hours at UPMC Children's?

No. We do not offer volunteer opportunities for court-ordered service at UPMC Children’s.

How can I receive additional information?

For more information or to request a volunteer application packet via mail, contact the Volunteer Services Department at 412-692-5185 or chpvolunteer@chp.edu.

Experience and Requirements for Volunteering

What time commitment is required of volunteers?

Adult candidates will be asked to commit to a minimum of one shift (usually 3-4 hours) per week, with an initial commitment period of 6 to 12 months (one year).

Is prior hospital experience, special training, or education necessary?

While prior hospital experience is always useful, it is not required.

In addition, essential skills include:

  • Professional communication skills
  • Reliability
  • Responsibility
  • Flexibility
  • Ability to work in a team and with a diverse group of people
  • Punctuality

I'm a college student and can't make the year-round commitment of 3-4 hours of service a week. Am I still able to volunteer?

Yes!

College students are a valuable part of our volunteer force and we have created distinct schedules to specifically meet the needs of college students.

Learn more about the College Students Volunteer Program »

I have a full-time weekday job. Can I volunteer outside my workday commitments? Are there evening or weekend volunteering opportunities?

Yes.

UPMC Children’s has evening and weekend volunteer opportunities for individuals who work full-time during the day.

Please note these opportunities are very popular and frequently have limited openings available.

What happens if I can't make it into the hospital on any given day?

Volunteers are asked to notify both their assignment supervisor and the Volunteer Services Office on days they are unable to be in attendance.

What is required to become a volunteer candidate and be brought in for an interview with a volunteer coordinator?

  1. Complete a pre-application assessment survey, which can be found on the application page
  2. Please send documentation of all required background checks IN ONE COMPLETE PACKET via email to chpvolunteer@chp.edu with Subject Line that reads: Volunteer Applicant Clearances Packet or send by mail to: Volunteer Services Department, UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, 4401 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224

Please note: you must score an 80% or higher in answering the required questions in the assessment, provide two non-relatives references in the survey and must turn in one packet with all required updated background clearances (PA Act 31, PA Act 33, PA Act 34 and for those who haven't lived in PA for the past 10 years, PA Act 73) to be invited for next steps including an interview with a volunteer coordinator. For more details and information with links to complete updated background clearances, please review the Form Requirements drop down box on this page.

What are the immunization requirements to volunteer?

Submit appropriate health and immunization screening documents by email or drop off at the Welcome/Information Center. We require the following immunizations:

  • Tuberculosis (TB) – What kind of TB test will be accepted?  All new volunteers must provide us with documentation of one of the following to satisfy the TB requirement:
    • A Quantiferon Gold Blood Test – One time, available and administered by UPMC Children's or UPMC MyHealth@Work Center.
    • PPD Skin 2-Step Skin Test – Two separate shot/placements (no less than 21 days apart) and have arm read each time by a certified medical professional within 48 to 72 hours (2 to 3 days). This is essentially a four-step process.
    • Documentation of chest x-ray 
  • Tdap – Must be from within the past 10 years.
  • Flu Shot – When you volunteer between December 1 to March 30, getting a flu shot is required.

Note: Immunizations can be completed at UPMC Children’s at no additional cost. We will provide more information if you are selected for an interview.

What are the additional required steps for becoming a volunteer after I have completed an interview?

  • Complete and turn in updated documentation for required immunizations (TB, Tdap, and between October - April: Flu Shot)
  • Be willing to make a scheduled commitment.
  • Attend an orientation session (which are hosted monthly) prior to beginning your volunteer experience.
  • Additional orientation and education for your particular assignment and area of the hospital once you begin.

Information about the Teen Volunteer Program

Are teen volunteers accepted?

Teens, ages 15 to 17, are invited to apply for the summer program beginning in March.

This program has become extremely popular and spots fill up fast! Application packets are made available online in early March and we encourage applying as soon as the applications are posted.

Learn more about the Teen Volunteer Program »

Download the Teen Volunteer Program Frequently Asked Questions (PDF).

I need to fulfill community service hours for my school, how many hours do I need to commit to as a volunteer at UPMC Children's or can I simply meet my school's requirements?

Teen Volunteer Program volunteers will be asked to commit a minimum of 35 to 40 hours of service during each summer in the program.

Can my 13- or 14-year-old child volunteer to help patients at UPMC Children’s? My child is mature and would benefit greatly from the experience.

Due to a variety of reasons, children under the age of 15 are not permitted to participate in our Volunteer Program or come for same day visits with patients.

When they turn 15, they will be eligible to participate in the Teen Volunteer Program.

I am working on my senior project. Can I complete my project at UPMC Children's?

Unfortunately, we do not facilitate individual opportunities for volunteering at the hospital outside of our established volunteer programs.

However, we encourage students to complete Service Projects in the community which can benefit the patients and families of UPMC Children’s.

Contact UPMC Children's Volunteer Services

To learn more about Volunteer Services at UPMC Children's, call 412-692-5185 or email chpvolunteer@chp.edu.

Learn more about all UPMC Volunteer Services »