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Child Life Specialist

The Child Life Program is not accepting internship applications for the Fall 2014 semester.  If you have any questions, contact Rachel Alley at 413-794-3145.

Career Description

Child Life Specialists are traditionally employed in a hospital setting to help children understand medical procedures and diagnoses, and offer psychological and emotional support to them and their families. Using play and other forms of communication, a Child Life Specialist seeks to reduce the stress and anxiety associated with health care experiences, thus helping children and their families to cope in a positive manner. 


The Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) credentialing program is a rigorous, examination-based professional certification process.  CCLS's have earned a Bachelor's or a Master's degree, with courses that include child life, human growth and development, psychology, and counseling.  Ten college level courses must be accepted by the Child Life Council and a 480 internship supervised by a Certified Child Life Specialist with 1000 hours work experience must be completed.  With the Child Life Council accepted coursework and completion of the internship, the student may sit for the certification exam.


Applicants should be juniors, seniors, or graduate students.  Prior to the clinical internship applicants should have experience with children and families with healthcare issues, preferably in a hospital setting.  Students should have academic courses in the appropriate areas, in particular child life specific courses.  Students are not required to be currently enrolled in an academic program so some applicants may have already graduated.  

Length of Clinical Experience

Students in the child life internship program generally will need to complete 480 clinical hours.  A minimum of 275 hours will be acceptable and other extended lengths are negotiable.  Internships are approximately 15 weeks in length running fall and spring semesters.  Students must stay until the end of the semester regardless of when they complete the agreed upon hours.

Clinical Tracks at BMC

Child life students will rotate through each of the areas supported by a Baystate Children's Hospital CCLS - inpatient (infants/toddlers, school-age, adolescent), radiology, daystay surgery, emergency dept., special procedure area (bronchoscopy, endoscopy, and colonoscopy), and hematology/oncology.  There will also be academic assignments to supplement the student's learning experience.

Institutional Affiliations

BMC is affiliated with the following institution/s for this program: 

Professional Associations and other information

  • The program is currently following the Child Life Council's recommended application and offering dates.  Please refer to their website for this information.