The Intermountain Child Life Practicum is an observational experience offered through Utah’s premier healthcare system. The practicum helps the student to become more familiar with the discipline of child life by providing opportunities to learn about children’s reactions to hospitalization, encouraging the development of observation skills with individuals and groups, providing a supportive environment to integrate theory into clinical practice, enhancing the student’s experience with planning activities and helping to develop professional communication skills.

Child Life Services are provided at seven hospitals with a free-standing children hospital and six community hospitals. The practicum program is offered as an 8-hour per week, one semester practicum, totaling 120 hours. This is a non-paid practicum that prepares students for a child life internship.

Goals and Objectives

  • To become more familiar with the child life profession.
  • To integrate theory and research into practice.
  • To understand the value of play in the health care setting and increase the student’s skills in facilitating therapeutic play through planning group and individual activities.
  • To recognize the developmental, psychosocial, and medical needs of patients and families and how those needs are incorporated into goals./li>
  • To recognize and understand patient’s and family’s reactions to stress, illness, and pain.
  • To develop communication skills with patients, families, and other health care professionals.
  • To recognize the importance of working with the interdisciplinary team.
  • To continue to develop professional maturity, judgment and attitude.
  • To set goals and evaluate performance.


  • Current enrollment as a student at a college or university.
  • Successful completion of a minimum of 15-hours of course work in areas relating to child life (ie; child development, family studies) with at least a B- in each class.
  • 50 documented hours of experience working with children and families, preferably in a hospital or healthcare environment (as a student, volunteer, or employee).
  • Cumulative grade point average of 3.0 of higher.

Application Requirements

  • Completed Application Face Sheet, Application & Questionnaire
  • Unofficial transcript(s) verifying enrollment/completion of required coursework and from ALL post-high school institutions
  • Two letters of recommendation. These need to be from direct supervisors, or other professionals who have first-hand knowledge of your work with children and families. Each letter needs to be printed on professional letterhead, enclosed in a sealed envelope, and signed by the author across the back flap.
  • A professional resume
  • Verification of 50 hours worked with children and families. Your hours need to be printed on professional letterhead and signed by a direct supervisor.

Application Process

Applications must be postmarked by the ACLP internship recommended deadline. Check the Association of Child Life Professions Internship Deadlines web page for current internship deadlines dates. At this time, Intermountain does not offer a Summer practicum.

Download an Application >

Each application is evaluated according to five components:

  1. Previous Coursework
  2. Academic performance & GPA
  3. Professional recommendations
  4. Quality of application responses
  5. Quality and amount of volunteer and/or paid experience.

Students will be notified about practicum decisions according to the dates established by the ACLP. Invitation for an interview does not guarantee acceptance into the Intermountain Child Life practicum. Incomplete applications will not be considered for the practicum. Telepresence interview will be set-up for students who are outside of the local area. All completed application materials must be mailed together in one packet to:

Primary Children's Hospital
Child Life Practicum Program
Family Support Services Department
Attn: Sheri Bothell
100 North Mario Capecchi Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84113-1103

Late or incomplete application packets will not be reviewed. All applications must be post marked by the application deadline and received within 5 days of the deadline. Once received, all applications will be thoroughly reviewed. Those individuals who qualify for an interview will be contacted by phone. To ensure the most positive and productive practicum experience for all, the Child Life team will evaluate, select, and place only those students who exemplify the philosophy and goals of the Child Life Program at Intermountain Healthcare.

Those applicants who do not meet the requirements will be contacted by email. All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply to other sites, as spaces are limited.

Being invited for an interview does not guarantee acceptance to the practicum program. If applicants are not local, then interviews will be completed via phone or video conferencing.

Please call Sheri Bothell at 801-662-3983 with any questions regarding our practicum program or your application.