Child Life Internship Opportunities

Dear Applicant,

Thank you for your interest in our program. A child life internship marks a very poignant beginning in every specialist’s professional journey. This packet is designed to outline the internship experience offered at St Jude, our application process, as well as to share additional information about our program. We encourage you to seek this information from several institutions so that you are choosing a program that best suits your individual educational needs and child life philosophy.

Our program offers a 16 week long child life internship twice a year; fall and spring sessions. To maximize the full spectrum of child life services attained, there are two clinical rotations as well as 2-5 weekly educational seminars. This fielded experience paired with related curriculum provides interns with deep insight and gained understanding into the needs of families coping with chronic illness and the valuable role of child life in their healthcare team.

This program is intended for college seniors, master’s degree students, or college graduates with backgrounds and experience in child development, education, psychology, or related fields. Our goal is to provide interns with opportunities to build independence in developing thorough assessments, providing appropriate interventions, and creating unique programming. Interns are trained and supervised on individual rotations by experienced and certified child life specialists. There is also an intern committee which serves as a consistent resource and aids in the transition process as interns become integral members of our team. Attached is the mission of our institution and program, eligibility requirements, and application process details.

Again thank you for your interest in our program. Best wishes to you as you begin this time of deliberation and meaningful step in your career.



The Child Life Internship Committee
St Jude Children’s Research Hospital

St Jude Children's Research Hospital’s Child Life Program

Our Philosophy
We are a program that is dedicated to developing creative and innovative approaches in supporting and advocating for children and families in an effort to minimize the psychological trauma of life threatening illnesses. Therapeutic play, education, preparation, and legacy building are instrumental in our daily goals to promote normal development, self expression, peer interaction, family centered care, a sense of mastery, and developed coping.

Interns are seen as helping us to fulfill this mission side by side while caring for our St. Jude patients. Our philosophy continues as job entry specialists leave our program and begin their own careers continuing to support children as experienced, knowledgeable, and confident professionals.

Our History
Child life was instituted at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in 1994 resulting from the research seen widely in the medical community of the benefits of children’s coping with stressful experiences through play. In 1998 developing a child life program became an institutional objective which included national managerial recruitment. Today, child life at St Jude Children's Research Hospital is an integral part of the medical team and is visible in every clinical arena from patient care to institutional program development. We currently have fifteen full time specialists and continue to grow.

Our Internship Experience
We believe strongly in balancing both “hands on” child life experience coupled with essential educational components. Each intern will have two long rotations 6-7 weeks in an inpatient and outpatient setting enduring 16 weeks (640 hours). The internship is neither paid nor does it require payment beyond the intern’s own living expenses. Hours are generally Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm with a few opportunities for nights and weekends.


Possible Rotations:

Bone Marrow Transplant
Solid Tumor/Brain Tumor Inpatient
Leukemia Inpatient

Radiation Oncology
Solid Tumor Clinic
Leukemia Clinic
Brain Tumor Clinic
Solid Tumor/Brain Tumor Teens Outpatient
Leukemia/ Bone Marrow Clinic Teens
Diagnostic Imaging
Hematology/ Infectious Disease clinics
Procedures/ Surgery clinics

Education Seminar Samples:

There are two-five weekly education seminars presented by staff for interns as well as weekly discussion/ wrap up meetings for peer support development. Seminars are given throughout the internship on over 45 subjects from the child life perspective. Here are some sample seminar topics:

Child developmental theory and impact of hospitalization
Diagnostic teaching
Child life Assessment
Therapeutic Interventions
Implementing a play group
Expressive Art
Medical Play
Sibling support
Legacy Building
Body Image
Death and Dying
Event planning
Job hunting


Academic Background
Senior in college or completed bachelor’s or master’s degree.
Applicants with high academic achievement will have priority.

Suggested Majors

Confirmation of classes taken approved by the Child Life Council ( through the Course Work Review. Due to examinations application deadlines, no reviews will be done during the following months: March, April, August, and September.

Required Experience

Involvement with healthy children (work/volunteer)
Child life practicum (100 hours) supervised by a child life specialist in a hospital setting

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an intern to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the intern is regularly required to stand; walk; sit; kneel, use hands to finger, handle, or feel; and talk or hear. The intern must be able to travel frequently between two hospital buildings as well as outpatient clinics and inpatient units throughout them. The intern will accompany patients to diagnostic imaging (MRI, ultrasound, CT etc), procedures, and surgeries and need to provide support throughout the duration of them. Interns must be able to maintain supervision and lead an activity for up to twenty patients while ensuring their safety at all times. The interns must frequently lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, depth perception, and ability to adjust focus.

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently exposed to infectious agents, body fluids, secretions, blood products, and cytotoxic agents. Occasional exposure to radiation and waste anesthetic gases. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate. Ability to work in covert stressful conditions

Application process

Only completed entries will be reviewed:

Please send completed application packets to:

Child Life Department
Attention: Internship Committee
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
MS 121, Room B2095
262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN  38105-3678  USA

Phone: (901) 595-3020
FAX: (901) 595-2690

Internship Schedule and Deadlines

Internship Session Application Deadlines Offer Deadlines Acceptance Deadlines
Fall May 5 2nd Tuesday in June 2nd Wednesday in June
Winter/Spring September 5 2nd Tuesday in October 2nd Wednesday in October