Child Life Internship Program

Child life therapists at Kosair Children’s Hospital, Kosair Children’s Medical Center – Brownsboro and Norton Suburban Hospital, future home of Norton Women’s and Kosair Children’s Hospital, offer a minimum 540-hour child life internship experience. Each fall and winter/spring, Kosair Children’s Hospital (downtown Louisville) accepts one intern for its facility and one intern between Kosair Children’s Medical Center – Brownsboro and Norton Suburban Hospital.

Interns may apply by reviewing the internship requirements below and submitting an application, résumé and letters of recommendation by the application deadlines. A single application will be considered for all three locations.

Call with questions regarding internship opportunities:

  • Kosair Children's Hospital - Missy Drake, M.Ed., CCLS, coordinator, (502) 629-4519
  • Norton Suburban Hospital - Heather Stohr, M.S., CCLS, (502) 899-6993

Internship application criteria

Before applying for an internship with the Child Life Program, please review the following criteria:

  • Students must be working toward a degree in child life, child development, psychology, early childhood education or a related field.
  • Students must be in or beyond their senior year in college and must be affiliated with a college or university. 
  • Students must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 and As and Bs earned in all relevant child life coursework.
  • Students must have a minimum 75 hours of experience working/volunteering with hospitalized children. The 75-hour pediatric hospital experience must be started before interviewing for the internship and completed before internship begins.
  • Students must provide three letters of recommendation, with at least one from their direct supervisor in a health care setting.
  • Students must be working toward child life certification by the child life certifying committee.  Check the Child Life Council website to review certification guidelines and coursework.
  • Coursework related to hospitalized children is preferred.
  • Three core child life texts must be read before the internship begins. It’s recommended that textbooks be read prior to interviewing for the internship. Two of the three texts must be:
    1. ChildLifein Hospitals: Theory and Practice” by Richard H. Thompson 
    2. Psychosocial Careof Children in Hospitals: A Clinical Practice Manual from the ACCH Child Life Research Project by Laura Gaynard, et al.
    The third text may be any approved resource listed on the Child Life Council website.


During the internship, the intern will:

  • Work 14 weeks (540 hours minimum), full time (Monday through Friday, 40 hours per week) with possible weekends; no holidays are required
  • Have written goals and objectives for the field experience
  • Meet weekly with the intern supervisor
  • Complete and present a special project
  • Participate in weekly in-services
  • Write an abstract on a chosen article from each rotation
  • Participate in a mid-term and final evaluation process
  • Keep daily journals to be turned in weekly
  • Complete a health screening
  • Visit and write an evaluation of another off-site child life program
  • Complete six chart notes and submit them to the child life supervisor
  • Supervise volunteers
  • Complete and present a case study
  • Possible rotations include:
    • antepartum
    • adult intensive care unit
    • adult oncology
    • emergency
    • general pediatrics
    • hematology/oncology/renal
    • infant care
    • labor and delivery
    • medical/surgical
    • neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
    • outpatient medical observation
    • outpatient services
    • pediatric intensive care
    • radiology
    • surgery
  • Assume responsibility for equipment and materials
  • Be independent, flexible and creative

Child life internship in-service topics

  • Development of the child life profession
  • Lifespan development: Applying theory to practice
  • Patient- and family-centered care
  • Communication
  • Assessment: Developing a plan of care
  • Play
  • Medical/health care play
  • Therapeutic play and coping
  • Coping with pain and distress
  • Psychological preparation
  • Documentation
  • Palliative and end-of-life care
  • Administration
  • Professional development

Child life internship deadlines


Application deadline


May 5


Sept. 5


Print and complete the application form (pdf), return it with a copy of your résumé and three letters of recommendation to:

Kosair Children’s Hospital
Child Life and Expressive Therapy Department
Attn: Internship Coordinator
231 E. Chestnut St., N-38
Louisville, KY 40202

A professional résumé and letters of recommendation must be received in conjunction with this application.
A child life therapist will notify all applicants with the status of their application once received.