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Child Life Specialist Practicum (Minnesota)

A child life specialist works with a pediatric patient at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Program overview

Program length: Minimum of 120 hours between the months of May-August
Class size: 2 students
Location: Rochester, Minnesota

The Child Life Specialist Practicum at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, is an introductory experience for individuals interested in pursuing a career as a child life specialist.

Through experiential learning and observation of certified child life specialists, you will begin to increase your knowledge of evidence-based, developmentally-appropriate interventions to reduce fear and anxiety for infants, children, youth, and families as they cope with the stress and uncertainty of illness, injury, and treatment. Through these experiences, you will enhance your knowledge of the child life profession and investigate the process of applying child life and developmental theory to practice.

Schedule and hours

As a child life practicum student, your schedule will mirror the schedule of your assigned Certified Child Life Specialist. Hours assigned could be daytime, evening, weekday, or weekend shifts. Hours will be determined with acceptance to the child life practicum program. Orientation and completion of institutional required policies will be completed prior to the 120 hour practicum experience.

The program is completed within the months of May through August. Two scheduling options will be available:

  • Option A: Three weeks, 40 hours/week (120 hours)
  • Option B: Fifteen weeks, 8 hours/week (120 hours)

Application process

Application deadlineOffer dateApplication
March 1, 2021  March 31, 2021  Child Life Practicum Application 


To be eligible for the practicum, you must be at least a junior in college or have completed a bachelor's or master's degree with a major in:

  • Child life
  • Child development
  • Human growth and development
  • Child psychology
  • Other related fields

Applicants must have minimum of 50 hours of experience with infants, children, youth, and/or families.

Applicants must have a minimum of 50 hours of experience with infants, children, youth, and/or families in stressful situations, health care settings, and/or programs designed for children with special needs.

How to apply

Your application and all supporting documentation must be postmarked by March 1.

A completed Child Life Practicum application includes:

  • Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences Child Life Practicum Application
  • Unofficial transcripts from all attended institutions
    • Official transcripts will be required upon acceptance
  • Documentation of experience
    • Minimum of 50 hours of experience with well infants, children, youth, and/or families
    • Minimum of 50 hours of experience with infants, children, youth, and/or families in stressful situations, health care settings, and/or programs designed for children with special needs
  • Cover letter and resume

Send your completed application packet to:

Paula Hampel, CCLS
Child Life Practicum Coordinator
Francis 3C-116
200 First St. SW
Rochester, MN 55905

To confirm receipt of application materials, send your submissions via certified U.S. mail, FedEx, or UPS, all of which provide tracking options.


As instructed by the Association of Child Life Professionals, the child life practicum experience will be a largely observational experience with child life practicum students beginning to engage in independent play and developmentally supportive interventions with infants, children, youth, and families as deemed appropriate by the supervising CCLS. 

Learning assignments include:

  • Reflective journaling
  • Educational in-services and discussions
  • Specific structured readings
  • Personal philosophy of child life statement
  • Additional assignments focused on individual learning needs may be assigned

The child life practicum includes observation opportunities for you to explore the following theory and interventions related to child life practice: child life assessments, developmental theory integration, therapeutic play interventions, rapport building, procedural preparation, and introducing positive coping techniques.

Explore health care careers

Learn more about the role of a child life specialist.

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