Close Get Latest Internet Explorer Get Latest Firefox Get Latest Chrome

Inova Child Life's Practicum Program

Thank you for your interest in the Child Life Department’s Practicum Program at Inova Children’s Hospital. Our practicum is designed as a 120 hour pre-internship experience for students who are looking to become more familiar with the role of child life in the hospital setting. Each practicum is structured so that students will complete a minimum of 10 hours per week for 12 weeks.

Students will be paired with Certified Child Life Specialists and will shadow and work independently with hospitalized children in at least 3 different units throughout Inova Children’s Hospital. These areas may include any of the following: Pediatric Medical/Surgical units, Hematology/Oncology, Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Department, Outpatient Radiology, Outpatient Surgery Center departments.

Students will be placed into rotations based on availability and demands on staff, student needs & shift availability. Practicum applicants must be enrolled in an accredited college or university while completing the practicum but do not have to receive credit for the practicum hours. For more information on the Child Life profession, please visit the Child Life Council’s website at

Entrance Requirements:

  • Enrollment in a college or university throughout the duration of the practicum experience.
  • Completion of 2 or more courses in child life or related areas (i.e. child or human development, family dynamics, psychology, counseling, sociology, expressive therapies).
  • Completion of sophomore standing in a Bachelor program at an accredited college or university with an interest in child life, child development, or related fields.
  • Minimum cumulative GPA: 2.75 (Since this is a lenient GPA requirement, no exceptions will be made.)
  • Preferred Requirement: Completion of at least 25 hours of volunteer experience with children in a hospitalized or “well” setting (i.e. summer camp, church group, play groups, etc.).

All interested applicants must submit ALL of the following completed materials to be considered for an interview as a practicum student:

  • Completed practicum application PDF
  • Two letters of recommendation (at least one must have directly observed your work with children in any setting)
  • Official or unofficial college or university transcript(s)
  • Current resume
  • Four personal and/or professional goals written bulleted format
  • Written essay (300 to 500 words) describing your personal philosophy of child life and how you hope this practicum will contribute to your professional goals

*All materials must be postmarked by the application deadline date to be considered for the practicum.

Please send COMPLETED application to:
Inova Children’s Hospital
Child Life Practicum Coordinators, Child Life Department
Cynthia DeFrancesco/Holly Senn
3300 Gallows Road
Falls Church, VA 22042

Once completed applications are reviewed the applicants will be notified of the status of their application. Applicants should retain a copy of their application materials for their records. Qualified applicants will be contacted to set up an interview with the child life practicum program coordinators and other staff from the child life department. The following schedule is followed as closely as possible.


 Offer Dates
for 2014

Dates for 2014

 Practicum Dates
 Winter/Spring  Friday,
 Monday, 1/12/2015 -
Friday, 4/3/2015


Housing, Parking & Meals:

Practicum students are not paid and will be required to make their own arrangements for housing. Parking is included with a hospital-issued ID badge. The badge will allow access to the Blue and Gray parking garages on the medical campus free of charge. There is a cafeteria and several cafés that offer many meal choices or students can bring a meal with them. Since students will be at the campus for a maximum of 5 hours, a 30 minute break will be given.

Additional Requirements:

Upon acceptance to the practicum program, the student will be required to sign a HIPAA form and confidentiality agreement, present immunization records, proof of negative TB test, proof of current flu vaccine, have a background check completed and purchase individual liability insurance. The details of each of these requirements will be reviewed with the student after acceptance of the practicum offer.

Should you have additional questions, please contact Cynthia DeFrancesco (703) 776-4134, or Holly Senn (703) 776-3968,