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Child Life Specialist Internship (Minnesota)

Note: This program is paused and not accepting applications. To ensure the highest quality training, changes are being made to the curriculum and other aspects of the program. The anticipated restart date for the program is fall 2017.

Program description

Mayo School of Health Sciences offers a 480-hour internship in child life at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota. This internship meets the requirements for those students who wish to become a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS).

Child life interns are given opportunities to apply their academic learning to patient care interactions and guided to refine skills in establishing professional relationships, patient assessments, preparing children for hospital procedures and facilitating coping skills.

At Mayo Clinic, you:

  • Work closely with experienced and skilled child life staff who give you personal one-on-one attention as you develop your own competence and style
  • Work with Mayo Clinic nurses, child life specialists, physicians, social workers, chaplains and other allied health professionals in an atmosphere of respect for each professional's role
  • Serve a large, diverse patient population with common and uncommon medical conditions

Patients are evaluated based on information from standard assessments, observations, medical records, and discussions with medical staff, family members and the patient. Child life specialists may instruct patients in relaxation techniques and other coping skills as they prepare for medical tests and procedures. Child life specialists also direct planned and spontaneous play activities with and for pediatric patients.

Child life specialists are members of the psychosocial team that supports patients and families as they navigate through stressful times. Additionally, specialists observe and document patients' participation, reactions and progress.


See accreditation information for Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.


The site for this internship is Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Campus, part of Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester. You will be on the pediatric units and have exposure to the emergency department and surgery.

Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, includes an extensive outpatient complex, Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, and substantial research and education facilities. Mayo Clinic, which also has campuses in Arizona and Florida, is among the largest, most advanced medical centers in the world.

Graduation and certification

Students receive a degree from their college or university commensurate with their didactic and clinical training.

Graduates then must schedule and complete their certification exam through the Child Life Council (CLC). It is recommended that you successfully pass this certification examination before or within the first year after you begin work as an entry-level child life specialist.


For the majority of the internship, your learning schedule includes eight-hour days, five days a week. While the regular workweek is usually 40 hours, additional projects, patient activities and homework are assigned. Some weekend hours also may be included in your schedule.

Class size

Each fall, Mayo School of Health Sciences admits two students to its Child Life Specialist Internship. This ensures you receive a comprehensive educational experience within a very small cohort.

  • March 7, 2016
  • ART851468