Child Life Specialist Fellowship

With the oldest Child Life program in Texas and one of the largest in the country, Children's is dedicated to helping its hospitalized patients develop normally despite health problems. Members of our Child Life staff hold advanced-degree training in the growth and development of children. They provide age-appropriate information to help children cope with the hospital and prepare them emotionally for invasive procedures and surgery. Techniques include diagnosis-specific education, music therapy and play therapy.

The Child Life department is committed to providing quality education and training for future Child Life professionals. The Fellowship provides entry-level child life experience for a college graduate who has completed a Child Life internship. Fellowship applications are reviewed in June of each year, with interviews taking place during late June or July. Our Fellowship stipend is supported by grant funds from the Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority and is 12 months in duration.

To apply for a Child Life Fellowship or to get more information about the program, please call the Child Life department at 214-456-6280.

Child Life Department Sigma Sigma Sigma Fellowship

  1. The Fellowship provides a stipend for a full-time, 12-month (40 hours per week) placement. Experience, training and supervision are provided in all facets of our Child Life-Child Development department.
  2. Each 40-hour week will include (approximately):
    • 35 hours - clinical/direct work with children and planning for this work
    • 1-1/2 hours - case presentation/departmental staff education
    • 1 hour—in-service education --5 days a week during the first 3-4 months
    • 1-2 hours—health care teams' patient conferences
    • 1 hour—Child Life-Child Development department staff meeting
  3. The Fellowship will provide the following:
    • Experience in several phases of a child life program
    • Clinical experience with children of all ages and their families and patients representing a variety of both acute and chronic diagnoses, in a private, non-profit tertiary care setting
    • Participation as a member of the health care team and in psychosocial conferences
    • Work with families from wide, diverse sociocultural backgrounds
    • Administrative experience through:
      • supervision of volunteers
      • planning and coordinating in-service education
      • program evaluation: development and use of evaluation tools and quality assurance
  4. Practical skills that are stressed, developed and incorporated into daily functioning as a Child Life specialist in the Fellowship include:
    • Charting patients' progress in medical records
    • Assessment of children's development (i.e., use of Denver II)
    • Assessment of children as basis for child life interventions
    • Evaluation of self-performance and programming
    • Preparation of children for hospitalization, surgery and procedures
    • Communication skills:
      • therapeutic skills for work with children and families
      • skill development for communicating with other disciplines in individual and group settings
    • Assessment of environments
    • Effective and efficient use of self as a therapeutic tool
  5. Clinical rotations for the child life specialist in the fellowship position are established after evaluation of both the interests of the Fellow and current departmental needs and staffing.
  6. This Fellowship is awarded to individuals who:
    • Are committed to career development in Child Life
    • Have completed a Child Life internship
    • Want experience with all ages and diagnoses in pediatrics (this can help clarify particular interest in ages and/or diagnoses before commitment to a job role with one specific area or give experience with all ages and diagnoses for jobs in small, comprehensive pediatric units.)
  7. Children's Medical Center is an acute care, tertiary, pediatric teaching and research center serving children from birth to 18. It is the teaching hospital for the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas. The hospital is licensed for 559 in-patient hospital beds, as well as outpatient clinics for all pediatric specialties.

The staff has a wide range of experience and professional interests. Staff members are involved in Child Life Council activities and local organizations advocating for children's health. To date, over 30 individuals have completed the Fellowship.


Applications are reviewed in June of each year. Deadline to apply is June 1. You will be contacted between June 15 and July 15 regarding an interview. The Fellowship year begins in September.


  1. Monthly stipend
  2. Medical-dental insurance
  3. Educational materials (books, papers, pamphlets, etc.)
  4. Free employee parking
  5. Opportunity for certification in assessment techniques (varies with interest)

To apply, print and complete this application (PDF).