Child Life Internships
(Last updated August 2012)
Thank you for your interest in the Child Life Department’s Internship Program at Inova Children's Hospital. Our 560-hour internship program spans a 14-week period, during which time interns gain extensive clinical experience in the field of child life. Under the supervision of a team of certified child life specialists, interns will learn about all aspects of child life, including therapeutic play, procedural preparation and support and coping techniques. Upon completion of the internship and an undergraduate degree, interns will be equipped to practice as child life specialists and will be eligible to sit for the Child Life Professional Certification Examination.
Please review the Child Life Council's web site at www.childlife.org for further information regarding coursework, certification eligibility and internship qualifications.
Requirements and deadlines
The internship is open to applicants who meet the following criteria:
- Baccalaureate students who have completed their junior year, graduates of a bachelor’s degree program, and master’s degree students.
- Applicants must meet the course work criteria for certification as determined by the Child Life Council. Submission of the Child Life Council's Course Work Review is required. Please refer to the Child Life Professional Certification Candidate Manual .
- Minimum GPA of 3.0. Applicants with extenuating circumstances who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement must submit a separate, detailed explanation with their application materials in order to be considered.
- Minimum of 100 hours of volunteer, fieldwork, or practicum experience under the supervision of a certified child life specialist.
- Knowledge of psychosocial issues related to illness and hospitalization.
The following materials must be submitted in order to review and process your application:
- Current résumé
- Child Life Council's Course Work Review
- Copy of the Child Life Council's Child Life Course Verification form
- Official academic transcripts from all colleges or universities that you have attended
- Two or three letters of recommendation, one of which must be from someone who has observed your work with children
- Verification of volunteer, fieldwork, or practicum hours (these hours may be "in-progress" but must be completed prior to the start of the internship)
- Child Life Council's Common Internship Application Form
Child Life Council's Common Internship Application Form Word Doc
- An additional essay that answers the following questions:
- Why do you want to complete your internship at Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children?
- What do you plan to do to enhance your internship experience?
- What reservations do you have about becoming a child life specialist?
Mail your completed application packet to:
Stephanie Harris/Emily Steelman
Child Life Department
Inova Children's Hospital
3300 Gallows Road
Falls Church, VA 22042-3300
Questions? Email Stephanie Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or Emily Steelman at email@example.com
Upon review of submitted materials, applicants will be notified of the status of their application. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all application materials have been received by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applicants should retain a copy of all application materials. Qualified applicants will be contacted to arrange an interview with the child life staff. We request that your completed application packet arrive by the following deadline schedule:
Dates for 2012
We do not offer a winter/spring internship.
Frequently asked questions
What level of education do I need to be eligible for the child life internship?
To be eligible, you must have a bachelor’s degree or have completed your junior year of college in a four-year degree program. The bachelor’s or master’s degree should be in child life, or a related field (including but not limited to psychology, child development, family studies, education, counseling, etc.).
Must I be enrolled in a degree program at the time of the internship?
We do not require you to be enrolled in a degree program. However, you must obtain professional liability insurance. If selected for the internship program, the Child Life Department will assist you with obtaining this insurance, which typically costs less than $50 for a year-long policy.
What can best prepare me for this internship?
Strong internship candidates will have a solid background in child development and will have a variety of experiences working with children both in and out of the hospital setting. We require that 100 hours of volunteer, fieldwork, or practicum experience, under the supervision of a certified child life specialist, be completed prior to the start of the internship. This exposure best prepares you to work in the unique environment of a hospital. Additionally, prior experience in a hospital setting will help you to solidify your own commitment to the field of child life.
Is this internship an unpaid position?
Yes, the internship is an unpaid position. Parking and educational materials are covered. However, you are responsible for your personal housing and living expenses. Once you are accepted into the program, the Child Life Department can recommend resources to locate temporary housing in the area.
What happens after my application is received?
We review each application upon receipt and will contact qualified applicants to arrange a phone interview with members of the Child Life Department. Second interviews are typically conducted on-site, but exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis. Applicants are responsible for their own travel expenses.
How is the internship structured?
The internship is a 14-week, 560-hour internship which is divided into two, six-week rotations with an initial orientation week and an interim week. During the interim week, interns are provided the opportunity to shadow other child life specialists, visit some of our community centers, such as the Ronald McDonald House, Life with Cancer Dewberry Family Center, and the Inova Diabetes Center, and tour other child life programs in the area. Rotation options vary each term, but may include one of the pediatric medical/surgical units, the hematology/oncology unit, the pediatric intensive care unit, the adolescent unit, cardiology services, outpatient radiology, and the emergency department.
What is the intern's typical weekly schedule?
The interns are expected to work 40 hours per week, following the same schedule as their rotation supervisors, in order to acquire the most realistic and consistent working experience. The schedule is primarily Monday through Friday, during daytime hours, but can vary with staff schedules. Our interns will work at least one evening and one weekend day shift during the internship to gain exposure to special programming.
How many interns do you accept for each term?
We typically accept one or two interns each term, depending on the quality of the applicants, the availability of supervisors, and the needs of the department.