What is a Pre-Internship Experience?

A pre-internship experience provides an individual with knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) as it relates to working with infants, children, youth, and families.

Internship programs that use the Internship Readiness Common Application require applicants to document their pre-internship experiences. ACLP does not require any certain pre-internship experience.

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Examples of Pre-Internship Experiences

Aspiring professional can gain the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) necessary to apply for a clinical internship through one or a combination of the following:

ACLP Pre-Internship Modules

The ACLP Pre-Internship Learning Modules can be used by aspiring professionals as well as supervisors in healthcare and other community-based settings in which psychosocial support is provided to children and families in stressful situations.

*ACLP recognizes that practicums have become a barrier within the pathway to the child life profession. ACLP does not endorse practicums or other pre-internship programs. These modules are designed for sites and learners who may find them supportive.


Volunteer & Work Experience

The internship application requires applicants to document their experiences with infants, children, youth, and families in the following areas:

  • Within Healthcare: Any environment involving children and families due to medical encounters. Examples include but are not limited to volunteering in a hospital, programs for children with medical diagnoses, child life pre-internship experiences, volunteering at hospice sites, paid work experience in a hospital setting.
  • Outside of Healthcare: Any environment involving children and families who are not impacted by medical encounters. Examples include but are not limited to coaching a sports team, volunteering at a school, working in retail, working at an early childhood program. Experience with well children is necessary to learn how to identify typical development.

Child Life Practicum

A child life practicum is an introductory experience for individuals pursuing a career in child life. This experience can provide valuable knowledge of evidence-based, developmentally appropriate child life interventions. 

ACLP and the CLCC does not require or have specific practices or protocols for child life practicums, and practicums are not a requirement to sit for the Child Life Professional Certification Exam.

Pre-Internship Experiences

Additional Considerations

  • Give attention to the depth and diversity of your experiences.
  • Be able to articulate what you learned from your experiences and how they relate to the Internship Readiness KSAs.
  • Look for opportunities to gain experience with a variety of ages and/or developmental levels.

FAQs: Pre-Internship Experiences

Read the frequently asked questions related to pre-internship experiences that are necessary to sit for the Child Life Certification Exam.