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Preparing for Internship Interviews

Lindsey Welch, BS, CCLS, CTRS, CIMI
Certified Child Life Specialist, Marshfield Children’s Hospital

The child life profession is an extremely competitive field and as a student mentor for the last 12 years, I recognize the challenges this brings to students. After years of learning about development, the history of the child life profession, various illnesses, conditions, interventions, etc. you have reached the point of interviewing for an internship. The point where you must showcase your knowledge to take the next step towards becoming a child life professional. Though internship interviews can be stressful, it is a necessary step on the journey to becoming a Certified Child Life Specialist. The following tips will assist you, as child life students, overcome your nerves and successfully prepare for internship interviews.

Tips to Prepare for Internship Interviews

  1. Study your developmental theorists so you can use this information as a basis for your answers throughout the interview. You can never use too much developmental theory, and this will show the interviewers that you can apply the knowledge you have learned to various situations.

  2. Make a list of experiences you have had in your life with children, in leadership positions, working with others, etc. that may be of use to you in your interview. Use these experiences as examples during the interview to demonstrate your ability to work as a team, work with people of varying cultural identities, relate to children of various ages.

  3. Become comfortable using examples (i.e., any volunteer, work, or practicum experiences) that relate directly to the field of child life. Practice being concise yet providing enough detail, so the interviewers get the full picture of your experiences.

  4. Set up a mock interview with someone at your university or with a friend or family member using sample interview questions related to child life if possible. Do not be afraid to practice preparations using real equipment and child friendly language so you feel comfortable talking about it in an interview. Be prepared for questions that assess your knowledge, but also that attempt to get to know your personality. Being nervous is normal, but it is important to make sure your nerves do not cover up your true personality.

  5. Be confident. You have studied hard for this moment! Go into your interview feeling confident that you can answer every question without difficulty. Believe in what you know and give the interviewers a good indicator of who you are and what you are passionate about!

I cannot say with 100% certainty that the tips will ensure an internship offer. However, I often tell the students that come through the program at Marshfield Children’s to focus on their locus of control. The above tips are within your locus of control as a student and will provide you with the best opportunity for an internship offer. You control how you prepare for an internship interview, but the child life programs control who is chosen for an internship. 

Visit our Clinical Internship page for more on preparing and completing a child life internship.

Child Life Profession