2020 Think Tank


The first two sessions of the 2020 Think Tank session on the Internship application, review and selection process took place during the summer of 2020. Attendee composition included the Chairs of ACLP’s: Education & Training Committee; Academic Review Committee; Internship Accreditation Oversight Committee; leadership from Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force; and the Child Life Certification Commission. The group also included two students that recently went through the application and selection process; academic, (CCLS) leaders of endorsed and non-endorsed programs; clinical coordinators and leaders of accredited and non-accredited programs; and, key staff and board.

The internship process is a key factor to the certification path and access into the profession. Evaluation of the materials, clarification of expectations and alignment of needs and goals remains a priority to ACLP especially as it relates to its goals of diversifying the membership and strengthening a vital component of initiation into the professional community.

The group set out to articulate the current internship process – from the materials involved and each stakeholder’s experience – as a foundation of where to start. From there, the attendees were free to envision solutions, ideas on where and how to improve the process with feedback from the larger group on how to refine each solution. The group’s ideas for potential solutions are outlined briefly below and have been presented in a survey to internship coordinators and program leaders to further understand which, if any, would be valued, useful as well as priorities over others.


NOTE: The list below is only potential ideas for future development. These ideas are not provided as future requirements or predictions of change.

Child Life Program Directory

ACLP implemented this idea and created a Child Life Program Directory that ACLP member applicants may be directed to by academic leaders, ACLP staff and the public for fundamental requirements related to applying to their program.

Requires Program Leaders to be accountable for updating details in timely fashion (e.g. in advance of all recommended application deadlines)

Job Analysis

Following best-practices in the credentialing industry, a Job Analysis is a process by which knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) competencies are identified, validated and standardized. This process provides clarity and standardization of what must be evident/demonstrated in order to apply and identifies what will be learned during the internship experience.

Subject matter experts (SMEs) involved in the job analysis will be supervisors that understand the purpose of the internship is to train for growth. The intern-ready candidate is not the one that requires the least amount of hand holding/training but has the most potential for learning. The KSAs going in to the internship should be different than the KSAs expected once the internship has been completed.

Value for academic leaders: KSAs will support academic, credentialed (CCLS) leaders on developing/reinforcing curricula around the identified areas for knowledge and skill set rather than teaching for exam eligibility.

Value for clinical coordinators: There is potential for a reduced volume of applicants by demonstrating the depth and breadth of KSAs necessary to even be considered for an internship. KSAs would spotlight the rigorous process involved in attaining an internship and certification. It would discourage applicants less dedicated to the field.

Requires strong cultural shift with coordinators and academics acknowledging and appreciating various ways the applicants gain and demonstrate KSAs, as opposed to a single/narrow focus. All leaders are mandated to engage in the critical analysis of expanding opportunities to individuals outside of a prescribed path. 

  • Engage consultants
  • Identify subject matter experts
  • Virtual Job Analysis
  • Survey to wider audience to validate
  • Refine/publish

Updates to the Common Application will include questions designed to generate a response how the applicant met KSAs.

Central Repository - scope could include common application, upload of various portfolio materials