The Internship Experience
Child life students come to St. Louis Children’s Hospital to complete their Bachelor or Master’s degree requirements through an internship. The sixteen week internship experience gives the student an opportunity to practice child life theories, and provides exposure to the special needs of hospitalized children in a variety of both in-patient and out-patient settings. The student will complete three rotations, which begins after a week of initial orientation.
The internship program is only offered in the Spring and Summer semesters. It is designed to complement academic studies and follows the Child Life Council’s curriculum modules. The purpose is to provide a clinical program for students to develop a professional identity in working with children, families and staff within a pediatric setting. Through clinical experiences students will seek, identify and develop professional responsibility, philosophies and ethics relating to Child Life. As a result of this training, students will have the opportunity to acquire entry level skills needed to develop programs in pediatric settings or to enhance those already established.
Internship Selection Criteria
**All criteria must be met in order to be considered for the internship position. No exceptions will be made.
Students must have a child life practicum in a hospital setting under a certified child life specialist. A minimum of 100 hours can be completed prior to or in progress at the time the application is due. Experience as a child life assistant may also be counted toward these 100 hours but cannot take the place of the child life practicum.
Students must have a minimum of 100 hours of experience with well infants, children, youth and/or families (ex. child care facilities, school programs and/or being a nanny).
Students must have completed the educational requirements that meet the Child Life Council's educational standards. This includes the 6 curriculum topics taught by a certified child life specialist that meets the CLC’s standard criteria (course(s) may be in progress during the application process).
Students affiliated with a university must be of senior standing and have support throughout the internship, with an advisor making a site visit or communicating with the student and the child life internship educator. Students no longer affiliated with a university will be required to provide his/her own liability insurance during the internship.
Students must be able to display strong knowledge and understanding of child life philosophy as well as lifespan development and theory.
Internship Application Process
To apply for an internship in our department, we ask that you send the following information to be received by the application deadline stated in this packet. We request that all of this information be sent at one time, however letters of reference can be sent separately if necessary. If you have any questions about what date will close your opportunity to apply for a specific internship period, please call us--we will not be able to accept late applications.
The following information is required and will make up your internship application:
- A cover letter stating your interest in applying for an internship citing the specific semester you are interested in
- A current resume
- Completed Common Child Life Internship Application: PDF version or Word Version.
- A copy of your university transcript, official or student issued from the university’s registrar’s office (Web based transcripts are not accepted).
- A copy of the CLC Eligibility Assessment for courses, formerly known as the course work review
- Child Life Course Verification with completion of all 6 curriculum topics. May be in progress at the time of applying with proper notification from the instructor teaching the course(s). Click here for Child Life Course Verification Form.
- Two reference letters (ex. child life practicum supervisor, a university instructor, someone who has seen your work with children)
- A paper answering the following questions:
- “What are your specific reasons for pursuing an internship at St. Louis Children's Hospital?”
Students interested in applying for an internship must mail the completed application requirements to the address below, to be received no later than the application deadline for the appropriate semester. The Child Life Services staff will review all applications, and a staff member will contact students for the first round phone interviews. Applicants that do not meet the internship selection criteria and/or do not have all required application materials will not be considered for the internship.
St. Louis Children’s Hospital
Child Life Services Department
Attn: Internship Committee
One Children’s Place, 8W24
St. Louis, Missouri 63110
Please note the following: The application dates are in agreement with the Child Life Council guidelines as set by the Education Committee. (For more information, see the Official Documents of the Child Life Council revised 2002.) Should a deadline fall on a weekend or holiday, then the deadline will be moved forward to the next business day. All internship dates are subject to change by a week or more due to holidays, intern schedules, or staff schedules.
For additional information or questions regarding our internship program, please contact Jenny Brandt, CCLS at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314.454.4543.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is your internship?
Our internship is a 40-hour per week, 17-week internship. After completion you will have a total of 680 hours, which exceeds the minimum 480 hours required to apply and sit for the Child Life Certification exam. We currently offer internships for the Winter/Spring and Summer semesters only.
How is your internship set up?
A student in our internship program can expect 1 week of hospital and department orientation, followed by 1 rotation lasing 4 weeks and 2 rotations lasting 6 weeks in a variety of areas within the hospital. A possible rotation option where child life supervision is present includes:
In-patient Units Out-patient Units
Neurology/Rehab Emergency Department
General Surgery/Burns Radiology
Hematology/Oncology/BMT Hematology/Oncology Clinic
General Medicine Ambulatory Procedure Center
Heart/Lung Transplant/ CICU Same Day Surgery
Pulmonary/ PICU Pediatric Ambulatory Wound Service (PAWS)
Kidney/Liver Transplant / Sickle Cell Dialysis
In addition to direct clinical work, interns also get opportunities to work with special events (activities and performers from outside the hospital for the patients), closed-circuit television programming, and numerous volunteers. We also include time to allow students to visit other child life and children’s programs, to shadow staff they may not have gotten to complete a rotation with, and to attend procedures and/or surgeries.
What course work will I be required to complete during the internship?
We use the Child Life Council’s learning curriculum modules to guide the development of a student’s child life skills. In addition to the required readings and assignments list in the CLC’s curriculum modules, daily journals, charting, site visits, a case studies, activity plans and developmental assessments, and a project are all required. Each rotation is subject to other possible assignments as well. All assignments and clinical hours must be completed prior to receiving the internship verification form required to apply for the certification exam.
Are there any fees? Do you offer any compensation?
There is no cost to you to work as an intern at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. While we cannot offer any compensation to our students, they do receive discounts in our cafeteria and free parking.
Will I be supervised by a certified child life specialist?
Yes. You will have a direct supervisor for each of the three rotations, as well as your Intern Educator that follows your progress throughout the entire internship. Each supervisor will be available to assist in your training on charting and clinical skills, and will meet with you weekly to discuss progress on goals and projects. Each supervisor meets the standard CLC requirements for supervising students (currently certified and completed a minimum of 4000s hours of clinical experience). In addition, each supervisor must be in their current position for a minimum of 1 year prior to supervising an intern. This is to ensure that our students receive the proper supervision and best experience possible.
Will my supervisor be supervising other students at the same time they are supervising me?
Each child life specialist is only allowed to supervise 1 student on their unit at any given time to allow for complete focus and attention toward that student’s learning experience on the day-to-day basis. However, each student is assigned an Intern Educator who will oversee the entire internship and meet with the student once a week to discuss their experiences and clinical skills. This Intern Educator may have a student on their unit with whom they are supervising during one of the three rotations offered.
Is housing available?
Every effort is made to assist students in finding temporary housing for their internship period. Many students live with a family member or friend during their internship. Other students have arranged a short-term lease at an apartment complex that is close to the medical center. There are also several universities in the area which may have resident hall living options or students looking for sub leasers for the semester.
Why do I need experience with healthy infants, children, youth and/or families?
Healthcare experiences can place a lot of stress and demand on a child and the family and their ability to cope with these experiences can be affected. In order to fully understand these effects of hospitalization on a child and/or a family, it is important to see how children grow and learn based on their development in typical every day settings. It is also important to see and understand how families function under typical circumstances. This will allow a student to better be able to assess how a child and/or the family is effected by their healthcare experience and what type of interventions may be most beneficial to use.
Why do I need to experience with infants, youth and/or families in healthcare settings and or programs designed for special needs populations?
It is important to have some idea of what you may see or expect when working with hospitalized or special needs populations. These types of populations can present unique challenges that can be a surprise to students who have not seen this prior to an internship. In addition, having this exposure to these populations will allow you put more focus on connecting the knowledge from the academic setting into the clinical setting throughout your internship experience.
Do I need a contract between your hospital and my university?
All students currently enrolled in school who are seeking hours for credit will need to be under a contract between the College/University and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The hospital currently has contracts with several universities that are periodically revised and renewed. Once a student is selected as an intern, the manager of the child life department will ensure that a valid agreement is reached between the university and the hospital prior to the onset of the internship. The university has the option to provide liability insurance for students studying/working off campus. If the university does not cover students under the university liability insurance, or if the student will not have an affiliation with a college/university, professional liability insurance must be provided by the student. We have a resource that can provide liability insurance coverage for a year for a small cost if needed. Proof of insurance will need to be provided to the child life manager prior to beginning the internship.
The students selected to intern in our department will be registered with Volunteer Services to track the number of hours worked during the internship. Each student must complete and/or provide the following before the scheduled start date: a record of immunizations, a copy of a current background check, and a copy of a current TB screening and flu vaccination (valid within a year of when the student expects to complete his/her internship at St. Louis Children’s Hospital). Please share this information with your university supervisor. If you have any questions about this issue, and feel free to contact the Child Life Services manager with any questions or concerns.
Do I need to be affiliated with a college or university in order to complete your internship?
No, a school affiliation is not necessary at the time an internship is occurring. However, you will be required to provide your own liability insurance (since this is typically done through the student’s school).