Passing the Baton: From Intern to CCLS

This whole child life journey and experience feels like a race. From start to finish, it feels like you just have to keep running. Slowing down is not an option and running seems to be the only way to keep making progress and eventually get you where you want to be.

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Bye Bye Internship

You’re onto the last part of the race and you’re saying goodbye to all of the supervisors and child life specialists who have helped shape you into the confident child life specialist you are today. They watched as you butchered a few preparations, hugged you when you saw something shocking for the first time and felt a lot of feelings, and grabbed you by the shoulders to shake some sense into you when everything became too much.

But you’re here. You made it, and it’s time to take everything you learned with you into your certification exam and future job applications.

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Certification Exam Study Tools

Once you’ve completed your 600-hour internship, you’ll be ready to sit for your 150-question certification exam. While a lot of students stress about this exam, if you’ve completed the 10 courses for eligibility, a practicum and internship you truly should be more than ready for this exam. Like any exam, studying is required.

**These questions below are what helped me the most when I was studying for the exam. It’s also been what a lot of my practicum students have used as well and have successfully passed the exam.**

The following questions are not endorsed or validated by the Association of Child Life Professionals and Child Life Certification Commission.  The following questions are not verified to be related to the ACLP exam content outline, and references are not authenticated.

Click here for 300 practice test questions.

Click here for the answers to those 300 questions.

I also recommend the ACLP Child Life Certification Exam Study Guide and resources listed on the ACLP website – they can be found here


Adjusting Application Materials to be “Job Ready”

With how competitive internships can be, at this point – your resume should be in pretty tip-top shape. It never hurts to have someone look over it for grammar and layout purposes though! Utilize your internship supervisors and have someone go over your resume with you during any down-time you may have as a professional’s set of eyes is always preferred!

When applying for jobs, you’ll want to adjust your cover letter to the needs of the job that’s being offered. Make sure you speak of skills/traits you have that would do well for this particular position. For example, I would not go into lengthy detail about my ability to build long-lasting, therapeutic relationships with patients and families if i’m applying for a position in the Emergency Department.

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Interview Schmidt-erview

Interviews are pretty similar from internship to job – the main difference is that the interviewers will be looking more closely at your personality and how you will fit in with their team. Going into your interview, they know that it’s not only four months on the line like an internship, but rather years they’ll possibly be spending with you on the same team.

Be yourself and make sure you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you! Do you see yourself fitting in with this team? Do you feel you’ll be pushed and challenged to be a better child life specialist if you were to join this team? Do you feel like you could be friends with a few people on this team? Friendships are important. I would not survive my job if I wasn’t close to a few of my coworkers. I know I can come to them, shut the door and say “I need a minute of your time,” as I become a heap of tears and explain what I feel went wrong. These are questions that are important to answer.

Do your research on each job site and make sure you could actually see yourself moving to said location. Can’t afford to move to New York with your savings right now? Don’t apply to a job in New York. Simple as that! We don’t want to waste your time and vice versa.

Click here to read up on my tips regarding internship interviews as they’re applicable for jobs as well!

Take a deep breath – all the hard work is over and now it’s time for you to land a job! You can do it!


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