Some aspiring child life specialists choose to pursue a child life fellowship after completing their internship.
You may be wondering, what is a fellowship? Should I plan to pursue that as well?
In general, a child life fellowship takes place after the completion of a child life internship. It is a paid experience to help aspiring professionals continue to learn. I have worked with a few students who are pursuing a fellowship and one of the main reasons they choose this path is that they leave their internship and feel like they need more support before pursuing a full time unit-based child life job.
I reached out to a friend who just so happened to help put together programming for a child life fellowship and asked her a few questions just to get more of an insider look.
Here are the answers to a few FAQ’s:
What is a child life fellowship?
A fellowship is a position typically completed between internship and your first job as a way of gaining more experience.
What are the benefits of a child life fellowship?
For the student they can really learn if they like a specific area, like the hospital, and gain more insight into the field. The child life team benefits because they essentially have someone having an on the job interview if they want to keep them on. In Utah we used our fellowships to pilot new positions that previously didn’t have services.
How do I know if a child life fellowship is the next step for me?
I think the part is if you have passed your internship and aren’t sure if you feel ready to start in position, you might benefit from more guidance. Or if you have had time between internship and a potential first job and want help easing into the field.
What questions should I ask when inquiring about a child life fellowship program?
How structured is it? Is it like an internship where I’ll have assignments or is it more like a first job where I’ll have goals and such? How often do you hire your fellows?
How would you prepare differently for an interview for a child life fellowship versus a child life internship?
They are going to ask you questions more like a first job about insight from internship.
What is the pay like as a child life fellow?
Ours was based on a grant we wrote so it was about equal that of a typical job.
What does a typical schedule look like for a child life fellow?
It was very much based on the unit but very similar to that of a typical job.
Wondering if you should pursue a fellowship? Here are a few guiding questions.
- Do you feel prepared to run a unit in the hospital?
- Are you interested in having some additional support and guidance prior to being independent in your role?
- Would you like to learn more about that specific hospital before committing to a long-term position?
This might help you decide on the next steps for your career path!
It could be a different and unique experience that can help you succeed in your next role as a child life specialist!