Tips for Child Life Specialists seeking
Child Life Employment in Canada
- Join the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) as a professional member. Membership includes access to an international career center of available positions under the Career Resources tab. ACLP members can search the available listings, register for e-newsletters and sign up for job alerts. Go to www.childlife.org to see how to join.
- Volunteer! Child life leaders receive many inquiries about entry into the field. Often, they are unable to respond to each inquiry due to workplace priorities. If you are qualified and serious about pursuing a position in a particular location, aim to make an impression: start as a volunteer and build a relationship in the child life community. Other volunteer experiences are helpful for your resume too – with children of various ages and settings. This also shows your knowledge and commitment to working with children, youth and families. (see notes on volunteering below)
- Access the human resources/career pages of hospitals and health care facilities that have a child life program. Check sites regularly for available positions in child life.
- Many child life interest groups and leaders are on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or host blogs. Start searching for and following these social media links for mentions of current child life position postings.
- Access the resources available on the ACLP and Canadian Association of Child Life Leaders (CACLL) websites before contacting child life leaders to ask questions. A greater impression will result when you demonstrate your knowledge, work ethic, motivation and enthusiasm through active and on-going engagement in the field: for example, read child life publications, attend conferences and join webinars.
- Child Life services are moving to various community settings. Consider researching places such as Ronald McDonald Houses, Hospices, bereavement programs, dentist/oral surgeon offices, other community programs, mission trips e.g. Operation Smile.
- Be flexible- child life specialist jobs are very competitive across Canada. You may need to move for education, training and jobs. Many positions begin as temporary jobs and this can be the case for several years before getting a permanent position.
Child Life Volunteer Opportunities:
Many health care facilities provide volunteer opportunities in their child life departments. Check websites of facilities that have both Volunteer and child life departments. Usually there is a minimum commitment required for the number of hours for any volunteer role.
In addition for exposure in child life and building a relationship among local child life programs, some educational programs require volunteerism in child life. For an example, the Master's in Child Life & Pediatric Psychosocial Care Stream 1. Entry to the Child Life Practice program at McMaster University requires that applicants complete 100 hours of unpaid experience volunteering in a child life program
*The Association of Child Life Professionals, universities and health care facilities may use specific definitions for their respective institutions. Individuals with an interest in pursuing child life certification should examine the requirements of the Child Life Certifying Committee of the ACLP, in collaboration with university and/or facility supervisors, to ensure requirements can be met.
Official documents and definitions can be found at: www.childlife.org