If you want to practice as a professional chaplain in the health care industry, corrections, the military, business, or other clinical field setting then you need more than an ecclesiastic endorsement or ordination. Even a Masters of Divinity or an equivalent cannot guarantee you clinical employment as a chaplain. You need Clinical Pastoral Education/Training (CPE).
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), is a unique interfaith experience, open to people of all faiths, in professional and theological training for persons seeking growth and competency in clinical pastoral practice. In CPE you learn, through the action-reflection model, to provide pastoral services through the supervised practice of clinical ministry to persons in crisis. CPE is available via various modalities including the standard classroom method and long–distance training.
The training focuses on:
Clinical Pastoral Education/Training is a dynamic, interpersonal, and process-oriented training experience set in an environment where participants feel free to openly share, care for, support, challenge, and respect one another. In CPE, the faculty works to develop a learning environment that is supportive and stimulating and where trainees feel confident to risk interpersonal growth and the learning skills needed to be successful in clinical settings.
There are two certifications available. First, you may take Clinical Pastoral Education by either a certified or a non-certified path. Certification comes through completing the requirements of Board Certification as prescribed by our certification agency, The Association for Certified Christian Chaplains (ACCC). When you meet the required competency standards, including the completion of the required number of CPE units, you will be eligible for Board Certification in Chaplaincy (BCC) by the Association of Certified Christian Chaplains. If you choose not to complete certification, you still may participate and receive Continuing Education Certificates for each unit you complete. ACCC is the membership/certification association for ICPT.
The second certification available is that of Board Certifed Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisor (BCCS). A supervisor is responsible for facilitating the students path through their CPE journey. The CPE Supervisor is of the highest quality and requires four additional units of advanced CPE.
Both certifications require additional documentation.
CPE units are either 12 weeks (standard) or 24 weeks (extended). Four CPE units are needed to qualify for Board Certification. For more information see our certification web page.
CPE is available for chaplains, clergy, lay persons, and others of all backgrounds. As such, your clinical training may be accomplished at your current place of ministry. If you serve in a spiritual community as a pastoral care minister or practitioner, you can also benefit from Clinical Pastoral Education. Most seminaries and theological training centers do not specialize in teaching counseling, clinical and crisis support skills. If they do, they usually provide accredited CPE in their curriculum or more often, they refer students out to accredited CPE/T supervisors or centers for this specialized training. Often this is only available to those who are taking a specialized pastoral care track. The result is many ministers and pastors feel, "They don't teach this in seminary," when faced with supporting congregants through crisis.
CPE/T will provide you with practical education and skills that will result in your increased confidence and competency in supporting persons dealing with crisis, trauma, life-altering change, death and dying, loss, suicide, and other issues. You will gain insight and shared learning through field placement, in-class seminars and peer group interaction and support.
To apply for a unit one must go through the online application process. Those who have engaged in previous clinical training should submit their self-evaluations and their supervisor's evaluation(s). After all application materials are received and accepted, an Admission Interview will be scheduled
Are you ready to begin? Go to our Application Page to begin the process.