What is clinical pastoral education?

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a unique interfaith experience, open to people of all faiths. ICPT offers CPE to spiritual professionals and theological students seeking professional growth and development in clinical pastoral settings. CPE students learn through action-reflection instructional methods and supervised practice in real-world settings to provide pastoral services to persons in crisis.

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is provided through four levels, or units of hands-on learning, clinical supervision, and academic study. CPE is specifically designed for students who are chaplain or pastoral care interns, or ministry students at the bachelor’s level or higher who wish to become more effective at the ministry of presence and spiritual care.  

You will learn how to listen to understand rather than listen to respond. Specific modules will address such important topics as: Asking Seriously Curious Questions, Cultural Competency and Sensitivity, Staff Care, Effective Communication, Group Counseling Dynamics, HIPAA Compliance, End of Life Care, Advanced Care Directives, and much more.  

Each CPE Unit builds on the previous module. Each will include 100 hours of academic instruction and 300 hours of clinical work. Hours can be earned in a variety of settings as an intern, staff member, or a lay volunteer. Each semester is 12 weeks long. 

Students include both clergy, such as Ordained Chaplains and Pastors, and non-clergy, such as lay volunteers and college or seminary students who wish to serve people in their congregations and surrounding community.  

Obtaining all four levels of CPE may, along with the appropriate level of accredited education and experience, provide you with opportunity to become Board Certified in Chaplaincy or Pastoral Care. 

See our description of possible certification levels by clicking here.

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