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Clinical Pastoral Education 

Caring For The World Through Pastoral Education

Holding Hands

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If you are a pastor or chaplain who is looking for ways to grow personally and professionally, Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) may be for you.


Clinical Pastoral Education is a structured adult learning experience that includes a clinical setting, weekly peer group meetings, meetings with a supervisor, and assignments to integrate reading and reflection into ministry practice. 

Educational Requirements

The educational requirement to participate in CPE is a high-school diploma.  The student also needs a place to meet the spiritual needs of people for 20 hours a week.

CPE is delivered in units of 400 hours over 16 weeks.  The 400 hours include 300 hours in a clinical setting and 100 hours in peer group meetings, reading, writing, and online study.

Each unit has ten objectives that exposes the participate to a variety of experiences and build on learning from previous units.  For instance, in the 100 unit, the student identifies concepts in themselves that influence their pastoral care.  In the 200 unit, the student interprets how their self-concept affect one's pastoral care.  For the 300 unit, the student analyzes themselves in the context of their pastoral care.  In the 400 unit, students assess themselves by describing how one's beliefs, strengths, limitations, values, and assumptions affect one's pastoral ministry. 


Benefits of CPE

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is also an expectation of employers hiring chaplains for hospitals, hospices, prisons, or corporate settings.  Pastors looking for opportunities to support bi-vocational ministry will find ways to serve their communities that are consistent with their gifts and calling.  Ministry in community settings give pastors fresh perspective on challenges facing people outside and inside their ministry context.  

Most larger hospitals and some seminaries offer CPE programs.  CPE programs vary in their reputation, philosophy, theology, and perspective.  Pastors need to carefully research various programs before making a commitment to participate to avoid potential misalignment with a program.

Clinical Pastoral Education International offers three units each calendar year that meet weekly via Zoom. Visit the full CPE website for more information or check out our schedule and apply to enroll in the next term below.

CPE Course Schedule

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