Clinical Pastoral Education

Elmhurst Hospital offers a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program for seminarians interested in professional development for ministry. Required for Board Certification, which is the Gold Standard in Chaplaincy, this graduate level, experiential theological education program is designed to improve the quality of pastoral care offered by spiritual caregivers of all faiths.

Accredited for Level I, Level II, and Certified Educator CPE by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. 
We Work, Floor 4, 120 West Trinity Place, Suite 325, Decatur, GA 30030

Examining both personal and professional issues, CPE invites students to answer three questions:
  • Who am I?
  • What do I have to offer?
  • How do I offer who I am and what I have both personally and professionally?

About the program

CPE uses an action-reflection model of learning that integrates spiritual care, personal and theological reflection, supervision, peer review and supportive group process.  

Students will increase their competency through participation in self and interpersonal awareness, conceptual ability, pastoral functioning, ministry development and management. 
The participant’s contract is developed around the learning goals of pastoral formation, competence and reflection. Our program utilizes education methods to complete your CPE using personal learning goals, reading, covenant community, story theology, didactic and clinical seminars. Participants will also have individual supervision, reflection papers and written evaluations.

For more information or to apply please contact:

Laura Brenneman-Fullwood

Or please visit this page


Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is experience-based theological education for seminarians, clergy and lay persons of diverse cultures, ethnic groups and faith traditions. As the program’s name implies, CPE is:


CPE has a strong “hands-on” component. Participants meet with patients and interdisciplinary team members to develop their awareness and skills for pastoral care. Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare provides a variety of clinical possibilities.


CPE is pastoral, focusing on putting an individual’s theology into practice. Some describe CPE as “doing” theology versus “learning” theology. Depending on the particular CPE program, participants bring to their work a graduate degree in theology, work toward such a degree, or sufficient theological background to do pastoral ministry.


Above all CPE is adult learning. A unit of CPE is “at least 400 hours combining no less than 100 hours of structured group and individual education with supervised clinical practice in ministry” (ACPE).

Chaplain Certification

Most national certifying bodies require a minimum of four accredited units of CPE prior to application for chaplain certification. For certification information consider the following:

  • American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC)
  • Association of Professional Chaplains (APC)
  • National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC)
  • Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC)

CPE units taken at Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare are recognized by all of these certifying bodies.

Program Accreditation

Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare has offered Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) since 1983 through accreditation by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. (ACPE), Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc., (ACPE) One West Court Square, Suite 325 Decatur, GA 30030. Phone: 404-320-1472; Fax: 404-320-0849; Web: For more information please contact Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare CPE Program at 331-221-8398.




Description: Full-time, twelve-month, three-unit CPE program from early September to late August, intended for persons aiming at a level of competence that permits them to attain professional board certification as chaplains.


  • Education: Graduate theological degree (Master of Divinity; may be theology, religious studies, pastoral ministry, pastoral studies, spirituality if accepted by certifying body). If a person has not yet completed such a degree when beginning a residency it is understood that (s)he would be able to be certified within 24 months of completing the residency.
  • Experience: Pastoral experience. Successful completion of one previous CPE unit.
  • Skills and knowledge: appropriate to, and sufficient for, expectations and realities of the program. Evidenced in application materials, interview, and references.

Stipend and benefits: CPE Residents receive a stipend and benefits. They are Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare Associates for the time that they are in the program.

Tuition: $300 per CPE unit, payable at the beginning of the respective unit, unless financial payment plan is worked out in advance with CPE Certified Educator.

Calendar: Limited group work on breaks between CPE units and around holidays, but clinical responsibilities continue.

Applications are accepted after December 1 of the previous year. Application deadline: when program is full. No application fee.

Certification: consult or for chaplain board certification requirements. Consult for Certified Educator process and requirements.