How works is like any other CPE unit, but it is more convenient and accessible. is made up of:

  • Online education
  • In-person clinical hours at a local center, under the supervision of a certified ICPT supervisor

What is Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)?

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) began in 1925 as a form of theological education that combines academics and hands-on training in clinical settings where spiritual care is practiced.

CPE is a form of chaplaincy internship in which students are taught through hands-on practice, clinical supervision, and academic study to more effectively observe, listen, communicate, respond and attend to someone’s spiritual and emotional needs.

CPE is offered in many kinds of settings: hospitals and other health care facilities; geriatric and rehabilitation centers; prisons; and congregations and parishes. Students of any or no faith can enroll in CPE units and learn how to be authentic to their own faith while respecting the faith of those in their care.

A “course” of CPE is referred to as a “unit.” One CPE unit consists of a total of 400 hours: 300 hours of clinical time at a clinical center during which CPE students offer spiritual care to individuals, and 100 hours of education consisting of educational modules, one-on-one supervision, group process time, didactics, and student presentations.

Who should take CPE?

CPE is for anyone who is interested in spiritual care education, or a career in the spiritual care field.

This includes:

  • Individuals interested in a career in chaplaincy
  • Chaplains interested in becoming a Credentialed Chaplain (CC)
  • Chaplains interested in becoming a Board Certified Chaplain (BCC)
  • Seminarians who are pursuing careers in ministry
  • Clergy who want more training in pastoral care
  • Volunteers in health care settings who provide emotional, spiritual and religious support and comfort to patients, families and staff
  • Anyone interested in a transformative experience for the purpose of caring for individuals in times of suffering

What makes different than other CPE programs?

Traditionally, CPE students had to fulfill both educational and clinical hours on-site. However, many individuals cannot access CPE centers, or their work, personal or other responsibilities make taking an on-site CPE unit impossible. is built around convenience and accessibility.

With, you can obtain much of your training online—from wherever you are.

You complete educational hours online through Interactive Distance Learning courses; undergo supervision, group process and other learning through live video conferencing; and perform clinical hours on site at a convenient institution.

This makes fit into the student’s busy life. Using the Internet and working at a clinical setting that is convenient for each student, individuals who wish to take CPE will not have to put their life on hold in order to accomplish this dream. makes it possible.

Additionally,’s valuable online courses are designed by leaders in the field, and are based on the professional and evidence-based practice of spiritual care. This ensures that students are adequately trained and meeting objective standards that enable a smooth transition of skills to their professional or personal life trajectory.

How is taking CPE online possible?

Clinical hours--visiting patients/clients and offering spiritual care--are performed in person, and are overseen by a supervisor in collaboration with an on-site coordinator.

The educational hours, however, are done online: 1) presentations, verbatims, didactics, group process, and individual supervision occur through live video conferencing, and 2) through Interactive Distance Learning courses developed by experts in the field and based on the professional and evidence-based practice of spiritual care are part of’s program.

What online courses are included in the CPE unit?

The CPE unit includes two or three Interactive Distance Learning courses offered through the Spiritual Care Association’s Online Learning Center. The supervisor will determine the specific courses for each unit.

Where can I do my clinical hours?

Clinical hours involve providing on-site spiritual care to patients/clients at a clinical center.

Clinical centers include, but are not limited to:

  • Hospitals
  • Hospices
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Prisons
  • Houses of worship
  • Extended care facilities
  • Psychiatric wards
  • Military bases
  • Social service centers

How do I find a center to fulfill my clinical hours?

You will find a facility to fulfill your clinical hours in providing spiritual care. Permission and clearance will be sought from the volunteer services department, chaplaincy/spiritual care department, or other appropriate department. The facility will likely be excited to accept more volunteers to attend to the needs of their patients/clients, especially those involved in spiritual care-related training. You can use more than one facility to fulfill your clinical hours and need a Placement Agreement signed for each site. The Placement Agreement must be signed, dated and returned to ICPT before the start of the unit. If you need help finding a center, please be in touch with us.

What is a Board Certified Chaplain (BCC), and how do I become one?

A Board Certified Chaplain (BCC) has demonstrated competence to perform all of the normal tasks within the scope of practice of chaplains.

For those seeking Board Certification in Chaplaincy (BCC), units will fulfill the requirements of various certifying bodies, including the Spiritual Care Association (SCA).

To view the requirements to become a BCC under the Spiritual Care Association, click here.

What is a Credentialed Chaplain (CC), and how do I become one?

A Credentialed Chaplain (CC) has demonstrated the competencies to perform normal chaplaincy tasks in non-complex settings, or under the supervision of a Board Certified Chaplain in complex settings.

The title of Credentialed Chaplain (CC) will attest to the chaplain’s level of competence in the profession.

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