Certificate in Clinical Pastoral Education

What is Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)?

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is an element of theological education that uses an action/reflection/action inductive method of learning. It is about change, transition, and transformation and involves peer and individual supervision. Supervision is an engaging encounter between a Supervisor-Educator and supervisees in which a variety of pastoral encounters and ministry-reporting events are reviewed. Students covenant together so that growth and development occur in self-awareness, ministry competence, and theological understanding

Program participants practice their ministry in an internship location with patients, clients, families, and staff and bring examples of their work to the small-group setting to reflect on with peers. The intention is to offer consultation and raise awareness of how their fears, biases, strengths, and weaknesses may enhance or hinder their ability to be fully present and attentive to the persons to whom they are ministering. Clinical Pastoral Education International offers a Certification in Clinical Pastoral Education or individuals may apply for only one course of CPE.

Certificate in Clinical Pastoral Education

The Certificate in Clinical Pastoral Education isgrantep for the completion of four courses (CPE 100-400) or 1600 hours, of which 87% is distance education. CPE courses include participation in small groups, individual supervision, completing online lessons, and an internship.

CPE 100-400 Program Learning Outcomes


Demonstrate the ability to use self as the primary resource in pastoral care.


Construct a theology of pastoral care that embraces the ability to provide pastoral care to individuals from a broad range of
theological, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds.


Demonstrate personal and professional skills in ethical, interdisciplinary, and consultative relationships.


Integrate current and relevant insights from the field of behavioral science into one's practice.
Course Description Hours

CPE 100

The introductory course is designed to assist students in becoming dynamically aware of self as they provide pastoral care to individuals. Additionally, students become knowledgeable of spiritual assessments, cultural and ethical dynamics, and the use of supervision.

CPE 200

This course expands the student’s knowledge and use of self, one’s pastoral authority, how to integrate spiritual assessments and develop appropriate pastoral and spiritual interventions and further engage in awareness of cultural and ethical dynamics, and how to use one's peer group and supervisor for growth.

CPE 300

This course enables the student to critically analyze self as a pastoral provider, effectively engage in the use of spiritual assessments, document appropriate pastoral interventions, demonstrate increased autonomy, provide pastoral care with diverse populations, and demonstrate the ability to make use an ethical decision-making process, and initiate consultative relationships with one’s peers and supervisor.

CPE 400

This course is a capstone in which students critically analyze self as pastoral providers, effectively engage in the use of spiritual assessments, document appropriate pastoral interventions, demonstrate increased autonomy, provide pastoral care with diverse populations, and initiate consultative relationships with one’s peers and supervisor, and articulate a pastoral motif/model that guides one’s pastoral care.

Total Program Hours


Admission to the Certificate in Clinical Pastoral Education

Although theological and other academic education is preferable, individuals aged 18 or older with a high school diploma or a Graduate Equivalency Diploma (GED) may apply. It is important to note that professional certifications require an undergraduate or graduate degree. Prospective students whose native language is not English must submit the results of a TOEFL score to CPEI with a minimum of 57.

Click on the “Education” tab and then “Application and Forms.”

The application includes the following (as applicable):

  • Previous Academic Education
  • Previous CPE
  • Identification of three references
  • A current resume or career vitae (CV)
  • Four Essays
    • Personal History: A description of one’s life story, including a description of one’s family of origin and current family relationships, important events, relationships with significant people, and the impact these events and relationships have had on one’s development.
    • Religious/Spiritual Development: A description of one’s religious/spiritual development, including events and relationships that have influenced your faith and belief system.
    • Ministry Account: Describe an account you helped someone in need. Include the nature of the request, an assessment of the need, what actions you took, and a summary. Students having completed a previous course/unit of CPE may include a verbatim.
    • Understanding of CPE: Identify your understanding of CPE and what you hope to gain personally and professionally from CPE.

Application Process

  • Complete the CPE Application
  • Interview with CPEI
  • Review, sign and return the enrollment form
  • Enroll in CPEI
  • Identify an Internship Site