Clinical Pastoral Education for Credit at Erskine Theological Seminary
Erskine offers CPE academic credit through a partnership with the Institute of Clinical Pastoral Training (ICPT), in association with the Association of Certified Christian Chaplains (ACCC) and the Spiritual Care Association (SCA). The Erskine CPE experience allows students to exercise the principle of “cooperation without compromise,” that is, to minister in the name of Jesus Christ, according to their Christian convictions and confessional commitments, alongside others who may (and usually do) hold different convictions. This environment encourages our students to practice faithful Gospel witness in a pluralistic age. CPE at Erskine means you can train without suspending your conscience and faith. Erskine students also enjoy fully accredited CPE training with multimodal teaching and learning (a hybrid of online and on-site), allowing students to complete training in their place of ministry or other approved location, without having to move. Moreover, along with the prerequisite courses at Erskine, students may graduate with a chaplaincy concentration, prepared academically and practically to assume duties at one of the many growing chaplaincy sectors.
Earning Academic Credit in CPE at Erskine
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), awarded in units, is the internationally recognized certification required for clergy to perform ministry in several institutional settings. CPE involves dual registration with, firstly, Erskine Theological Seminary (for graduate academic credit), and, secondly, the Institute of Clinical Pastoral Training (for a multimodal teaching and learning experience that involves supervised ministry at an approved area of ministry with weekly synchronous classes within a cohort; ICPT awards the CPE units which Erskine transcribes to 6 credit hours). Students may, then, choose to apply for board certification through the Association of Certified Christian Chaplains (and counselors) or, “ACCC.” Board certification is not necessary to earn credit at Erskine. However, students desiring to serve in certain chaplaincy sectors may be advised to apply for board certification after graduating from Erskine Theological Seminary.
PM 774 + PM 775 Clinical Pastoral Education (6-credit hours total) requires the following prerequisite Erskine courses: PM 608 Pastoral Care and Counseling, and PM 610 Introduction to the Chaplaincy. These courses involve two consecutive 12-week semesters – 800 hours total, of which 600 hours are documented as a ministry of presence with the “parishioner” (“patient,” “inmate,” “soldier,” veteran;”) and 200 hours are in didactic and reflection, i.e., lectures, supervised theological reflection, and peer-to-peer dialogue – culminating in competency-based review/examination that measures knowledge and praxis to standards and stated outcomes.
What is CPE?
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is the nationally and internationally recognized certification for pastoral care and counseling training, especially for those serving as chaplains and pastoral counselors in institutions. Institutional sectors include military, state and federal civil service, Veteran care, healthcare, first responders, industrial, corporate, and incarceration.
What Does Training Look Like?
CPE is taught using competency-based education (CBE), in which candidates must demonstrate proficiency before advancing to the next level of training. CPE is conducted under a certified supervisor within a cohort. Using verbatim, didactic material, and theological reflection, students consider the place of “self” in spiritual assessment, diagnosis, and spiritual guidance of “parishioners.” CPE incorporates praxis, peer-to-peer, and supervisor-to-cohort forums for ministry evaluation.
Our on-site training partner, the Institute of Clinical Pastoral Training, give the following details:
- 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.
- At ICPT, students engage in hybrid learning which blends both on-site and interactive distance learning modules.
- The CPE training program includes various methods of didactic and applied learning:
- Students participate in 100 hours of didactic lectures offered live and via interactive distance learning (IDL).
- Students journal their learning in weekly Reflection Reports which depict significant experiences with patients and thoughts about ministry.
- Students prepare Case Studies that outline interactions with patients or counselees.
- Students engage in weekly one-on-one Coaching/Supervisory Sessions with experienced CPE Supervisors. The weekly sessions allow students to receive personalized instruction, guidance and mentoring. Sessions may be conducted live or via interactive distance technology such as Zoom or Skype.
- Students participate in interactive Peer Reviews where they discuss their work and the work conducted by their classmates. Peer review in the CPE program provides opportunities for students to expand their perspectives and to collaborate with interdisciplinary teams.
- CPE students partake in 300 hours of supervised Clinical Training at their current place of ministry or any number of settings including but not limited to; hospitals, hospice houses, corporate settings, prison systems, skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and community organizations.
Registration for CPE at Erskine: 5 Steps for a Life of Service
- Take your prerequisite Erskine courses: PM 608 Pastoral Care and Counseling, and PM 610 Introduction to Chaplaincy.
- Register with Erskine for PM 774/775 Clinical Pastoral Education I / II (for credit).
- Enroll in the next available CPE training cohort through the Institution of Clinical Pastoral Training (ICPT).
- Present your certificate of completion, a verbatim, and final theological reflection paper to the Erskine CPE Supervisor and professor of record.
- If you desire, you are ready for board certification through the Association of Certified Christian Chaplains (ACCC).
Benefits of CPE at Erskine
- Accredited – Erskine students receive fully accredited CPE training.
- Accessible – Erskine students train within a framework of online and on-site.
- Adaptive – Erskine students complete CPE training in their places of ministry.
- Affordable – Erskine students save money. There is no disruption to family, work, and ministry.
- Accomplished – Erskine students have the option of graduating with a chaplaincy concentration, being prepared academically and practically to assume duties at one of the many growing chaplaincy sectors.