What is CPE  -- Clinical Pastoral Education?  

Here at The Clinical Pastoral Education Training Institute, our mission is to provide
clinical training for theological and practicing clergy, chaplains,social workers,medical
professionals, and others involved in spiritual services within the broader field of Human

Clinical Pastoral Education (typically shortened and simply called "CPE") involves
professional education for those who minister to others.  The areas where CPE graduates
most commonly serve is in hospitals,
Hospices, Long Term Care
Facilities, post-surgical Rehab
Centers and, often in First
Responder, Prison, and Human
Services situations.

The operative term is "clinical".
Historically, CPE training is
offered as a graduate-level
educational program to those
who have completed theological
seminary schooling.

Because people serving in ministries have typically previously completed formal academic
studies, CPE education focuses on what is  most commonly called "process education"
or, sometimes, "methodology education."  You will also hear references to terms such as
direct service, practicum, field work.

Here at North America's CPE Training Institute, internally, we tend to refer to this phase of
ministerial education simply as a practicum.  This highlights the fact that this professional
education primarily occurs in a clinical setting rather than in a classroom environment.  (As
with the other major CPE training organization, we do require some online "classroom"
lessons to be completed.  (More details below, on this page.)


What is the difference between CPE training and traditional
professional education?

Students do some "classroom" learning but the strongest emphasis is working with
patients in providing direct person-to-person pastoral care.  You will read below that
for each hour spent
in "classroom" instruction, five will be spent in actual practice with clients / patients.

(You will notice as you read further that we tend to put the term "classroom instruction"
in quotations.  This is due to the fact that in your
Clinical Pastoral Education Training
program, you will be able to meet your "book learning" requirement online
through our Fast-Track distance learning option.  Your practicum service will be in
your home community


Is Clinical Pastoral Education both interfaith and multicultural at

You are at North America's Clinical Pastoral Education
Training Institute
website.  As you read on, you will see that
CPEti follows the nearly century-long tradition among CPE
providers in offering bias-free training without respect to
religious tradition, ethnicity, gender, national origin, or other
classifications that have long been used to discriminate
against specific groups of
people.  The founder of
CPE training (see below)
believed that, since
patients emerge from a
wide variety of
backgrounds, their care
providers should be
sensitive to their origins,
religious beliefs, personal
and cultural diversity.  The
Clinical Pastoral Education
Training Institute adheres
to these standards in both our institutional mission and in
actual practice.  This commitment is expected of all CPE
graduates in ministerial service, regardless of the source of
their education.


History of CPE  -- Clinical Pastoral Education

    Please read the following as it will answer many questions
    pertaining to your possible enrollment in a CPE program

    Richard Cabot, MD:
    Professional practice of pastoral care has a long history within
    Christianity, and to some extent, in other global faith traditions.  
    The non-denominational, inter-faith training that is associated
    with clinical pastoral education today was actually born in the
    early part of  20th century.

    Although CPE training is becoming more and more in-demand
    in our time, it has actually changed very little during the past

    Looking at the earliest days of this important educational field,
    it was back in 1925 that a Harvard Divinty School lecturer and
    medical doctor, Richard Cabot, began promoting the idea that
    every candidate for ministry should perform mandatory direct
    patient care.  This clinical education would require all divinity
    students to get out of the classroom and onto the hospital wards
    where patients were being treated. He strongly believed that,
    just as medical students were -- and are -- required to undergo
    extensive clinical training, the same should be true for those
    entering ministry and associated pastoral services.

    Dr. Cabot wasn't alone:  enter Anton T. Boisen:

    In this same period, a Chicagoan named Anton Boisen, became
    interested in Clinical Pastoral Education after he began suffering
    periodic psychotic episodes that required hospitalization.  In
    between periods of treatment, Boisen was able to function normally.  
    He was able to persuade the Chicago Theological Seminary to
    allow him to work with patients who were being treated in area
    mental hospitals.  He founded a program known as Chicago
    Council for the Clinical Training of Theological Students.  This
    established the practice of putting seminarians in supervised
    direct care contact with mental hospital patients.

    During the year 1924, William Bryan of the Worcester State
    Hospital became familiar with Boisen's work and he extended an
    invitation for him to become a hospital chaplain.   The following
    year he began a program there specifically designed to provide
    clinical training for divinity students in the area.

    NOTE:  Although there was a long period of evolution, name changing, and fine-tuning,
    today's well-known ACPE program can be traced back to Boisen's early work.

    Similarly, the early seeds of our now-global Clinical Pastoral Education Training
    Institute (CPETI) blossomed in the pioneering secular service ministry work of  the
    visionary Reverend John Gormley during the 1960's. An offshoot in turn evolved into
    the Spiritual Training Center in the late1980s, and this grew into the inter-faith teaching
    ministry, The Love Church Worldwide, of which CPETI is a Center of Educational


Our program is BOTH an online educational experience ... AND
a hands-on experience in your own community

"Classroom" instruction vs. "Clinical" experience:  
are students also required to complete  "classroom lessons"?

Both of North America's
well-known CPE training
programs require both
clinical practicum
learning and classroom

But there is a major
difference:  Our Clinical
Pastoral Education
Training Institute (CPETI)
program is unique in
major ways:

1.  Our "classroom" instruction can be taken online which is not permitted elsewhere to the
best of our knowledge.  This means that you do not have to interrupt your personal and
professional life to go off to a brick and mortar facility for classes.

2.  Your practicum requirement can be met by arranging for supervised clinical service in
your home community.  Our CPETI team will actively participate both with you
and a
qualified professional where you live and work to complete this all-important requirement.


Will I perform my Practicum service before or after
completing the online portion of my program?

1.  Typically, CPEti students complete their required online "classroom" lessons before
beginning their practicum service.  This arrangement is a "guideline" and is flexible depending on
individual circumstances.

2.  During the period of working on "classroom" lessons, most students begin making
arrangements for the place where they will fulfill their direct patient care (or direct client
care) service.  This includes making the arrangements for a local supervisor / mentor to
oversee students' practicum experience.

3.  The actual scheduling of the phases is flexible.  If, for example, a CPE student has
obtained program permission to use his or her current professional or community to fulfil
practicum requirements, it might be convenient to work on both simultaneously.

Our goal is to work with you to create a program that fulfils
your needs, not ours.  


Can you explain the breakdown of "classroom" lessons as
opposed to the field study practicum?

Most of our students are mid-career adult learners
who come into our program with one or more
degrees, or with extensive real-life experience that
qualifies them for admission.  Nonetheless, we
honor the age-old formula established back in the
1930's in Anton Boisen's Chicago Council for the
Clinical Training of Theological Students.  

The historical reality is that, for nearly 100 years,
CPE training has been based on
both "classroom"
and the all-important practicum field study


MENTORS:  What about me local mentor?  Who make arrangements
for one,
CPEti, or the student?  What does a mentor do?  Do I have
to pay her or him?  

DEFINING A MENTOR:   Perhaps it would be helpful to think of a mentor in your local community
as a sort of supervisor, or overseer, or helpful guide.  

:   You should choose a person to guide you who has already achieved the
professional position in which you wish to serve.  
This person has "been where you are" and
knows what steps you need to take to obtain
the training that is in order to achieve the
professional skills that you seek.  It is
preference that mentors have a Master of Divinity,
Master of Theology, Master of Social Work,
Licensed Counselor, Professional Chaplain,
or the equivalent.  Exceptions may be granted
for long-running experience in one of these
fields even if the applicant does not posses a
masters degree or doctorate.

It may be a real challenge to find someone who can give me a lot of time considering how busy
most professionals are today....   Please understand that your local mentor doesn't need
to act as your full-time teacher but, rather, helps guide you through your practicum / internship.  
This person typically assigns (or recommends) the activities you will perform in the direct-service
ministry/internship phase of your studies.  Your mentor will be available to answer questions as
they arise...will introduce you to people who will be willing to allow you to follow him or her on
rounds...and will ensure that you are progressing well.  

All in all, your mentor will continue with his or her professional obligations and will be working
with you as a part of his or her daily career duties.  Offering this oversight to you should not
unduly disrupt their own schedules.

:   It is important that CPE students actually complete the
traditionally required 300 hours of direct contact service.  At the end of your program, your
mentor will provide
CPEti a simple evaluation and confirmation of the completion of your service.

A WORD ABOUT PAYING YOUR MENTOR:  To our knowledge, no one has ever charged
money for taking a student under his or her wings for a few weeks.  Remember, you are
involved in ministry and the person you seek out assist a new generation of professionally
prepared ministers is very likely to be honored to share wisdom and encouragement with you
on a short-term basis.


Do I need to be
Ordained to be considered for a CPE

    Applicants to our CPE study program do not have to be
    Ordained although many students are in fact ordained and
    have been serving in pastoral or rabbinical leadership posts
    and wish to expand their professional skills. Whether
    prospective students are ordained or not, the Clinical
    Pastoral Education Training Institute gives preference to
    applicants who are deeply immersed in their faith and who
    have been serving humanity in a ministerial, spiritual social
    work,counseling, or other demonstrably meaningful manner.


What happens if I am unable to complete my Practicum due
to some unforeseen circumstances? Can I defer?  

Unless other arrangements are made with CPEti,
students who interrupt their studies for personal or
professional reasons have one year to get started
again.  If no agreement has been made with the
program, sadly, we must remove your name from
our roster of enrolled students.  Please work with our
Student Services team to ensure that we save a spot for
you if you need assistance in taking a temporary leave,
or hiatus.  
Contact Student Services >>  


Will I be on my own with a computer-graded online study
program, or will I be working with actual professors?

The answer to this question points out one of the strengths of The CPEti program.  Yes, you
will work with an actual live professor on every one of your online lessons.  You will read the
lesson sent to you by email, answer questions in a Knowledge Review at the end, and send
    your work in by
    return email.  

    At that point, your
    online professor
    will read your
    response, offer
    helpful comments
    or suggestions,
    and send these
    back to you along
    with the next lesson
    in your series.

Unlike the practices you are likely to encounter at any other school, you will not be assigned a
student "teaching assistant" or a para-professional.  While this is common at virtually all
colleges and universities today, here at the Clinical Pastoral Education Training Institute, your
faculty mentor will typically be ordained and will always have a masters and doctorate degree.  
She or he is selected based on knowledge, commitment to serve humanity...and genuine
desire to help students achieve their academic goals.

You mentor will almost always be available to assist you online by email within one work day.


Are we accredited by some other agency?  (We are often asked this....)

    We are an accrediting agency.  
    We are established to accredit other institutions who choose to teach our CPE
    curriculum.  CPEti, is not accredited by any external agency...one of our stated
    functions is t accredit others.  

    If you represent a Hospice, hospital, or another seminary or school, we would be happy
    to discuss your working with the Clinical Pastoral Education Training Institute to offer our
    global program to students in your community.  

    There is one other well known organization (ACPE) that has a long history of providing
    excellent training options.  They do not accredit CPEti and we do not accredit them.  
    We are separate entities with no relationship other than that our we here at the Clinical
    Pastoral Education Training Institute (CPEti) can tell you that ACPE has an excellent
    reputation and long history of service to the ministerial community.  

    If you decide to study under their auspices, you will be in good company.  

    If you opt to participate in our CPEti program, we will do everything in our power to
    ensure that you have a pleasant and productive experience.
One Clinical Pastoral Education unit requires
300 hours of non-classroom experience
which the student will be visiting patients and,
often, their loved ones.   The 300 direct contact
practicum hours will be conducted in your own
community.  You will arrange for a qualified
professional to work with you and supervise
your field studies
Students here at the Clinical Pastoral Eduction
Training Institute
(CPETI.org) must complete 36
online lessons that, in a former period of
history, would be taught in a bricks and mortar
classroom.  This averages to 100 hours
with your
CPEti  - Clinical Pastoral Education Training Institute
Please take some time and read this entire FAQs section carefully.  It answers every question that applicants
have asked us and should go far toward helping you as you make your future educational plans.  Thank you!

A not-for-proflt  educational program
EMAIL:   admin@cpeti.org
Tuition Cost:  Donation fee totals for CPE program study


                                                 1.  Each CPE student is required to complete  36
                                                          "written" lessons that are available online by the seminary

                                                 2.  Each student must also successfully complete a    
    minimum of  300 "contact hours" (supervised
    direct patient contact -- often called "a practicum",
    or "internship").  This will be performed in your local
    community under the mentorship of a spiritual professional
    who is interviewed by and who is acceptable to the seminary.

TUITION COSTS for Number 1 above: $750

TUITION COSTS for Number 2 above:



  •       $450 tuition donation
           No extra tuition will be added for the accompanying "written" lessons.



  •       No application fee is charged
  •        There is, however, a $250 non-refundable deposit.  
  •       This non-refundable deposit will be applied toward your total tuition
    fee IF you enroll.

  • If you require more than one CPE: Each Additional CPE Unit carries  
    a $450 tuition donation but with no extra tuition being added for the   
    pre-qualifying lessons that were completed while obtaining the single
    CPE unit as described above.   

    NOTE:  Some prospective employers will only consider applicants who are ordained.  Our
    seminary program can provide you with a curriculum that
    will lead to ordination.  If this applies to you, please discuss this need with your enrollment
    counselor, or write to:
-  Here is the very first step that you should take if considering enrolling in CPE studies:

One of our most frequently asked questions:  "Are you accredited by any other            
agency"?   Here is the