Clinical Pastoral Education “CPE” Training

Class begins July 2022

CPE Training for Chaplains

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is an interfaith professional education for ministry. It brings you into supervised encounters with people in crisis. Through intense involvement with people in need of spiritual care, and the feedback you receive from peers and teachers, you develop new awareness of yourself as a person, your abilities as a caregiver, and the needs of those whom you serve. Through reflection on specific human situations, you learn to use your faith as a lens that focuses your understanding of spiritual care. Within the interdisciplinary process of helping others, you develop skills in interpersonal and inter-professional relationships.

CPE Chaplain Certification

Our CPE program benefits from the expertise of many health care professionals, including ACPE Certified Educators and Staff Chaplains. CPE students regularly participate in educational workshops that include didactic sessions with guest speakers and group and individual reflection opportunities.
The CPE Center is designed for people preparing to enter professional hospital or hospice chaplaincy or congregational ministry. Many are seminary or rabbinical students completing CPE to fulfill denominational requirements. Students can participate either as interns (for a single unit) or residents (for four consecutive units).

Chaplain Training in Arizona

The CPE Center strives to maintain a diverse faculty and student population, including people of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The SJHMC CPE Program is committed to providing equal opportunity in the admissions process, without discrimination based on age, gender, race, national origin, disability, religious affiliation, or veteran status.


Dan Meissner (480) 710-8372 or
Dr. Karen Drake, Primus University of Theology, (602) 224-1161

How You Can Participate

As a CPE student, you can expect to participate in the following ways:

Direct Ministry with Patients, Residents, Loved Ones, Families, and Staff

Most of your time will involve working as a chaplain in a specific unit of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center providing spiritual care to the people who come onto your unit. In addition, you will participate in the overnight and weekend on-call rotation, serving as the chaplain for the entire hospital on a rotating basis (usually once every five to six days).

Clinical Supervision or Individual Education Sessions

You will receive individual and group supervision/education in all areas of your training. This includes one hundred hours of supervised education for every three hundred hours of clinical work. A final evaluation will be presented at the end of each unit of CPE. The primary Educators for the program are certified Educators with the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) and the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC).

Peer Group Work

You will join a group with other CPE students and an ACPE Certified Educator. You will present cases that are based on your clinical work, reflect on your faith tradition, simulate incidents, practice pastoral responses, and engage in interpersonal group relations.

Didactic Workshops and Seminars

You will attend presentations on topics related to spiritual care and assessment, ethics, behavioral sciences, hospital chaplaincy, cultural sensitivity, interfaith awareness, and other issues.

Reading and Writing Assignments

You will be expected to do supplemental reading and prepare papers related to your learning goals and the ACPE Objectives and Outcomes.

Skills You Will Learn

The CPE Center is designed to help you gain experience and expertise in the following areas:

Pastoral Reflection

Reflecting on yourself as a person and minister in relation to people in crisis, your ACPE Educator and your peers, as well as the CPE curriculum and the hospital in which you are serving.

Pastoral Formation

Focusing on your personal and pastoral identity issues in learning and ministry.

Pastoral Competence

Deepening and unfolding your competence in functioning as a spiritual caregiver including skill development and knowledge of faith traditions and the behavioral sciences.

Pastoral Specialization

Supporting your desire to become competent and knowledgeable in a particular area of clinical service, e.g., oncology, emergency, outpatient, general medical-surgical, palliative care, cardiology, rehabilitation, psychiatry, etc.

Types of Programs Available

Accredited to provide Level One (I) and Level Two (II) CPE training by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (


A CPE Internship consists of one unit of training. The program will begin in July 2022 and conclude in November 2022.

Admission Requirements, Application and Accreditation

Admission Process

Committed to considering all qualified applicants and to enhancing the educational experience by selecting students with a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. We select students who are seminarians, ministers, religious professionals, and lay persons according to aptitude, ability, and potential for ministry without regard to race, gender, age, faith group, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.

Application Requirements

Contact: Dan Meissner (480) 710-8372 or
Dr. Karen Drake, Primus University of Theology, (602) 224-1161

Admission Interview

After a completed application has been screened by our CPE faculty, the applicant may be invited for an admission interview at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. The purpose of the interview is both to acquaint the applicant with the program and to learn more about the applicant in a personal encounter, and to give the interview and introduction to the program and the clinical setting. The interview committee will include both Rev. Dr. Ted Asfaw, the ACPE Certified Educator for the program and community members who support the CPE Program.

Minimum Admissions Criteria

  • Academic preparation: Bachelor's degree, and at least one year of theological education, or specialized training in the applicant's faith tradition. Applicants will concurrently enroll in the Master of Divinity [MDiv] Program with Primus University of Theology.
  • Educational readiness: motivation, openness to clinical learning, participation in individual and group supervision, and capacity for self-reflection.
  • Aptitude for interpersonal work: capacity to function professionally in a hospital environment and ability to minister in a multicultural, multi-faith setting.
  • Writing and word processing skills sufficient to manage use of hospital computerized information systems and to produce weekly written assignments off-site.
  • Practical considerations related to fulfilling program requirements, including clinical assignments, educational components, and on-call responsibilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is required to complete a CPE unit?

To receive credit for a full unit of CPE training, you must complete at least three hundred hours of clinical service (providing spiritual care) and one hundred hours of educational time, which includes group sessions and individual educational sessions. If you are absent during a unit, you may be required to make up clinical hours to receive credit. You must also fulfill the written and reading requirements, which include a weekly verbatim report (i.e., a record of a conversation you have with a patient or other care recipient), a weekly highlight report, and a weekly review/summary of your individual supervisory session, assigned reading, a mid-unit self-evaluation, and a final self-evaluation.

There seems to be so much to know. Will I receive any orientation?

Yes, we provide a full orientation to the CPE program, including a comprehensive student handbook that should answer many of your questions about working as a chaplain in a hospital environment. In addition, you will participate in the hospital and department orientation within the first two weeks of the CPE program.

Will my individual ACPE Certified Educator be qualified?

Yes, All the ACPE Educators on staff are certified to supervise CPE students by ACPE, Inc., In addition to ACPE certification, Rev. Dr. Ted Asfaw is an Affiliate Member with the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC).

Can I be certified as a chaplain after taking CPE?

Four units of ACPE are required to apply to become a Board-Certified Chaplain.

Will I be able to find work as a chaplain after taking CPE?

While we can offer no guarantees, we do have an incredibly good history in placing our CPE students in chaplaincy positions. We put a high emphasis on providing spiritual care to our patients, and frequently facilities consult us to locate potential candidates for available staff chaplain jobs.