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Becoming a Board Certified Chaplain

Becoming a board certified chaplain is the highest standard in chaplaincy, much like a physician who is board certified in a medical specialty. This national certification is often required for chaplaincy positions. Essential requirements for certification include endorsement from your faith tradition, a master's degree from an accredited theological school, at least four units of CPE, post-training clinical pastoral experience, preparation of clinical materials and a face-to-face appearance before a certification committee.

In November 2004 the Council on Spiritual Care Collaborative, which is composed of six national chaplaincy and pastoral care organizations, created the Common Standards for Professional Chaplaincy and the qualifications required to apply for certification. These standards include specific competencies in the areas of theory of pastoral care, identity and conduct, pastoral care and professionalism. Three national chaplaincy organizations uphold these Common Standards and convey board certification:

  • The Association of Professional Chaplains (APC), which certifies chaplains from all faith traditions
  • The National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC), which only certifies chaplains from the Roman Catholic tradition
  • The National Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC), which only certifies chaplains from the Jewish tradition

Upstate's CPE program can help you meet these rigorous and challenging board certification standards through our progressive, experiential theological education tailored to your learning needs.