Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a method of learning pastoral/theological reflection, pastoral formation, and pastoral competence within clinical settings. The curriculum emphasizes small group sharing of ministry cases in order to integrate theological and behavioral science concepts within the praxis of patient care. At CHI Franciscan Interns/Residents learn and incorporate pastoral skills while functioning as chaplains in clinical settings.

CPE ministry settings include hospital, hospice, mental health and Homeless Adult Services. The scenic Pacific Northwest is the backdrop for the education.

The CHI Franciscan CPE program features the Christian spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi. It includes an organized method of spiritual assessment, spiritual intervention, and spiritual outcomes.

The CPE programs are conducted in units of a minimum of 400 hours each, with no less than 100 of those hours dedicated to individual and group educational sessions. CPE uses the clinical method of learning, also described as an action reflection model of learning. The action is providing spiritual care to patients, families and staff approximately two-thirds of the time and reflecting on those encounters through reading, writing, classroom work and individual supervision, approximately one third of the time. The programs are configured in four different ways to meet the diverse full time and part time needs of our applicants and the spiritual care needs of patients, families, staff members, clients and the community as a whole.

Summer internship

The hospital based summer unit is an eleven-week full-time program intended to introduce individuals to the clinical method of learning pastoral skills and developing a pastoral identity. The Intern builds competence as a spiritual care provider through extensive, intensive professional and peer feedback. Interns will learn the basics of spiritual care while also learning to understand themselves more fully as pastoral persons, pastoral providers and as team members.

Extended CPE internships

Hospital Based: Time requirement- 18-20 hours/week. A part-time unit offered two times a year, September–January and February-May, for seventeen–twenty weeks, depending upon the unit. Classroom education is usually from 4–9:30 p.m. one night a week. Clinical ministry is an additional 12-15 hours a week. Catholic Community Services’ Homeless Adult Ministries is one of the clinical placements for this unit, though it is outside the hospital.

Hospice Based: Time requirement- 14-16 hours/week. A part-time unit offered two times a year, July–December and January-June, for approximately 25 weeks, depending upon the unit. Classroom education is usually from 6–9 p.m. one night a week. The Hospice House (in patient) Clinical ministry is an additional 12-15 hours a week.

Six to seven Evening/night On Calls are required at St. Joseph Medical Center for Interns in both programs. These programs are designed for parish clergy, qualified lay persons, seminary students and health professionals who hope to improve their skills and pastoral identity as they provide spiritual care as well as for those seeking chaplaincy certification.


A year-long residency experience is available for students who have successfully completed at least one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. Typically, Residents have a Master’s Degree in Theology, Spiritual Care or Divinity. The residency positions are specialized in the fields of hospice, hospital system and community/crisis care. The residency curriculum emphasizes spiritual assessment, grief work skills, alcoholism referral competencies, family systems concepts, medical ethics involvement and pastoral group leadership. The residencies include a stipend of $30,000 with paid time off. An on-site interview is generally required before acceptance into a Resident year. See the criteria for admissions.

Resident Associate positions are also available but after the paid Resident positions have been filled. These non-paid full-time, year-long positions are similar to the paid Resident positions in they that provide care to patients and are part of the Residency group. They are different in that they have additional time off, receive meals while working and do not receive a stipend. There are other differences in expectation that can be explained in conversation with the center.

Supervisory CPE

Supervisory CPE is offered to students who have completed the objectives of Level I and Level II Clinical Pastoral Education; have had significant pastoral experience (usually three years); and wish to learn the practice of clinical supervision with a goal of becoming a CPE supervisor. In order to apply for supervisory CPE, individuals must contact the CPE Manager, Garrett Starmer, for an extended conversation about readiness and a FHS Supervisory Application.

Practical matters

Action on admission will be taken within three weeks of receiving applications. Final evaluations are written within 45 days of completion of each CPE Unit. Fees for the program are $600 for the first CPE unit and $400 for each successive unit.

  • A $100 non-refundable acceptance confirmation deposit will apply toward the tuition of the unit of training
  • No lodging is provided; the supervisor and staff can assist students in finding suitable lodging accommodations in the area
    • The responsibility for finding such housing rests with the student
  • Meals are provided for Interns and non-paid Residents when the Intern/Resident is on duty

Intern programs are usually scheduled to begin in early September (late August), December, March and June. The residency program begins in early September (late August). Extended programs begin in September and February.

Accrediting agencies

Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE - 1549 Claremont Road - Suite 103, Decatur, GA 30033-4635 404-320-1472 -