Clinical Pastoral Education Frequently Asked Questions

How can CPE prepare me to be a chaplain?

CPE at Beaumont is an educational program particularly geared to any individual seeking a career in hospital ministry. Courses taken through Beaumont are fully accredited with commendation through the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE), Inc., of Decatur, Georgia, and the U.S. Department of Education. A Beaumont CPE student could expect to spend approximately 75 percent of his/her time in the practice of pastoral service and spiritual care with Beaumont patients, their support persons, and staff. The remaining time is spent in instruction, supervision, group life, and study. They also provide weekly written pastoral care reports and attend skill labs and interdisciplinary seminars. Beaumont CPE also offers pastoral specialization, which focuses on a participant's desire to become competent and knowledgeable in a particular area of ministry, such as ethics, hospice, oncology, or trauma.

Is a Master's degree required for CPE?

Admission standards at Beaumont require that the equivalent of one year of seminary training be completed in order to provide a base for some theological reflection and practice.

A Master's degree or equivalent is required for admission to the residency program.

For further information, see CPE admission criteria.

What does overnight clinical practicum involve?

The Beaumont chaplain intern or resident provides spiritual and emotional care to patients, as well as their support persons, where indicated, and collegial support to interdisciplinary staff persons throughout the entire hospital from 10:00 PM to 6:30 AM. The overnight chaplain carries the trauma pager and responds to all traumas (Emergency Center), CPRs, deaths, and all other requests for a chaplain. This usually includes providing emotional and spiritual support for persons in crisis. The CPE intern or resident can expect to have fourteen such opportunities for their learning and professional development per unit of CPE.

What does holiday responsibility involve?

30-week Extended Unit: two of the following: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's
20-week Extended Unit: Memorial Day
10-week Summer Intensive Unit: Independence Day
Residency: all of the above plus Labor Day

Holiday shifts typically are six to eight hours each.

How much clinical (and other) time is required each week?

The time investment required for successful completion of a unit of CPE varies according to the type of unit. Here are some guides:

  • January Extended Unit: An average of Twenty-four (24) clinical hours, including the overnight and holiday clinical practicums, plus four hours didactics per week, plus one hour of individual supervision every two weeks.
  • Fall Extended Unit: An average of Sixteen (16) clinical hours, including the overnight and two holiday clinical practicums, plus four hours didactics per week, plus one hour of individual supervision every two weeks.
  • Summer Intensive Unit: An average of Thirty-Two (32) clinical hours, including the overnight and holiday clinical practicums and some weekend and evening practicum experience, plus ten (10) hours didactics, plus one hour of individual supervision per week.

Assigned reading and writing of pastoral care reports and self-evaluations are also required for all units. An allowance of adequate time for completion of these would also need to be factored into your plans.

In what way(s) does my learning in CPE enable me to become more effective in carrying out my own liturgical and/or homiletical responsibilities in my own religious denomination?

The leadership of, or assistance at, two Beaumont religious services in our Spiritual Care Center is required per unit of CPE. Muslim prayer services are conducted in the early afternoon on Fridays. Jewish Shabbat services are conducted in the late afternoon on Fridays. Roman Catholic masses are offered on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, also on the first Friday of each month and on Holy Days of Obligation. Inter-denominational Christian prayer or Scripture services are conducted on Sunday mornings and on religious holidays such as Easter and Christmas. Memorial services are arranged as needed. By prior arrangement and approval of their supervisor, CPE interns and residents of various faith traditions may lead prayer services and/or conduct services either at Beaumont or at their own places of worship. Each intern and resident is expected to submit one written worship service report per unit for critique.

What is the cost for the program?

The application processing fee (non-refundable) is $35. A $75 deposit is required on acceptance to hold one's place in the program. Upon matriculation, this deposit is applied towards the unit's tuition. Tuition for the first unit of CPE taken at Beaumont currently is $1,000. Subsequent consecutive units are currently $675.

Is one unit of CPE required before applying for a residency?

Yes. Beaumont requires the successful completion at the minimum of one unit of CPE prior to being considered for a residency. Our residencies are structured to provide for a minimum of three units of CPE. Our Center does not offer two-unit residencies.

How many units of CPE are required for board certification as a chaplain?

A number of major certifying bodies, e.g., the Association of Professional Chaplains, the National Association of Catholic Chaplains, and the National Association of Jewish Chaplains require a minimum of four units of CPE for Board Certification. In our experience, however, five units provide opportunity for more practice and better integration of learning and competency development, offering a better basis for meeting a Board Certification Committee than the four-unit person might have. It is recommended that you contact these organizations directly about these and other requirements.

Are residencies only for graduates of theological seminaries?

CPE residencies are primarily for persons seeking to be professional (i.e. board certified) chaplains. Therefore, it makes good sense to have the academic requirements for board certification completed or at least well underway before entering into a CPE residency. 

What makes a unit of CPE at Beaumont unique or different from what I might find in other CPE Centers?

Beaumont places a stronger emphasis on the development of professionalism in the delivery of spiritual and emotional care than the intern or resident might find in other centers, including requirements for more clinical hours and didactic input than the minimum ACPE standards require, more emphasis on interdisciplinary teamwork and ministry than many centers require, and more emphasis on developing diversity competencies in ministry than many require or have the opportunities and resources to offer.

For additional useful information and more Frequently Asked Questions about CPE in general, visit the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education FAQ page.