About the ACPE Program

We invite you to learn more about what we have done and are doing in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Baptist Health System. As we reflect upon the evolution of the ACPE program at BHS, the breadth of service and education we provide, our system---wide integration with Baptist Medical Center, Mission Trail Baptist Hospital, North Central Baptist Hospital, Northeast Baptist Hospital and St. Luke’s Baptist Hospital, we believe we offer truly exceptional opportunities for Clinical Pastoral Education and Certified Educator Candidacy.

The Clinical Pastoral Education Program at Baptist Health System functions as an element of the Division of Mission and Ministry. The Association of Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. (ACPE) trains professionals and laypersons for ministry in hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, mental health centers, congregations and in other specialized settings. Through CPE, you'll develop skills and understanding to serve people at crossroads in their lives. Some are dealing with serious illnesses; some are aging or facing new challenges; others are dealing with death.

Our ACPE history has evolved to offer both impressive service in our clinical areas and education for students. From its beginning in 1961 as part of the Pastoral Care Department, the CPE program currently includes two ACPE Certified Educators, one Certified Educator Candidate position, six stipend Residents, six Summer Interns, and six Extended Interns.

Our ACPE Professional Advisory Group (PAG) provides strong support, consultation, and advocacy from our culturally diverse community and institution that ensures continued accountability and visionary leadership. The CPE students, whether Residents, Extended Interns or Summer Interns, work closely with our faculty, Baptist Health System healthcare professionals, and with a rich diversity of patients.

Baptist Health System is a fully accredited ACPE center offering certified units of CPE and a CPE Certified Educator Candidate (CEC) education. Because of our rich diversity of learning opportunities and our outstanding faculty, our CPE program is competitive with the finest CPE programs in the United States.

Family and faith-centered pastoral care is the program’s emphasis providing students with significant growth in their pastoral/personal formation. The family centered care has provided a natural setting for family systems theory, faith development and spiritual assessment to stimulate the students’ growth and integration. The emergence of interest in spirituality has created a positive environment where our students truly feel a part of the team.

We provide mentor relationships through the presence of not only staff chaplains but other key clinical personnel who give students needed support and encouragement as well as collegial accountability of service expectations on the respective clinical area. Because the mentors consist of those outside of the respective Pastoral Care Departments as well, we believe the level of investment and integration of our ACPE program into the lifeblood of our Baptist Health System is certainly present. This is a definitive strength in professional development and pastoral formation, and provides a strong basis for CEC Education.



The Residency is a full time, twelve-month long program of pastoral care education with an emphasis in pastoral formation, reflection and competence with curricula covering pastoral visitation, end of life care and decision making, family systems thinking, faith development, cultural competence and specialized areas of ministry. The program begins in late August and concludes the following late August. Whether one is called to congregational, community, military, clinical ministry or something in between, the Residency provides opportunity for students to function with greater wholeness, health and awareness. The Residency also provides the necessary education to contribute to the student’s credentialing as a Board-Certified Chaplain by the Association of Professional Chaplains.

Summer Internship

The Summer Internship is a full time, ten-week long program for seminarians, clergy or selected lay people who meet the requirements for CPE. The program begins in late May and concludes in the first week of August. Students completing the Summer Internship receive credit for one unit of CPE.

Fall Extended Clinical Internship

The Fall Extended Clinical Unit is designed for seminarians, clergy or selected laypersons that meet the requirements for CPE. The part-time Fall program begins in mid-August and concludes in mid-January. Interns are assigned to one of the five Baptist Health System Hospitals to accumulate the minimum or 300 clinical ministry hours required for a unit of CPE. Seminars are scheduled primarily on Fridays from 8:30am-2:30pm. This program is 20 weeks long with a weekly commitment of 15-20 hours including the 6 hours of seminar time.

Certified Educator Candidate (CEC)

CEC's are those who have demonstrated clinical and pastoral ministry skills and show potential to be a pastoral educator. Persons in this program learn the art and skills of clinical ministry as an ACPE Certified Educator. The length of time to complete this program is determined by the readiness and demonstrated competence of the CEC Student.