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Standards & Objectives

We adhere to the following Standards and Objectives set by Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). For more information contact:
One West Court Square, Suite 325
Decatur, GA 30033
(404) 320-1472

Standards 309-310 Objectives and Outcomes of ACPE Accredited Programs

CPE provides theological and professional education using the clinical method of learning in diverse contexts of ministry. ACPE accredits two types of clinical pastoral education programs: CPE Level I/Level II and Certified Educator CPE. ACPE accredited programs provide a progressive learning experience through a two level curriculum. Level I curriculum outcomes must be satisfactorily addressed prior to admission to Level II. Completion of CPE Level I/Level II curriculum outcomes is a prerequisite for admission to Certified Educator CPE.

CPE Level I/Level II enables pastoral formation, pastoral competence, and pastoral reflection. Some CPE centers offer pastoral specialization(s) as part of their Level II curriculum.

CPE Level I/Level II objectives define the scope of the CPE Level I/Level II program curricula. Outcomes define the competencies to be developed by students as a result of participating in each of the programs.

Standard 309: The center designs its CPE Level I/Level II curriculum to facilitate the students’ achievement of the following objectives:

Pastoral Formation

309.1 to develop students’ awareness of themselves as ministers and of the ways their ministry affects persons.

309.2 to develop students’ awareness of how their attitudes, values, assumptions, strengths, and weaknesses affect their pastoral care.

309.3 to develop students’ ability to engage and apply the support, confrontation, and clarification of the peer group for the integration of personal attributes and pastoral functioning.  

Pastoral Competence

309.4 to develop students’ awareness and understanding of how persons, social conditions, systems, and structures affect their lives and the lives of others and how to address effectively these issues through their ministry.

309.5 to develop students’ skills in providing intensive and extensive pastoral care and counseling to persons.

309.6 to develop students' ability to make effective use of their religious/spiritual heritage, theological understanding, and knowledge of the behavioral sciences and applied clinical ethics in their pastoral care of persons and groups.

309.7 to teach students the pastoral role in professional relationships and how to work effectively as a pastoral member of a multidisciplinary team.

309.8 to develop students’ capacity to use one’s pastoral and prophetic perspectives in preaching, teaching, leadership, management, pastoral care, and pastoral counseling.

Pastoral Reflection

309.9 to develop students’ understanding and ability to apply the clinical method of learning.

309.10 to develop students’ abilities to use both individual and group supervision for personal and professional growth, including the capacity to evaluate one’s ministry.

Standard 310: Where a pastoral care specialty is offered, the CPE center designs its CPE Level II curriculum to facilitate the students' achievement of the following additional objectives.

310.1 to afford students opportunities to become familiar with and apply relevant theories and methodologies to their ministry specialty.

310.2 to provide students opportunities to formulate and apply their philosophy and methodology for the ministry specialty.

310.3 to provide students opportunities to demonstrate pastoral competence in the practice of the specialty.

Standards 311 – 312: Outcomes of CPE Level I/Level II Programs

Standard 311: Outcomes of CPE Level I

The curriculum for CPE Level I addresses the fundamentals of pastoral formation, pastoral competence and pastoral reflection through one or more program units. At the conclusion of CPE Level I, students are able to:  

Pastoral Formation

311.1 articulate the central themes and core values of one's religious/spiritual heritage and the theological understanding that informs one's ministry.

311.2 identify and discuss major life events, relationships, social location cultural contexts and social realities that impact personal identity as expressed in pastoral functioning.

311.3 initiate peer group and supervisory consultation and receive critique about one’s ministry practice.

Pastoral Competence

311.4 risk offering appropriate and timely critique with peers and supervisors.

311.5 recognize relational dynamics within group contexts.

311.6 demonstrate the integration of conceptual understandings presented in the curriculum into pastoral practice.

311.7 initiate helping relationships within and across diverse populations.

Pastoral Reflection

311.8 use the clinical methods of learning to achieve one's educational goals.

311.9 formulate clear and specific goals for continuing pastoral formation with reference to one's strengths and weaknesses as identified through self-reflection, supervision, and feedback.

Standard 312: Outcomes of CPE Level II

The curriculum for CPE Level II addresses the development and integration of pastoral formation, pastoral competence and pastoral reflection to a level of competence that permits students to attain professional certification and/or admission to Certified Educator CPE. The

Certified Educator's final evaluation will include a statement attesting to the competence demonstrated at the time of the evaluation.

Progression into Level II requires a level of competency in the Level I outcomes that permits the student to be building upon those competencies and no longer needing to address them as primary learning objectives. This is established through the Certified Educator’s judgment documented in the written evaluation (cf. Standard 308.8.2).

At the conclusion of CPE Level II students are able to:

Pastoral Formation

312.1 articulate an understanding of the pastoral role that is congruent with one's personal and cultural values, basic assumptions and personhood.  

Pastoral Competence

312.2 provide pastoral ministry with diverse people, taking into consideration multiple elements of cultural and ethnic differences, social conditions, systems, justice and applied clinical ethics issues without imposing one's own perspectives.

312.3 demonstrate a range of pastoral skills, including listening/attending, empathic reflection, conflict resolution/transformation, confrontation, crisis management, and appropriate use of religious/spiritual resources.

312.4 assess the strengths and needs of those served, grounded in theology and using an understanding of the behavioral sciences.

312.5 manage ministry and administrative function in terms of accountability, productivity, self-direction, and clear, accurate professional communication.

312.6 demonstrate competent use of self in ministry and administrative function which includes: emotional availability, cultural humility, appropriate self- disclosure, positive use of power and authority, a non-anxious and non- judgmental presence, and clear and responsible boundaries.

Pastoral Reflection

312.7 establish collaboration and dialogue with peers, authorities and other professionals.

312.8 demonstrate awareness of the Common Qualifications and Competencies for Professional Chaplains. Note: The ACPE Standards and Code of Ethics supersede these standards.

312.9. demonstrate self-supervision through realistic self-evaluation of pastoral functioning.

Standard 313: Objectives of Certified Educator CPE

Through Certified Educator CPE, qualified persons who have demonstrated pastoral, professional and clinical competence will develop competence in the art, theory and practice of supervision of clinical pastoral education.

The objectives of Certified Educator CPE define the scope of the Certified Educator CPE program curriculum. Outcomes define the competencies that result from a supervisory student’s participation in Certified Educator CPE programs.

Standard 313: The Certified Educator CPE center designs its Certified Educator CPE curriculum to facilitate achievement of the following objectives.

313.1 to develop supervisory students' knowledge in theories and methodologies related to CPE supervision drawn from theology; professional, applied clinical and organizational ethics; the behavioral sciences; and adult education.

313.2 to provide students practice in the supervision of CPE under the supervision of an ACPE Certified Educator.

313.3 to facilitate students’ integration of the theory and practice of CPE supervision in their identity as a person, pastor, and educator.

Standards 314 – 319: Outcomes of Certified Educator CPE

Standard 314: Outcomes achieved by Certified Educator CPE students accrue in six areas of competency derived from the Certified Educator CPE objectives. A successful candidate for certification as ACPE Associate Certified Educator demonstrates the following:

Standard 315: Competence as a pastoral supervisor:

315.1 maintains personal integrity and a deepening pastoral identity.

315.2 demonstrates emotional and spiritual maturity.

315.3 forms meaningful pastoral relationships.

315.4 self-supervises own on-going pastoral practice.

315.5 refines one’s professional identity as a clinical pastoral educator.

315.6 ability to explicate how one's personal history and culture affect professional and personal identity, pastoral practice, the supervisory relationship, and student learning.

Standard 316: Competence in the theories of supervision:

316.1 articulates understanding of and methodology for clinical pastoral supervision based on a critical grasp of the professional literature relating to the field of clinical supervision.

316.2 articulates and implements a philosophy of CPE based on an educational model integrating the theory and practice of CPE, which is based on and congruent with one’s theology.

316.3 articulates rationale for multicultural competence, integrating the theory and practice of CPE, which is based on and congruent with one’s theology.

Standard 317: Competence in the practice of CPE supervision including:

317.1 individual supervision

317.1.1 assesses an individual student’s learning patterns, personality, religious history, and cultural values as a basis for supervisory strategies.

317.1.2 supervises students’ pastoral work, giving attention to unique patterns of personal and professional development, including the ability to assist students’ movement toward pastoral identity.

317.1.3 defines and evaluates students’ pastoral and personal resources, and uses supervisory strategies and interventions to facilitate students’ learning and development in pastoral care.

317.1.4 assists students in taking responsibility for formulating a learning process and evaluating the results of the learning experience.

317.1.5 uses one’s personality and personal, religious and cultural history as a teaching resource in shaping a personal supervisory style.

317.2 group CPE supervision

317.2.1 facilitates development of group interpersonal interaction.

317.2.2 enables students to use their responses to the program as a learning experience.

Standard 318: Competence in CPE program design and implementation:

318.1 develops and organizes programs of CPE based on program educational principles appropriate to experiential learning.

318.2 manages CPE programs effectively.

318.3 develops a variety of CPE program resources.

318.4 uses diverse clinical educational methods.

318.5 works with the theological implications of the ministry context.

318.6 understands and uses applied clinical ethics as they relate to CPE and pastoral practice.

318.7 uses appropriate clinical skills and teaching methods that integrate the role of context and culture in pastoral practice and education.

318.8 advocates for students based on awareness of how persons’ social locations, systems, and structures affect one’s ministry, learning, and the educational context.

318.9 considers cultural factors in the use of learning assessments, educational strategies, curriculum resources, and evaluation procedures.

Standard 319: Competence in pastoral education:

319.1 integrates educational theory; knowledge of behavioral science, applied clinical ethics, theology, and pastoral identity into supervisory function.

319.2 demonstrates awareness of the cultural contexts of diverse student groups and clinical populations that integrates and articulates ethnic identity development and its implications for pastoral practice and supervisory relationships.

Standard 320: Appeal of Adverse Accreditation Decisions

Applicants seeking accreditation have a right to request a review of an adverse decision and a right to an orderly presentation of views when a decision is appealed.

320.1 The procedures for filing an appeal, designed to ensure the right of due process as defined by the U.S. Department of Education, are found in the ACPE 2016 Accreditation Manual Appendix 9 Appeal of Adverse Accreditation Decision(s).

320.2 An appeal must be based on the grounds that such decision was:
  • arbitrary, capricious or otherwise in violation of ACPE standards or the ACPE Accreditation Manual;
  • OR
  • not supported by substantial evidence in the record on which the adverse decision was based.