Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is one opportunity available for McAfee students to fulfill the 6 hours of internship requirement to complete their M.Div. or M.A.C.M. programs. CPE is the required internship choice for any student completing a combined degree  program with the M.S. in Clinical Mental Health and Counseling degree; but any student entering a ministerial field may find this internship choice beneficial.

Students who choose this option will complete 6 hours of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at a program accredited by the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). Led by pastoral educators who are highly trained and certified, this program explores spirituality and theology, human beings as understood by the human sciences, group process, adult learning, diversity and inclusion, and the art and science of spiritual care. Students choosing this option will receive 6 hours of credit at McAfee for completing a CPE program and a professions credential with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.

A unit of CPE is 400 hours and will help you better understand yourself, your gifts and struggles, how people react to you, and the skills of providing competent spiritual care. This program usually takes place in hospitals, counseling centers, hospice centers, and nursing homes. CPE provides close supervision with students on how to minister appropriately to patients with physical, emotional, and mental needs, and provides a forum for feedback, critique, and evaluation on the students’ skills and professional growth. For CPE, students apply to an outside program and receive one unit of CPE credit (an important credential for your resume and a prerequisite for some jobs, such as chaplaincy). One unit is 6 hours credit, pass/fail. CPE is available Fall, Spring, Summer, and in extended units.

CPE has been referred to as “boot camp for ministry,” a spiritual journey, support from a mentor and peers as you learn to work as a chaplain and learn a great deal about yourself as a minister. You will have the chance to experience being assigned as a chaplain to a particular hospital unit, crisis ministry (perhaps being on-call for intensive care patients and families), ministry with staff, patients, and families. These ministry experiences occur with the support of your certified pastoral educator and a small group of peers who are also learning. Taking action, then learning from it with support, then taking better action is a hallmark of a CPE program. CPE is the best and most comprehensive education for ministry I’ve ever experienced. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity.

For CPE, you apply to an outside program and you can receive one unit of CPE credit (important for your resume and some jobs). One unit is 6 hours credit, pass/fail. CPE is available Fall, Spring, Summer, and in extended units. McAfee hosts an annual CPE fair. You are encouraged to attend and learn more about the program.

For more information about the CPE experience or to find a CPE near you, please visit the following links:

If you need to talk to a faculty member, please email Denise Massey at