Clinical Pastoral Education Program

Pastoral Care Education Program, A diverse group of adults wearing protective face masks sit in a room and engage in a group talk session.

UAB offers a year-long residency program in which students can earn four (4) units 

of Level I or Level II CPE.  In order to maintain compliance with ACPE Standards, each CPE unit will involve a minimum of 400 hours.  This includes a minimum of 100 instructional hours involving theory, individual, and group supervision.

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is interfaith professional education for ministry. It brings theological students and ministers of all faiths (pastors, priests, rabbis, imams and others) into supervised encounter with persons in crisis. Out of an intense involvement with persons in need, and the feedback from peers and teachers, students develop new awareness of themselves as persons and of the needs of those to whom they minister.

From theological reflection on specific human situations, they gain a new understanding of ministry. Within the interdisciplinary team process of helping persons, they develop skills in interpersonal and inter-professional relationships.

How to Apply

For Residents:

What are the minimum requirements for applying for a 12 month CPE Residency?

  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field and two (2) years of service with a faith community required.
  • A Master of Divinity degree or Master’s in Theological Studies is preferred.
  • Work experience may not substitute for the minimum education requirement.
  • Ordination, Commission or Licensure as a minister / faith leader or in the process of obtaining such status also preferred.

How to apply:

  • Fill out an electronic application by visiting, click on “Search Open Jobs” under UAB Hospital, then click on “Search Openings,” and type in keyword “Chaplain Resident.”
  • Complete an ACPE application and mail it to Director of Spiritual Care & CPE, UAB Department of Spiritual Health, WP125, 615 18th ST S, Birmingham, AL 35249-6555. Or you can download the application in Word format, write and attach it in an email to The ACPE application can be found here.
  • Mail a $50.00 application fee. Make the check payable to “UAB Spiritual Health.”

If you have questions about applying for the one year residency starting end of August, please contact:

Suzanne Simmons, Certified Educator Candidate.



UAB Center for CPE is accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) to offer Level I, Level II and Certified Educator Candidate Education. 


UAB offers a year-long residency program in which students can earn four (4) units of Level I or Level II CPE.  In order to maintain compliance with ACPE Standards, each CPE unit will involve minimum of 100 hours of structured group and individual education and a minimum of 250 hours of supervised clinical practice in spiritual care. 


Occasionally UAB center for CPE offers one-unit CPE internships. 

Contact Suzanne Simmons at or (205) 996-9042 for more information. 

Clinical Assignments: 

UAB offers placement opportunities for clinical assignments for students in a variety of specialty areas. As a Level I Trauma Center, UAB provides opportunity for students to learn first-hand about spiritual care to individuals impacted by major trauma and loss.  Therefore, each CPE student can expect to provide in house on-call coverage during the evening, weekend, or holiday on a weekly basis.

This on-call coverage is included in the total hours expected each week.  Learning modules for Level I students might include but not be limited to the following:  Family Systems, Theological Reflection and Assessment, Grief and Loss, and a Skills Lab.  Learning modules for Level II students would include but not be limited to Leadership and Management, Ethics, Multi-Cultural Diversity, Substance Abuse and Its Impact on the Family.


Curriculum Description and Rationale:

As stated in ACPE Objectives & Outcomes for Level I & II, our CPE center designs its Level 1 and 2 curricula to facilitate students’ achievement of objectives and outcomes that enable pastoral formation, pastoral competence, and pastoral reflection. The UAB Center for CPE accomplishes this task in two primary ways:

  1. Assigning a theme to each of the four units creating a sequential, developmental learning model
    • Unit 1 – Orientation and Spiritual Care Skills
    • Unit 2 – Self-awareness through Behavioral and Spiritual Assessment models
    • Unit 3 – Culturally competent care skills and use of self in ministry
    • Unit 4 – Professional Development and Pastoral Integration
  2. Utilizing various teaching and learning modalities to develop and explore the unit theme including, but not limited to: verbatims, seminars, didactics, group work, reading/discussion, learning goals, evaluations and films.


Residents are paid according to the agreed upon stipend and receive benefits established by UAB Hospital. These are described in the acceptance letter to the student. The stipends and benefits may or may not be identical to those of employees, but will be consistent with the employee practices of the Hospital, and are described upon inquiry for each residency program.

Residents will be provided a stipend of $40,000 for a one (1) year residency. In addition, each resident will be eligible for medical and dental insurance at the same rate as UAB employees. All costs associated with the CPE program will be provided for residents at no additional charge with the exception of purchase of required textbooks and the Completion of Level I Consultation Committee appearance.

Additional benefits for residents include five (5) paid vacation days, eight (8) paid holidays plus two (2) personal days and up to five (5) paid sick days. All leave time must be approved in advance by the CPE Supervisor. Students are encouraged to take vacation during Clinical Intersession periods.

UAB holidays include New Year’s Day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Due to the inclusion of personal days in this time off, all professional development time off for job interviews or denominational meetings should be counted toward personal holiday time off.


Tuition fees are $500 per CPE unit. Unless arrangements are made with the CPE Supervisor, all tuition must be paid by the first week of the unit. At the time of acceptance, a $200 non-refundable deposit is required in order to reserve a position in the program. Student acceptance is not considered official until this fee is received. The $200 will be credited towards the total cost of the unit. Any evaluation issued without confirmation of tuition payment will be identified as a non-official evaluation and lack of payment of fees will be noted as the reason. Tuition is non-refundable unless UAB finds it necessary to cancel a unit. A student will not be permitted to participate in the mid-term evaluation process or continue the CPE unit unless all fees have been paid, or guarantee of the same has been given in writing by an appropriate faith group or seminary representative for that student. Such a student will be dismissed.

Incidental Expenses:

In addition to the application and tuition fees, incidental expenses that students will also be expected to provide include required textbooks. UAB Spiritual Health provides a copy machine in the department that is accessible to students for copying of CPE related material. Any failure to return library books at the end of the unit will necessitate payment for missing books. Grades will be withheld until receipt of books and/or payments for lost books is made.


Frequently Asked Questions about CPE The following information is from the national website of the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education

1. What do the essential elements of CPE include?

The actual practice of ministry to persons. Detailed reporting and evaluation of that practice in Pastoral Supervision. A process conception of learning. A theoretical perspective on all elements of the program. A small group of peers in a common learning experience. A specific time period. An individual contract for learning consistent with the objectives of CPE The CPE program must be conducted under the auspices of an ACPE certified educator (faculty) attached to an ACPE accredited CPE center.

2. What kinds of things might be included in the Individual Learning Contract?

Pastoral Reflection – reflection on one’s self as person and pastor in relationship to persons in crisis, the educator, and peer group members, as well as the curriculum and institutional setting. Pastoral Formation – focus on personal and pastoral identity issues in learning and ministry. Pastoral Competence – deepening and unfolding of competence in pastoral function, pastoral skills and knowledge of theology and the behavioral sciences. Some centers also offer Pastoral Specialization, focusing on the student’s desire to become competent and knowledgeable in a particular area of ministry, e.g. oncology, urban ministry, parish ministry, hospice ministry, etc.

3. What are the different types of CPE?

ACPE offers Level I and Level II CPE, as well as Certified Educator Candidate CPE, in sequence. The outcomes for each level must be completed before moving to the next level. CPE is usually offered in single units (10-12 weeks) or in a year-long program (3-4 consecutive units). Some centers have other part-time options. The center of your choice can explain the options available at their location.

4. What does CPE prepare a person to do?

CPE serves as a part of one’s preparation for parish ministry, chaplaincy, lay ministry, teaching, and counseling. A student’s learning contract may be focused toward integration of theological, psychological, and pastoral insights into pastoral functioning for parish work. Or the contract may be designed with a career goal of chaplaincy or pastoral counseling. Some students, after completing several units of CPE, choose to enroll in Educator CPE working toward certification as a CPE Educator. In Educator CPE the student learns the theory and practice of education and has an experience of educating CPE students under the guidance and with the consultation of a CPE certified Educator. CPE develops the capacity for the pastoral and spiritual care of individuals, families, and systems. Many theological schools require one unit of CPE as a part of a theological degree program. Other schools accept a year of CPE as the required intern year of ministry for a theological degree program. A number of theological schools which are members of the ACPE have graduate degree programs which combine academic study and CPE Educator/CPE.

5. I want to be a Chaplain or a Pastoral Counselor, do I need CPE?

The Association of Professional Chaplains (, the National Association of Catholic Chaplains ( and the National Association of Jewish Chaplains ( and other organizations certify chaplains. The American Association of Pastoral Counselors ( trains and certifies pastoral counselors. Some CPE is required as a pre-requisite. You should contact these organizations directly about their requirements.

6. Who is eligible to enroll in CPE?

What are the minimum requirements? Bachelor’s degree in a related field and two (2) years of service with a faith community required. A Master of Divinity degree or Master’s in Theological Studies is preferred. Work experience may not substitute for the minimum education requirement. Ordination, Commission or Licensure as a minister / faith leader or in the process of obtaining such status also preferred. Ordination, Commission or Licensure as a minister / faith leader or in the process of obtaining such status preferred. For Supervisory CPE programs: An individual who has successfully completed several units of CPE and has demonstrated a readiness to utilize Supervisory CPE, usually one who has a theological degree and several years of pastoral experience.

7. Do you offer a stipend?

Yes, the stipend is $40,000 for a one (1) year residency.

8. What is the tuition?

The tuition fee is $500/unit

Student Records

Annual Notice Concerning Student Records

In accordance with ACPE 2020 Standards of the ACPE Accreditation Manual, and the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA; 20 USC 1232g and 34 CFR 99), the Clinical Pastoral Education program at UAB Medicine for CPE hereby publishes notice that it maintains students records in a manner that addresses privacy, access, content, and custody of student records should the center be without a Certified Educator and/or accreditation.


CPE at UAB Medicine maintains ACPE student records in compliance with the ACPE Standards. CPE at UAB Medicine guarantees that students have the right to inspect and review their records, to seek to amend them, to specified control over the release of their information, and to file a complaint against the program for alleged violations of their FERPA rights.


  • Student Record: a student record is any record (paper, electronic, video, audio, etc.) directly related to the student from which her or his identity can be recognized, and maintained by CPE at UAB Medicine or a person acting as a representative of CPE at UAB Medicine.
  • Directory Information: the CPE at UAB Medicine considers the following items to be directory information, which can be released without specific consent (unless a current student chooses to restrict or “opt out” in writing): the student’s name, address, e-mail, telephone number, religious affiliation, previous education, photograph, and units of CPE successfully completed. All other information is released only with the student’s written, signed and dated consent specifying which records are being disclosed, to whom, and for what limited purpose.
  • Certified Educator Faculty: At this center, this term includes all ACPE Certified Educators or Associate Certified Educators who are employed by or serving under contract by CPE at UAB Medicine, as well as Certified Educator Candidates and Certified Education Students who are enrolled in CPE at UAB Medicine programs.


  1. Students who are currently enrolled in ACPE training at this center may restrict directory information or record access at any time during their attendance. To “opt out”, the student must restrict directory information, and/or record access, by submitting specific restrictions in writing to the Certified Educator. Restrictions will be honored even after the student’s departure. Former students cannot initiate new restrictions after departure.
  2. At the conclusion of a unit of CPE training with CPE at UAB Medicine, a report is registered with the ACPE national office, which gives the student’s name, gender, religious affiliation, ministry category and the successful completion of a whole or half unit a program of CPE. The following materials are retained in the CPE at UAB Medicine file for the ACPE program:
    1. A copy of the Certified Educator’s Final Evaluation
    2. A copy of the student’s Final Evaluation if submitted
    3. The Application Face Sheet
    4. Use of Clinical Materials Consent Form
  3. Other than the student’s self-evaluation, a student’s written materials, such as Verbatim Reports and case studies, will be destroyed at the conclusion of the CPE program, unless the student authorizes an exception in writing.
  4. Students shall be notified that they are responsible for maintaining their own files for future use. The CPE program shall maintain records in a locked file for a period of ten (10) years and after that date they may be destroyed except for the ACPE application face sheet. Because of their involvement in administering the CPE program, the CPE Certified Educator faculty, department administrator and current members of the Professional Advisory Group are the only personnel who have access to the locked student files.
  5. The law provides for certain exceptions concerning the release of information to protect the health or safety of the student, for the purpose of accreditation review or a complaint or appeal involving that student or as otherwise permitted and required for legal processes. Before releasing material in any of these circumstances, Certified Educator staff will consult with the ACPE Executive Director or Associate Director.
  6. If CPE at UAB Medicine closes or the Certified Educator leaves, or loses its accreditation the Regional Accreditation Chair will secure all student records of the closed program.
  7. Students will be able to review their record within 45 days of their request. Records inspection cannot be denied based on the student’s inability to come to the site or outstanding financial obligations. In the latter case, the center can note on the copy sent, “not available for official use.” When a student record contains identifiers of another student, those must be redacted.
  8. If a student believes that these protocols have been violated, a written and signed complaint may be submitted to the Chairperson of the ACPE Accreditation Commission, ACPE: The Standard for Spiritual Care and Education.
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Certified Educator Candidate

UAB Center for CPE is accredited by the ACPE for Level I, II and Certified Educator CPE. The CEC program is currently filled.

Requirements for CEC applications:

Applications are not considered until the following steps are completed.

  1. Fill out an electronic application by visiting, click on “Search Open Jobs” under UAB Hospital, then click on “Search Openings,” and type in keyword “Certified Educator Candidate/Chaplain Educator Candidate.
  2. Mail a $50.00 application fee. Make the check payable to “UAB Spiritual Health” (see mailing address below).
  3. Admission to UAB’s CEC program includes the following criteria
    • A completed Application for Certified Educator Programs
    • College graduation
    • Master’s of Divinity or its equivalent.
    • Ordination or commissioning to function as a spiritual care provider by an appropriate religious/spiritual authority as determined by ACPE. Individuals whose spiritual or religious community do not have ordination should email for more information.
    • Endorsement/statement of accountability from an appropriate religious/spiritual authority as determined by ACPE
    • Successful completion of a minimum of four units of CPE that includes Level II CPE Outcomes.
    • Demonstration of spiritual care and conceptual competence as evidenced by the attainment/completion of Level I/Level II Outcomes.
    • Certification or eligibility to be certified by the Association of Professional Chaplains, the Association for Catholic Chaplains, Canadian Association for Spiritual or the National Association for Jewish Chaplains.
    • Evaluation of the competencies for admission to a Certified Educator Program.
    • Mail/email application materials to the Director of Spiritual Care & CPE, UAB Department of Pastoral Care, WP125, 615 18th ST S, Birmingham, AL
  4. Complete all the requirements for the ACPE admission process by visiting
    Rev. Vic Dippenaar, Senior Director – Spiritual Health.

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