About Us

ACPE is the premier, DOE-recognized organization that provides the highest quality CPE programs for spiritual care professionals of any faith and in any setting. We do this through a rigorous accreditation and certification process for centers and educators that provide CPE. The depth of our training enables students to realize their full potential to strengthen the spiritual health of people in their care as well as themselves.



 Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) began in 1925 as a form of theological education that takes place not exclusively in academic classrooms, but also in clinical settings where ministry is being practiced. ACPE certified CPE is offered in many kinds of settings: in hospitals and health care including university, children's, and veterans' facilities; in hospices; in psychiatric and community care facilities; in workplace settings; in geriatric and rehabilitation centers; and in congregational and parish-based settings. The textbooks for CPE include in-depth study of "the living human documents." By "living human documents," we mean both the people who receive care as well as a study of ourselves, the givers of care. Through the practice of ministry and the reflection thereon with supervisor and peers, the experiential learning that is CPE takes place.

Among the 2,300 members that make up the ACPE are almost 300 ACPE Accredited CPE Centers and about 600 ACPE certified faculty members (called ACPE Certified Educators). There are also Theological Schools Members and Faith Groups/Agencies who are partners with ACPE in seeking to provide excellence in theological education. Other groups of ACPE members are Spiritual Care Professionals, Students Affiliates, Individuals Members, Retired Certified Educators, Retired Members, and ACPE Networks.

Since ACPE formed in 1967 (as a merger of four CPE organizations), nearly 200,000 units of ACPE certified CPE have been offered to about 75,000 individuals from the United States and many other countries internationally. Approximately 9,000 units of ACPE certified CPE are completed annually. CPE students come from many different ethnic and cultural groups. Individuals from many faith traditions -- Protestant, Roman Catholic, Judaism, Islam, Orthodox Christian, Native American religions and Buddhism -- have taken ACPE certified CPE.

ACPE is nationally recognized as an accrediting agency in the field of clinical pastoral education by the U.S. Secretary of Education through the U.S. Department of Education.