ACPE has a long history of certifying individuals to supervise clinical pastoral education (CPE) professionally. In the certification process small groups of experienced practitioner peers assess applicants’ competence in the art and identity required to supervise CPE and validate applicants’ articulation of supervisory theory and practice. This communal process has become a standard in the field of clinical pastoral care. Changes in society, increased gender and cultural diversity of CPE students and certification applicants, and growing regulatory complexity continue to shape the standards and practices of the certification process.

The ACPE certification assessment reflects spiritual caregiver values inherent in the pastoral care and counseling movement in the United States — personal initiative, face-to-face authenticity, emotional maturity, theological depth and congruence, conceptual diversity, pluralistic openness, collegial autonomy, and the capacity to function professionally in situations of high anxiety. The certification process also reflects professional capacities traditionally valued in practitioners of clinical supervision — grounding in theory, ease of peer group consultation, accuracy and clarity in writing, integration of theory and practice, and openness of internal reverie relative to supervisory work. These values form the basis of the small group appraisal of applicants through which the ACPE Certification Commission makes certification decisions.