A. Master’s degree from a CHEA member organization, accredited college or university in religious or spiritual studies of 72 semester-hours minimum or 72 graduate theological semester credits or 108 quarter credits that include the following:

  1. Twenty four graduate semester credits in theological, religious, or spiritual studies and at least one in each of the following categories:
    1. History of the faith
    2. Teaching and tenets of the faith
    3. Sacred texts
    4. Moral tenets or faith-based ethics
  2. Twenty four graduate semester credits in chaplaincy, religious or spiritual care, counseling, and/or
    practice with one (1) course from at least six (6) of the following areas:
    1. World religions
    2. Ethnic and cultural diversity
    3. Chaplaincy, religious or spiritual care of persons
    4. Practice of religious or spiritual counseling
    5. Practice of communication
    6. Religious or spiritual education
    7. Ethics of professional practice
    8. Religious or spiritual leadership in organizations including
      1. Leadership in a local faith community (church, synagogue, temple, mosque, intentional spiritual communal living, etc.)
      2. Spiritual care of institutions including education, consultation and employee development in the areas of organizational mission, vision and values, spiritual dimension of workplace environments, and spiritual dimensions of service.
      3. Spiritual dimensions of lay or “secular” leadership
    9. Faith-based internships supervised by master or doctorate-prepared faith-based supervisors
  3. The additional 24 graduate semester credits may be from any area listed in above or any CHEA-accredited graduate level study or degree program appropriate to chaplaincy or supervisory clinical pastoral education (e.g., education, counseling, etc.)

B. Master of Divinity degree from an accredited theological school.

C. Ordination from a recognized Jewish seminary

D. Post-baccalaureate theological degree with such additional study and vocational formation experience as may be evaluated by an ACPE certification committee to constitute equivalent level of study.

E. Master’s degree in a related field with such additional post-baccalaureate theological course work and vocational formation experience as may be evaluated by an ACPE certification committee to constitute an equivalent level of study.

F. Faith groups that use mentored education (e.g., Buddhists and Hindus) will have their education evaluated using the outline of the Buddhist White Paper found on the Association of Professional Chaplains website.

G. Degrees from foreign schools will be evaluated by an educational credential evaluation agency that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services.

H. Equivalencies —Applicants who do not meet the standards above will be required to apply for an equivalency from the ACPE or APC. The areas of study to meet the standards related to education to be qualified to appear before a certification committee include the following:

  1. Undergraduate degree from a CHEA-member organization accredited college or university. If the undergraduate degree is unaccredited, a CHEA accredited school must attest to the acceptance of the degree as a prerequisite for graduate studies or the application cannot be considered.
  2. A second undergraduate degree in theological, religious or spiritual studies assessed at a ratio of 2:1 for undergraduate to graduate semester credits up to 15 credits.
  3. Degrees in other fields based on their efficacy in the work of professional chaplaincy and/or supervisory clinical pastoral education to fulfill the academic qualification standards for certification.
  4. Chaplaincy, religious, or spiritual professional experience will be assessed up to 15 semester credits (45 hours of experience documented in such a way that it shows educational learning will be equal to one semester hour; e.g., 200 hrs of sacred text study in preparation of 20 sermons or books read in preparation of teaching at professional level will equal 4.4 semester hours, not just preached 20 sermons or conducted a Sunday school class.) This requirement will not apply to those currently employed as professional chaplains as of January 1, 2012.
  5. Professional continuing education will be assessed at a ratio of 100 contact hours equaling one semester hour (100:1) of credit up to 15 semester credits.
  6. Three units of CPE beyond the four required by APC for certification will be granted five semester credits each up to 15 semester credits.
  7. Professional publication and teaching of chaplaincy, religious, and spiritual care and education hours at ratio 100:1 up to 15 semester credits
  8. Professional attestation by an ACPE Certified Educator or Board Certified Chaplain who has served on certification committees and has known the applicant professionally for at least two years will be assessed as a qualifier for educational equivalency for up to 15 semester hours. Forms for submission of academic requirements must be completed and sent to the appropriate association.

Forms are located on the ACPE and APC websites.