As a professional association, ACPE has responsibility to the public to define standards of conduct for members and promulgate standards for education and certification in clinical pastoral education to safeguard the public and to help assure quality education for and competence of practitioners.

The Standards provide guidance and direction to ACPE members as to what the association has determined to be sound professional practice. These standards are to be enforced through the peer processes duly adopted by ACPE for that purpose. Neither the Standards nor processes for accountability to them are designed to provide basis for civil liability or judicatory processes in any other forum.