Students — Clinical Pastoral Education

The Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Program at St. Mary's Hospital in Richmond, Va. offers three CPE modalities or programs:

CPE Extended Program – 1 unit credit/part-time

  • Excellent learning opportunity to combine study and work
  • Affordable
  • Flexible clinical hours
  • Free parking
  • Five hours of CPE group each Monday plus one hour of individual supervision every other week
  • Four hours of clinical ministry per week
  • Two weekends of on-call per month (Saturday or Sunday)
  • Available clinical placement agreements
  • Shared on-call responsibilities with staff chaplains, PRN chaplains and CPE residents
  • Multiple CPE units can be achieved through this modality, which allows students to continue to work while pursuing CPE

CPE Hybrid Summer Internship Program – 1 unit credit/semi-full time

  • Excellent learning opportunity to combine education and summer leisure
  • Combines online and in-person learning modalities
  • Affordable
  • Free parking
  • Available clinical placement agreements
  • Three weekdays only (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday)
  • Nine hours of education and 12 hours of weekly clinical ministry
  • Two weekend days on-call per month (24 hours)
  • Shared on-call responsibilities with staff chaplains, PRN chaplains and CPE residents

CPE Residency Program – 4 units of CPE

  • Stipend – market competitive 
  • Medical, visual and dental benefits
  • Paid time off, on-call acknowledgment and retirement plan
  • Free parking
  • Shared on-call responsibilities with staff chaplains, PRN chaplains and CPE externs/interns 
  • 40-plus hours per week including clinical, on-call and educational activities

For all three CPE programs, students might choose to be on-call from home after hours as long as they can be physically present back at the hospital within 30 minutes of being paged. Per ACPE standards, one unit of CPE consists of a minimum of 400 hours of supervised ministry. A minimum of 300 are clinical hours in addition to a minimum of 100 educational hours.

Areas of Specialty

At the completion of four units of CPE, candidates could be eligible to apply for:  

  • Faith-based spiritual/religious leadership roles
  • Hospital staff chaplain
  • Hospice chaplain
  • Pediatric chaplain
  • Behavioral health chaplain 
  • Oncology chaplain
  • Palliative care chaplain
  • ICU chaplain
  • Emergency room chaplain
  • Bereavement coordinator
  • Corporate chaplain
  • Veterans Affairs staff chaplain
  • Prison chaplain
  • College/school chaplain 
  • Military chaplain (requires specific military training)
  • ACPE supervisory education

What Makes the Program Stand Out

Our CPE program shares some similarities with other programs, but the following characteristics differentiate us:

  • Faith-based health care organization with a religiously diverse population 
  • Adult and pediatric emergency departments
  • Diverse spiritual care department with various spiritual care lines of service
  • Four-unit CPE Residency Program
  • Spiritual Care Partners (volunteer) training program to prepare for CPE, if needed
  • Professional chaplain development program for chaplain advancement
  • Affordable tuition
  • A diverse Professional Advisory Group
  • Multiple clinical sites for placement agreements, including but not limited to: St. Mary’s Hospital, Memorial Regional Medical Center, St. Francis Medical Center, Richmond Community Hospital, Southside Medical Center and Bon Secours Hospice.
  • Emphasis on the experiential rather than the academic
  • Preceptors are board-certified chaplains 
  • Clinical rotations to experience different medical specialties
  • Shared on-call responsibilities with staff chaplains
  • Stipend and benefits for full-time CPE residents only