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Clinical Pastoral Education

About the Program

Indiana University Health's Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program is one of the largest in the country. CPE is interfaith professional education for ministry. It brings theological students and ministers of all faiths (pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, and others) into supervised encounter with persons in crisis.

Out of an intense involvement with persons in need, and the feedback from peer and teachers, students develop new awareness of themselves as persons and the needs of those to whom they minister. From theological reflection on specific human situations, they gain a new understanding of ministry. Within the interdisciplinary team process of helping persons, they develop skills in interpersonal and interprofessional relationships.

CPE students carry significant clinical/patient care responsibilities in conjunction with the educational aspects of the program. They minister to persons in crisis who struggle with issues related to sickness and health, grief and loss, meaning and value. Ministry in this context values respect for individual beliefs and can be an interfaith experience combining a value for diversity of opinion and faith with structured discipline in learning.

Duration of Training

CPE units may be either full time or part time. Either schedule will include an equivalent number of ministry and education hours. Some extended units meet one day per week for structured educational sessions, and ministry is performed at other times. A more common day, however, is one in which time is provided for ministry and for several educational seminars.

Application Deadline

Multiple CPE units are offered throughout the year. For specific start dates and application deadlines, contact Frank Impicciche by email or at 317.944.7415.

Program Start Date

Residency program (one full year) begins each August.

Extended units typically begin in September and January

Summer units begin in May and June.


$100 per unit for the year-long residency program (three units/year).

$500 for extended and summer units


Applicants must have a graduate-level theological degree either completed or in the process of obtaining the degree. For the Residency Program, applicants must have completed one, preferably two units of ACPE CPE.

Certificate or Degree

Students are awarded a certificate of completion for each of CPE unit successfully completed. A minimum of four units are required as a prerequisite for board certification as a professional chaplain.

Summary, Course of Study

CPE is theological learning by experience in a clinical setting, under the supervision of a qualified teacher-practitioner of pastoral ministry in the company of peers. CPE provides a process for integration of other aspects of theological education into a personal theology and professional style of ministry. The goal of CPE is to give students opportunities to function as a minister while receiving guidance to render pastoral care. The students' own unique gifts in ministry are called forth, recognized and strengthened.

The three main educational purposes of CPE are to:

  • Provide students with an opportunity to render pastoral care to individuals under stress in a multi-institutional hospital setting
  • Develop pastoral identity
  • Master a body of interpersonal skills and academic materials related to pastoral care functions

In the process of fulfilling these purposes, students will be able to plan individualized learning goals and evaluate theological and pastoral presuppositions and procedures within the context of relationship with a chaplain supervisor (educator), student colleagues, staff chaplains, and persons from other disciplines.

Individual and group supervision is offered as opportunities to reflect on and struggle with issues related to the students’ pastoral functioning and identity. The intent is to provide an atmosphere in which guidance, support and freedom for learning through one’s own experience can take place. Students carry significant clinical responsibilities in conjuncture with the educational aspects of the program. Service and learning go hand-in-hand, each enriching the other.

Learn more about Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy Services at IU Health >>

Application/Contact Information

Frank Impicciche
Manager, Pastoral Education
IU Health
550 N. University Blvd. UH 1410
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5250
Phone: 317.944.7415
Fax: 317.944.7440

The CPE Program at IU Health is accredited by:

The Association of Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc.
1549 Clairmont Road, Suite 103
Decatur, GA 30033
Tel: 404.320.1472
Fax: 404.320.0849