Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is training in pastoral care and chaplaincy in hospitals, prisons, schools, social service agencies, and other sites where there is a need of pastoral support.

CPE provides opportunities to:
  • Discern, define, and clarify the seminarian's pastoral identity
  • Appreciate the importance of their own life story in ministry
  • Practice disciplined theological reflection
The two CPE accreditation organizations are:
  • The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) 
  • The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP)
  • Both organizations maintain lists of approved CPE sites nationwide

While CPE is an elective at VTS, many bishops and Commissions on Ministry (COM)/Committees on Priesthood (COP) require it as a foundational part of pastoral ministry, and may requireit be done at a ACPE or CSPS site. Please contact your diocesan liaison for specific requirements and permissions.

To receive elective credit at VTS:
  • CPE must be done at an accredited site.
  • Seminarians must receive permission from their Diocesan Bishop/COM/COP.
  • Seminarians must go through proper application process.
Seminarians often complete CPE in the summer between their first and second years at VTS. Other options include an extended semester-long CPE or credit for CPE done prior to enrolling at VTS.

The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) is the only accreditation organization recognized by the United States Department of Education. As such, some dioceses require that prospective CPE training site be accredited by this organization. In addition, it is important to consider if you are interested in medical chaplaincy post-ordination. Please contact your diocesan liaison for specific requirements.

For more information, please see materials provided in the yearly Field Education and CPE Orientation or contact the Field Education Department.

CPE Segue-Transitioning from CPE Back to Seminary

For those who have just completed CPE, the CPE Segue provides an opportunity to debrief after the insensity of CPE and ease the transition back into seminary life. Sessions are facilitated by experienced clergy and senior seminarians recommended by their previous Segue facilitators for being especially gifted in theological reflection and small group leadership skills.

CPE Segue Date for Summer 2018: TBA

Contact Info and Directions

Virginia Theological Seminary is located at:
3737 Seminary Road
Alexandria, VA 22304
Dr. St. Louis' Mailbox: Box 187
Ms. Jubinski's Mailbox: Box 121
Field Education Office Phone: 703-461-1744
Our office is located on the second floor of Bohlen Hall (#202), which is number 15 on the Campus Map.
3737 Seminary Road, Alexandria, Virginia 22304  |  Phone: 703-370-6600 or 800-941-0083 | Employee Directory