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HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, IL is a nationally accredited training center for clinical pastoral education (CPE). Our curriculum is designed to prepare qualified applicants for hospital chaplaincy and board certification as professional chaplains. The program is also open to ministers who want to enhance their pastoral skills, ministry students who need a clinical component as part of their formal studies and qualified lay persons who want to assist with and participate in pastoral care ministries in various institutional settings.

Our accreditation is with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE), Inc., which is located at One West Court Square, Suite 325, Decatur, GA 30030. The phone number for ACPE is (404) 320-1472 and the website is ACPE is recognized by denominations and seminaries across the United States and by the Department of Education. As such, the program meets requirements for veterans’ benefits. Our CPE program is also affiliated with the St. Louis Cluster-ACPE.

Qualified students may enroll in single or consecutive units. We provide a clinically based, four-quarter, extended unit curriculum that utilizes a “one-room-schoolhouse” learning environment, which means new students may be enrolled in programs with students who have had one or more prior units of CPE. Instruction is primarily provided by a certified ACPE supervisor with assistance from adjunct faculty.

The clinical method of adult education is used extensively, which requires students to report on their actual ministry to persons and then provide written accounts of some of these pastoral encounters in individual and group supervisory sessions. Each seven-month quarter, or unit, involves an on-the-job, theological education program that uses an acute care hospital-based learning environment, a small peer group of three to nine, and curriculum that addresses:

* Pastoral identity and skills 
* Integration of theology with the behavioral sciences
* Knowledge and use of the clinical method of learning
* Knowledge and experience of working with hospital patients,  
   visitors and health care professionals.

Students must attend orientation sessions from 4 -10 p.m.  which are held on Monday and Thursday of the first two weeks of the program. After that any remaining orientation events and our regular classes are scheduled for Monday evenings from 4:30 - 9:30 p.m. Each unit meets ACPE standards by offering a minimum 400 hours of combined supervised instruction and clinical ministry. A minimum 100 hours of the required 400 hour minimum must address classroom instruction and individual supervision by an ACPE educator. About 300 clinical hours (10-12 per week) of direct ministry to persons must be accomplished over the course of the unit. Normally, these hours are met by working day time shifts. Some accommodations to the clinical hours may be negotiated prior to the start of the unit for students with special needs. 

New applicants are required to pay a $50, non-refundable fee and it is not applied to the total tuition expense. The tuition is $750 for each unit. A $100 discount is offered to students who pay their tuition prior to the start date of the unit to which they have been accepted. Limited scholarship assistance is provided for students who may need a reduced tuition.

Apply online
Paper application

For more information about our program, or application materials, contact the following persons:

Marcia McNicol
Administrative Assistant for CPE
(217) 544-6464 Ext. 44205
Fr. Charles Hart, O.F.M., M.Div.
ACPE Certified Educator
(217) 544-6464 Ext 46773

For more information about CPE in the St. Louis and Southern Illinois area, visit: For information about CPE programs in the U.S.,

100+ structured classroom hours

10+ individual supervisory hours

300+ clinical ministry hours

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