Clinical Pastoral Education prepares chaplain residents for ministry through a process of action and reflection.

Action: Clinical Practice

Students are regarded as important members of the chaplaincy team, sharing in the ministry of the Pastoral Care Department. Residents take part in a regular on-call rotation and gain broad experience in ministry to patients, families and staff in acute, chronic and crisis situations. They are assigned to a variety of units within the hospital, where they work closely with members of the interdisciplinary healthcare team. Learn more about chaplains as part of the interdisciplinary team. 

Graduate residents reflect on how chaplaincy is spiritual work. 

Reflection: Writing, Sharing, and Supervision

The Clinical Pastoral Education program provides students with a variety of opportunities to reflect upon their experiences with peers, supervisors and other professionals:

  • Didactics: CPE students attend lectures and presentations offered by Pastoral Care staff and professionals from Cincinnati Children’s and the community.
  • Interpersonal Relations Group: Students learn to give and receive support, clarification and confrontation in a group setting, becoming aware of underlying theological and psychological dynamics in group process. View an excerpt of an Interpersonal Relations Group session.
  • Clinical Presentation: Students are offered various avenues for reflecting on ministry including verbatims, practicum and spiritual assessments.
  • Individual Supervision: Students receive individual supervision weekly for residents. These meetings provide an opportunity for one-on-one reflection between the student and supervisor.

Graduate residents reflect on supervision as part of the Clinical Pastoral Education Program. 


For those taking Clinical Pastoral Education at Cincinnati Children’s with the goal of certification as a chaplain, it may be helpful to know the requirements of various certifying bodies. Credit for completed units of Clinical Pastoral Education may be applied toward requirements for seminary degrees and ordination, as well as certification. Organizations that certify chaplains include:

For those interested in pursuing pastoral counseling education and certification, contact the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC), 703-385-6967.