CPE and CPE Equivalency

All students in the M. Div. program must complete 3 credit hours of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at a site approved by the Association of Clinical Pastoral Educators (ACPE) or complete the CPE Equivalency program. These experiences utilize a concentrated experiential method of theological reflection which examines pastoral care practice in acute ministerial contexts. Students may sign up for CPE after completing SM 301 Formation for Christian Ministry, PC 301 Introduction to Pastoral Care or PC 302 Introduction to Pastoral Counseling, 30 hours of seminary course work and the online CPE Information Session.

Each Fall quarter, an online CPE Information Session will be offered to assist students through the CPE and CPE Equivalency process. This information session is a pre-requisite for CPE. Students may register for this information session via the student portal.

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a clinical chaplaincy and small group experience completed under the direction of a trained ACPE supervisor. It may be completed full-time in the summer, part-time during one quarter, or in an extended period of time such as one to two days a week over a period of seven to nine months. In order to enroll in CPE at an accredited site, students must complete an application and interview with the hospital's CPE supervisor approximately six months in advance of the quarter they intend to complete CPE. For more information visit the ACPE website at www.acpe.edu.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You must register for CPE at Northern the same quarter you are going to begin CPE at the hospital! Contact the Supervised Ministry office if you have any questions at 630.705.8251.

Some CPE Programs Near Northern
Many other accredited sites are listed on the ACPE website.

CPE Equivalency (SM 514)

This course will provide a clinical experience which may be completed in the place of, or in addition to, an accredited Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program. This experience is available in the Spring Quarter. The CPE Equivalency option enables students who work full-time in a secular field to complete a professionally supervised ministry experience. 

To order to qualify for CPE Equivalency, students need to complete the CPE Application and turn it in to the Supervised Ministry office by December 1, 2014. Students must be employed full time in a secular field and cannot utilize flex time to complete an official ACPE program. If a student is not working full time, he or she must complete the accredited CPE option.

An application form must be submitted for approval by the Director of Supervised Ministry. Please note that all applications must be turned in to the Supervised Ministry office by December 1, 2014.

Students interested in professional chaplaincy or who need CPE credit for ordination are not permitted to complete the CPE Equivalency. Students are responsible for knowing the denominational ordination and/or chaplaincy certification requirements before taking CPE Equivalency.

CPE Equivalency offered at Northern Seminary is NOT official CPE. It is only valid at Northern Seminary for a CPE credit.

The number of students enrolled in the course will be limited to 7 students each quarter, per section offered. Students enrolled in the program receive individual supervision from the course instructor and are required to participate in a weekly peer reflection group which meets on campus. Students successfully completing the Supervised CPE Equivalency will earn 3 hours of credit.

If a student would like to complete CPE Equivalency hours at another site than those listed below, he/she must speak to the Supervised Ministry office and have the site approved before making any arrangements. This conversation must occur prior to the due date for CPE Equivalency applications.

Students applying must be able to complete 160 hours of ministry at an approved CPE Equivalency site and have a supervisor willing to meet weekly with the student for mentoring/debriefing. This translates into approximately 16 hours per week commitment for ten weeks unless a student negotiates an alternative schedule with the site supervisor.

Students who begin their hours before the class starts must complete at least 80 hours during the Spring quarter. For more information on this equivalency, please see the CPE Equivalency Syllabus by selecting the above link.

CPE Equivalency site options

  • DuPage Convalescent Center
    Contact: Rev. Ellen Ribe, Pastoral Services Chaplain
    Work: (630) 784-4262
    Email: Applications for DPCC are due by January 14, 2015.
  • Breakthrough Urban Ministries
    Contact: Tony Escobar, Director of Community Relations
    Work: (773) 346-1705
  • Swedish American Hospital
    Contact: Norm Shirk
    Apply online and mention in application that you are a Northern Seminary student.

Staff Contact

Roni Okubo

Associate Director of Supervised Ministry & Student Services

    • 630.620.2173