Clinical Pastoral Education

Education for our spiritual leaders

The Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program at Shelby Baptist Medical Center is dedicated to teaching and ministering to pastoral care residents and students so that they can provide spiritual support to others. Chaplaincy at Shelby Baptist Medical Center has a long-standing tradition of providing bedside ministry, 24-hour crisis ministry, and pastoral care for staff.

A diverse supervisory staff and a variety of medical service lines offers students a rich learning experience. It is an experience that offers students the opportunity to develop their personal gifts for ministry, to understand and utilize their story and personal history in ministry, and to live more fully into their calling to ministry.

Specific strengths of our CPE program include:

  • Large system with opportunities for emergency and intensive short-term care
  • Long-term pastoral relationships
  • Ecumenical supervisory staff that includes both male and female supervisors
  • Emphasis on developing personal gifts and using personal history in ministry
  • Competitive stipends
  • Diverse system pastoral care staff available as a continuing education resource to student


The First Unit CPE

In this unit, students work as pastors to patients, families, and staff in the hospital. The educational process requires active involvement in ministry and reflection. A primary goal is "ministry formation," the discovery and acceptance of one's own unique gifts and skills in pastoral care. This goal is facilitated through experiential learning, which combines ministering, the study of theoretical materials, feedback from peers and supervisors, personal reflection, and the application of learning to subsequent ministry relationships. A full time First-Unit of CPE is offered in the summer as an 11-week unit. The extended unit of CPE is a 20-week program offered in the fall and spring. The curriculum includes individual supervision and didactic seminars designed to meet individual learning needs. Group clinical seminars provide opportunities to discuss patient ministry and discover new options for pastoral care. Inter-professional seminars provide learning in other hospital disciplines, while interpersonal relationship seminars provide an opportunity for group discussion and pastoral care.

Prerequisites: Sufficient theological education or expertise to enable one to benefit from this postgraduate education experience. Ministers, seminary students, youth leaders, ministers of education and music, as well as laypersons are invited to apply. The application process involves the completion of an ACPE application form, a $50.00 application fee, and a screening interview with a qualified interviewer.

First Year CPE Residency

This one-year program (four consecutive CPE Units) begins on or about September 1 of each year and ends on or about August 31 of the following year. The residency builds upon the First Unit of CPE through continued intensive involvement as a member of the health care team. Each student focuses on the integration of personal and professional issues while growing as a person and pastor. Residents continue the process of Clinical Pastoral Education in seminars and supervisory conferences, ending each unit with a thorough self-evaluation with supervisors, peers, and other hospital staff. Curriculum for the residency year includes individual supervision plus didactic, inter-professional, interpersonal relationships, and clinical seminars. In the beginning of the year there is an emphasis on pastoral skill and pastoral identity formation. As the residency progresses, specialty areas of pastoral care are explored.


  • A complete ACPE application, including a ministry event report
  • Student's and supervisor's evaluation from previous units
  • Payment of $50.00 application fee
  • A personal interview with the CPE staff. One certified unit of Clinical Pastoral Education prior to the residency year is required. Upon acceptance, a student pays a $450.00 confirmation fee applicable toward the first unit of tuition.

Residency (Residency Year runs from September – August)

First Year Pastoral Care Residency -- (4 Units) | Stipend $ $27,500 + Benefits
Supervisory CPE Training Residency | Variable opening dates | Stipend: $30,500 + Benefits
Supervisory Candidate | Variable opening dates | Stipend $32,500 + Benefits
Application Fee - $50.00 | Tuition - Full Unit: $450.00

Clinical Pastoral Education at Brookwood Baptist Health is accredited through: The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. (ACPE)
One West Court Square, Suite 325
Decatur, GA 30030
(404) 320-1472

All references to CPE at this website refer to CPE accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.