Clinical Pastoral Education | Whittier, CA | PIH Health

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

Photo of students

CPE Internship

PIH Health offers Clinical Pastoral Education Interns the opportunity to work and learn with a diverse population of patients, family members and staff. Chaplain Interns benefit from the opportunity to work and grow in the hospital setting alongside students from a variety of other disciplines, such as medicine, nursing and social work. Our interdisciplinary approach gives students the opportunity to learn from a variety of perspectives, while they develop their professional identity and expertise as spiritual caregivers.

An Introduction to CPE

Clinical Pastoral Education is an interfaith, professional education program, which brings people into a supervised setting where they encounter people in need of care. Through extensive and intensive engagement with people in crisis, and reflection with peers and teachers, chaplain interns develop awareness of how their personhood influences the care they provide. Chaplain interns develop relational skills of spiritual assessment and the appropriate interventions that help them address the hopes, needs and resources of people in their care.

Through reflection on particular human situations and relationships, interns deepen their competency as spiritual caregivers. CPE is an educational process that is experientially based and embraces an “action-reflection” methodology through which the interns engage in spiritual caregiving then critically reflect on that work with their CPE Certified Educator, peers, staff chaplains and other members of the interdisciplinary team.

Each “unit” of CPE is comprised of 100 hours of classroom education, which includes required readings, written reflections, case studies presented to the peer group and didactic presentations by people from a variety of caregiver disciplines. Each unit includes an additional 300 hours of spiritual care practice in the clinical setting. A full unit of CPE will include at least 400 hours of training and experiential education combined.

Essential Elements of CPE

• Spiritual Care with people in crisis
• Experiential Learning through the process of action and reflection
• Learning goals based on the student’s learning needs
• Written reflection and evaluation
• Peer relationships in a shared group learning experience
• Individual and group supervision

Faculty and Staff

Rev. Kraig Beardemphl MDiv BCC ACPE Certified Educator
Manager of Clinical Pastoral Education, Whittier

Rev. Peter Carino, MDiv, ACPE Certified Associate Educator
Clinical Pastoral Educator, Downey

Jennifer McGuire
Administrative Coordinator

Program Locations

CPE Prepares You for Many Paths in Ministry

CPE is often a required component of one's preparation for ministry in many denominations and faith groups. Many students take one unit of CPE to fulfill this requirement and go on to be parish pastors, rabbis, missionaries or a member of a religious order. Many others take at least four units of CPE as part of their training to become a board certified chaplain. Some students complete several units of CPE and enroll in Supervisory CPE to work toward certification as a CPE Educator.

A Typical Day in Clinical Pastoral Education

CPE units may be completed within the framework of a Full-time course of 10-12 weeks or an extended (part-time) course of 16-18 weeks. Both schedules will include the required number of 100 hours of classroom education and 300 hours of spiritual care practice in the clinical setting. Extended unit groups will meet for one class day a week. Extended unit students will need to complete approximately 20 hours of patient care each week in order to finish the required 300 hours of clinical time within the period of the 16 week extended unit. Full-time groups will meet each week for one full class day and one half class day. When not in class, full-time students will provide patient care for the remainder of each week from 8 am – 4:30 pm (Monday through Friday). Both full-time and extended unit students will complete a limited number of on-call hours on weekend days.

Class days will typically begin with a time for reflection/devotion led by one of the peer group members. Each class day will include a case study seminar, as reflection on spiritual care practice is a core element of the program. Class days will often include didactic seminars, which introduce students to the theory and practice of spiritual care in the healthcare setting from a variety of sources. Those sources will include readings, lectures by a variety of professionals from a diverse group of disciplines, and multi-media resources. Each class day will also include peer group support and exploration of relational dynamics. Field trips to local destinations of educational interest to the group will also be offered occasionally. Evaluation will be offered by the Certified Educator and peers at the mid-point and conclusion of each unit of CPE.

Each chaplain intern’s spiritual care practice in the clinical setting will be shaped by the type of unit they enroll in. For Extended units, the intern will negotiate her/his weekly clinical schedule with the CPE Certified Educator and Director of Spiritual Care at PIH Health. This will typically require 20-25 hours a week of spiritual care in the clinical setting. For Full-time units, the schedule will be 8 am – 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. Both types of units will require some daytime on-call hours on weekend days. Each chaplain intern will have a staff chaplain assigned as their clinical mentor at the beginning of each unit. The chaplain intern will coordinate care with the staff chaplain in their assigned clinical areas.

Admission to CPE

PIH Health is committed to giving fair and thorough consideration to all qualified applicants. We select students who are seminarians, clergy and laypersons with consideration of aptitude for learning, capacity for self-reflection and potential for spiritual care without regard to age, gender, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religious affiliation or sexual orientation.
Most successful applicants have already begun or have completed graduate theological education or other specialized training in their respective tradition.

Current Units and Tuition

Applies to all program locations:

2021 Summer Full-Time Unit June 7 - August 20 ($625)

2021 Fall Extended Unit September 7 - December 17 ($625)

2022 Spring Extended Unit January 10 - May 13 ($625)

2022 Summer Full-Time Unit June 6 - August 19 ($625)

How to Apply

We encourage you to apply six to eight months in advance of the start date of the unit. You can obtain an application for CPE here:

The fee to apply for CPE at PIH Health is: $50. Please mail a check made out to PIH Health with your application to the mailing address below.

Mailing Address

Clinical Pastoral Education
Attn: Jennifer McGuire
12401 Washington Blvd.
Whittier, CA 90602

PIH Health Spiritual Care

562.698.0811 Ext. 12500

PIH Health Clinical Pastoral Education is accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education to provide Level 1, Level 2, and Supervisory ACPE Certified CPE™.

Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc.

55 Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard
Suite 325
Atlanta, GA 30308
P: 404.320.1472
F: 404.320.0849