FAQ About Certification

Why does CPSP offer certification?

CPSP formed as a community of practice, that is, a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.

What does certification by CPSP represent?

Certification affirms the candidate’s achievement of the clinical, theological, conceptual, and ethical competencies appropriate to each certification, as described in the Standards. Certification attests – to those beyond the candidate’s immediate peers, to employers, and to the public at large – the favorable judgment of the community on his/her competence and character as a clinician.

Why should I seek certification by CPSP?

CPSP certification validates the candidate’s engagement with and formation in the Boisen tradition – a psychodynamically-informed, inductive approach to providing pastoral care.

Must I become a member to seek certification by CPSP?

Membership in CPSP – confirmed by active participation in chapter life and commitment to The Covenant – is the foundation for certification. 

What if I already hold certifications from other chaplaincy organizations?

Standards (§ 620), provide for certification by reciprocity. Reciprocity – because of the very real differences underlying cognate groups’ conception of the certified roles – is not as simple as recognizing a seeming equivalency in nomenclature. Applications for certification by reciprocity undergo a thorough review by one’s chapter and the Certification Committee, but do not require meeting a certification review panel.

What if I do not meet one of the published requirements for a certification, but have training or education that I believe to be equivalent?

Requests for approval of an equivalency must be submitted for review/approval before seeking a certification. Applications are reviewed by the chapter, the Certification Committee, and Executive Chapter, in turn. (Standards, § 630) Allow time for your request for equivalency to be evaluated before committing to a certification review panel date.

Must my clinical pastoral training have been through a CPSP program, or may other training be accepted?

Having trained in a CPSP program is not a requirement for certification. The requirements for certification are expressed in terms of competencies, rather than credentials, units, or hours.

Where are certification review panels conducted? How often?

Beginning in May 2020, certification review panels are conducted remotely, instead of in person. Since review panels are no longer conducted in conjunction with regional or national CPSP events, opportunities to meet with a panel are projected for four times per year. Visit the Events page for more information.