Why Accreditation?

“Accreditation of training programs is the primary purpose of CPSP (Standards, §100; Accreditation, §100).”

The growth of CPSP from a single-celled organization to an international covenantal community of practice has occasioned changes in structure to fulfill its essential tasks on a larger scale.

Accreditation, accordingly, has maintained its roots in the chapter’s responsibility for oversight of training programs conducted by its members while taking added steps to ensure the “…orderly, transparent, and equitable administration of decisions concerning preaccreditation and accreditation, and appeals to these decisions (Accreditation, §140.1).” 

The Accreditation Manual (beginning in 2019) provides for managing these functions in a way that fulfills the operational requirements for recognition as an accrediting agency by the U.S. Department of Education.

The individual trainee benefits directly from this renewed focus on accreditation, since the process aims to ensure the quality of the training experience. (Added visibility for and transparency in the CPSP complaints process provides an additional check on substandard programs. You may submit complaints about the training experience to voice@cpsp.org, in addition to the complaints process published by the individual program.)  

The chapter benefits from added clarity about its role in authorizing a training program, approving a clinical supervisor, ensuring completion of the preaccreditation and initial accreditation processes, and continuing oversight.

Training programs benefit directly from the accreditation process, which provides (through the required self-study) occasion for reengaging with the program’s vision and mission, reviewing program documents for compliance with current standards, and assessment of trainees’ learning (as an indicator of program quality).

Host clinical sites benefit from the assurance that the training program with which their name is associated, do, indeed, represent the highest standard in clinical chaplaincy and clinical pastoral training.

Community or institutional representation in a training program’s professional advisory committee – required by the accreditation process – creates opportunities for enhancing the program’s visibility among key constituencies, communicating the value added by clinical training, and building relationships that may benefit the program.

CPSP benefits from its supervisors’ and training programs’ engagement with the accreditation process. Recognition as an accrediting agency requires that CPSP have processes that satisfy regulatory requirements, yes; that CPSP be organized and administered in a way that provides assurance of our reliability and sustainability in the accrediting role, yes; that CPSP demonstrate experience in the application of our standards and procedures for the whole accreditation life-cycle, depends – on supervisors preparing their programs and meeting the targets for the next steps towards accreditation required by our standards.