Chaplain Certification and Training Process
(Eden, North Carolina)
How long did it take you to complete chaplaincy training?
I suppose I could say 30 years, since that was how long I was a local church pastor before giving myself permission to see ministry as much wider than serving as a pastor.
The time I took to complete Clinical Pastoral Education was just over 1 year. After I met the 1600 hours needed for completing clinical training necessary for chaplain certification, it was another year before I was received chaplain certification.
Now that you have completed the training and board certification, has the career change been what you expected?
That is a great question because just completing the training and even being hired as a professional chaplain does not mean one is satisfied or fulfilled in chaplaincy ministry.
I had the privilege of serving in various chaplaincy assignments. The part I did not do well with was the paperwork required as a hospice chaplain. Eventually the demands of meeting the reporting requirements cause me to burn out and to lose my job. I have heard other Hospice chaplains say that the patient load requirements made it impossible to serve patients with quality pastoral care.
So know yourself. The CEO of the hospice I served told me I was wonderful with people but a failure in the documentation area.
Understand that there are very strict requirements for writing reports and documentation in health care, especially hospice since it is Medicare funded most of the time. If you are not organized and able to write, you should explore other ministry options.
What would you say is the most gratifying aspect of your ministry? Also, Chaplain Paul, are you pretty much on call all the time?
Most gratifying to me as a chaplain was helping people draw on spiritual resources in crisis situations. As to being on call all the time, I worked a specified schedule and was called out only a few times on holidays or evenings.
How were you able to complete your program, online or on campus?
The clinical training needed for chaplaincy is by necessity on the job training.
I do believe that someday, the class portion of the training could be online with all of the developments we have in technology.
Key to the clinical process is face to face interaction with a chaplain supervisor and other CPE students, so whether that could me achieved online is the question.
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