Chaplain Certification:
Meeting Chaplaincy
Employment Requirements

Chaplain Certification:
Steps Beyond College Degrees

Chaplain certification is the key to becoming a professional chaplain, and when certified by a Professional Chaplain organization, will qualify you for employment, making you more employable in your chaplaincy career.

Board Certified Chaplain Designation

A Board Certified Chaplain (BCC in Association Of Professional Chaplain lingo) has completed the following requirements on the way to employment:

  • demonstrated professional excellence as a chaplain,
    has completed eligibility requirements,
  • has been recommended by a State Certification Committee,
  • approved by the Commission on Certification, and ratified by the APC Board of Directors.

Each certifying organization will have their own certification process so know and comply with their expectations. At the time I made application to become a chaplain, these were the chaplaincy associations I was instructed to contact:

  • the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE);
  • the United States Catholic Conference/National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC);
  • and the Canadian Association for Pastoral Practice and Education (CAPPE).

Timeliness of the Application

When the Association Of Professional Chaplains (APC) asks you to "please view the complete application for additional information and a thorough understanding of the application process and requirements," they are very serious.

How serious? I believe that my failure to make sure everything was properly submitted postponed being board certified for a year.

Therefore, they mean it when they say "please note that the application for Board Certified Chaplain changes each calendar year and you must submit the application for the current year by the posted deadline." You should definitely take this suggestion seriously.

Next, The Standards And
Competencies To Be Met

Just as in many professional career fields, there are standards and competencies to be met before becoming a Board Certified Chaplain.

It is important to note that the requirements may change over time, so make sure you are compliant with the most current certification expectations.

Yet the basic educational requirements seem constant, namely a bachelor degree followed by a masters, such as a MDiv or Masters of Divinity. Clinical Pastoral Education is then expected after obtaining the expected college degrees, with some chaplaincy positions requiring only one unit completed and others expecting completion of all four units of CPE.

Next, the specifics can be found in the following article entitled Standards For Chaplain Certification.

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