Clinical Pastoral Education Program

Are you a theology student, clergy member, or are you preparing for professional chaplaincy? We invite you to take part in our Level I and II Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program. Participation in a CPE is required for those who want to pursue board certified education as a chaplain. This course is also available to qualified laypersons, or for those just beginning a call for chaplaincy. The course is designed to accommodate individuals in a graduate academic program who are working in a part-time job with flexibility in their hours.


This is considered a graduate level program. A bachelor’s degree is recommended. Ministry experience is preferred, but not required. To be considered for this program, participants will complete an application form and fee, a CPE Interview with an ACPE Certified Educator, and members of the Professional Advisory Group. Participants must also pass eligibility as a volunteer at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.


The first two CPE class days are devoted to orientation. Attendance during the full period of orientation
is mandatory. Those days will be spent orienting you to:
  • Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.
  • Volunteer Services
  • Spiritual Care Department
  • CPE Program

Required weekly educational sessions

CPE educational sessions are held for a minimum of 4.5 hours each week for extended units and 12 hours each for the summer intensive unit. All students must be present on the primary class days. Weekly reading and writing assignments are also required. The total in-person hours required to earn ACPE credit for a unit is 400, of which a minimum of 300 hours is spent in direct patient care and 100 hours in educational activities.

Weekly shifts

Beginning the second week, participants in this program will have weekly visiting hours and on-call shifts.

Scheduled shifts

Each student typically works an eight-hour shift, 8 am to 4:30 pm, each week during the extended program. The summer intensive program consists of a 40-hour work week.

On-call shifts

Weekly on-call shifts occur throughout the course. These may be individually scheduled on weeks and nights, weekends and/or holidays. Weekly, students will be required to take part in an evening shift from 4:30 to 9 pm.

Monthly, students will be required to cover 12-hour weekend days, from 8 am to 8 pm. Assigned clinical days, evenings, and weekends will be negotiated with the group.

Meetings with ACPE Certified Educator

Weekly/Biweekly, you will have one-hour of individual supervision time with the ACPE Certified Educator. This will occur by mutual arrangement.

Admission Requirements

Our training program is open to anyone interested in spiritual care. Applicants must have a high school diploma, a bachelor’s degree or equivalency, and some theological education and ministry experience. Any request for exceptions to these requirements should be directed to Rev. Dr. J. Bernard Richardson, Director of Spiritual Care and ACPE Certified Educator.

Applicants will be assessed by the ACPE Certified Educator, the CPE Professional Advisory Group, and other staff in an interview for:

  • Readiness for clinical learning
  • Suitability for functioning in the chaplain role
  • Capacity for serving according to the hospital’s and department’s expectations.

ACPE Accredited Program

The Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center is pursuing full accreditation to offer Levels I & II CPE by:

The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. (ACPE)
55 Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard, Suite 835
Atlanta, GA 30308
404-320-1472 |

Download the application here.


Contact Spiritual Care at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center
207.973.8292 |