Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) began in 1925 as a form of theological education centered on the practice of ministry with people in crisis. As a form of process education, CPE utilizes an Action Reflection Learning model in a relational learning environment including structured group and individual education.

Clinical Pastoral Education at CHI Health

CPE began at CHI Health Immanuel in 1965 and has become a leading provider of clinical pastoral education regionally. CHI Health offers multiple program formats: an eleven-week full-time summer internship; 8-month part-time extended internships; 4-month hybrid virtual accelerated extended internships (fall and spring); and a full-time 9-month residency. Participants are placed in diverse clinical settings including Behavioral Health, Burn & Wound Healing, Cardiovascular, Intensive Care, Maternal-Child, Medical-Surgical, Oncology, Physical Rehabilitation, Palliative Care and Trauma at CHI Health Hospitals and non-CHI Health institutions per clinical placement agreements.  More information can be found under Clinical Pastoral Education Program Information.

Making the Healing Presence of God Known

Clinical pastoral education programs support the mission of CHI Health to make the healing presence of God known in our world by improving the health of the people we serve, especially those who are vulnerable, while we advance social justice for all.. Our graduates include board certified chaplains, CPE certified educators, military chaplains, mission leaders, pastoral counselors, pastoral care directors, pastors and spiritual directors.


Rev. Thomas F. Backer, BCC, ACPE Certified Educator. See Faculty Profile.


The CHI Health System CPE Program is accredited as a Multi-Institution Center for Clinical Pastoral Education by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). The Center is accredited to offer Level I/II CPE.  ACPE is nationally recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an accrediting agency in the field of clinical pastoral education.  

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