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Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is an interfaith model of training in pastoral care for faith leaders, seminary and rabbinic students, and qualified laypeople.  A unit of CPE is comprised of 400 hours of training, which includes 300 hours of the practice of pastoral care to persons in need and 100 hours of individual and small group supervision.  The CPE program at Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute is unique in that it is community based rather than institutionally based.  Unlike traditional programs in which trainees provide pastoral care in the institutions where they are being trained, Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute has contracted with a number of community organizations including corrections facilities, behavioral health agencies, community social service agencies, and congregations.  Trainees work in an assigned agency as a chaplain and gather at Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute’s main office in Shadyside for individual and group supervision.  This approach provides a rich context in which trainees learn about ministry in a variety of settings from their peers.  In addition, a limited number of active clergy may use some or all of their pastoral care work from their ministry settings as the clinical portion of their CPE training.

CPE provides a rich opportunity for trainees to learn about ministry, themselves, and interpersonal relationships.  Many seminaries require a unit of CPE for graduation, and many denominations require a unit of CPE for ordination.  CPE is also required for those persons interested in pursuing certification as a professional chaplain in one of the various professional certifying organizations.

Persons interested in CPE at Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute must possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.  Graduate level education in theology or religious studies, or equivalent experience, is strongly preferred.

Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute’s CPE program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Pastoral and Psychotherapy Training.

For More Information

Bryan Bass-Riley, MDiv, MS, LPC, NCC
Clinical Pastoral Education Leader
Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute
412-661-1239 ext. 233 (confidential voicemail)


Persons interested in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute must possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Graduate level education in theology or religious studies or equivalent experience is strongly preferred.