1. How much does it cost to take CPE?
The tuition for the year-long program is $400 per unit. This amount is due in the ﬁrst week of the unit. Your non-refundable $200 deposit is applied toward the ﬁrst unit’s tuition cost. Other costs, such as registration fees for retreats, are paid for you by the CPE center.
2. How much will I be paid?
Full Time year-long residents receive $41,500 per year, paid in twelve and a half monthly installments, one at the end of each month of training and a half payment in the concluding September of your training year. This money will be paid to you in the form of a check without tax withholding. Because you will not be an employee of Dignity Health, automatic tax withholding is not available. You are advised to plan accordingly to ensure that you can fulﬁll your income tax obligations. Interns completing one unit are not paid a stipend.
3. Will I receive any days off?
If you are a resident, you will accrue ﬁve days of personal leave for each unit of CPE that you complete except for the fourth unit; in other words, you will have accrued ﬁfteen total days of personal leave. These days may be used for vacation time between units (or during Christmas week), for personal appointments, or if you are ill and cannot report for clinical duty. Any personal leave days you intend to use must be approved by your individual supervisor. In addition, CPE students are not required to work on recognized hospital holidays (with the exception of the chaplain on-call, who then receives a compensatory day off from clinical duty). Interns do not accrue personal leave days.
4. Is housing provided?
No. We will inform you of housing opportunities as we learn of them.
5. Is medical insurance provided?
No. However, year-long residents receive up to $400 per month in reimbursement for medical insurance premiums they pay. This can result in an additional $3,600 in stipend.
6. Is parking provided?
Currently parking is free for chaplain students at both sites. You will need to contact the supervisor at the site where you are assigned to learn about parking policies. Both are accessible by public transit.
7. What is a typical day in the CPE program?
On Tuesday through Thursday mornings you will be in the learning group (class) and the rest of the week, you will be and serve in your assigned clinical areas, providing spiritual care to patients, family members, and employees. On Mondays through Thursdays, you will have approximately nine hours of class sessions with your peers and a one-hour individual education meeting with your Certified Educator each week. In addition, you and your peers will share in covering the overnight on-call system.
8. What is on-call coverage?
Each hospital requires that chaplains be available to respond to emergencies no matter when they occur, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In order to fulﬁll this responsibility, we assign a chaplain each day to serve as the overnight or weekend on-call chaplain. You can expect to be assigned on-call duty approximately once every ﬁve to six nights. While it is possible that you may be awakened at night or in the early morning during your call shift, we estimate that such an event occurs only about once every three or four times you are on-call. Furthermore, if you are on-call for a weekend day, you receive the preceding Friday as a compensatory day off.
9. What is required to complete a CPE unit?
In order to receive credit for a full unit of CPE training, you must complete at least 300 hours of clinical service (providing spiritual care) and 100 hours of educational time, which includes group sessions and individual education sessions. If you are absent during a unit, you may be required to make up clinical hours in order to receive credit. You must also fulﬁll the written and reading requirements, which include a weekly verbatim report (i.e., a record of a conversation you have with a patient or other care recipient), a weekly highlight report, a weekly review/summary of your individual supervisory session, a weekly clinical activity log, assigned reading, a mid-unit self-evaluation, and a ﬁnal self-evaluation.
10. There seems to be so much to know. Will I receive any orientation?
Yes. We provide a full orientation to the CPE program, including a comprehensive student handbook that should answer many of your questions about working as a chaplain in a hospital environment. In addition, the hospital where you will serve will give you an orientation within the ﬁrst month of your arrival.
11. Will I have the same certified educator?
You may have more than one supervisor during the course of your residency year.
12. Will my certified educator be qualiﬁed?
Yes. All of the supervisory staff are certiﬁed to supervise and educate CPE students, either independently or with on-site certiﬁed supervision. In addition to CPE certiﬁcation, CEs also hold credentials as board certiﬁed chaplains with the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC).
13. Can I be certiﬁed as a chaplain after taking CPE?
Four units of ACPE are required to apply to become a Board Certiﬁed Chaplain. However, certifying organizations such as APC, NACC, and NAJC have other requirements, and so the answer to this question depends to a great extent upon whether or not you meet these other requirements. Our supervisory staff will be happy to assist you in determining your status in pursuing board certiﬁcation as a chaplain.
14. Will I be able to ﬁnd work as a chaplain after taking CPE?
While we can offer no guarantees, Dignity Health puts a high emphasis on providing spiritual care to its patients, and frequently Dignity Health facilities consult us to locate potential candidates for available staff chaplain jobs.
15. Does your center have a summer internship program?
The Bay Area Center for CPE does not offer a dedicated summer internship program. On occasion, we accept interns to complete a unit of CPE, who join a group that also includes year-long residents. You are welcome to apply for an internship position, and a supervisor may call you for an interview if a summer internship position is available.