Clinical Pastoral Education Program - Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas
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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Clinical Pastoral Education Program

What is Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)? 

CPE is an educational experience for qualified ministers who learn as they engage Veterans. They pull from personal reflection and the feedback they receive from peers, the CPE educator, chaplain, hospital staff, and members of the CPE Professional Advisory Group. 

The feedback includes both support and challenges. Guided by the Standards of ACPE, the CPE student will grow in three major areas:

  1. Pastoral formation
  2. Pastoral competence
  3. Pastoral reflection

Why CPE?

MEDVAMC is a teaching hospital with a variety of disciplines. CPE is considered the Graduate Medical Education (GME) program for Pastoral Care, which qualifies ministers to become VA chaplains (and any other institutional setting with chaplains). The placement rate for graduates of the VA GME CPE programs into VA positions and other hospitals is high.

Who can apply?

Clinical Pastoral Education is post-graduate, professional education for both clergy and lay persons who are called to prepare for pastoral care and pastoral counseling. The full-time, year-long stipended program requires that students:

  1. Be ordained or endorsed to ministry by an approved endorsing body
  2. Have completed a Graduate Level Master of Divinity from an approved and accredited school, and
  3. Have completed at least one prior unit of CPE (though that can be waived for certain persons).

The part-time without compensation program (Extended CPE) requires that students be enrolled in a Master of Divinity Program at a minimum. The next Extended Class begins in October 2020.

Preference is given to Veterans for all programs, though non-Veterans are encouraged to apply.

The CPE Program at MEDVAMC is accredited to provide Level I/II CPE by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE): The Standard for Spiritual Care and Education, 55 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd., Suite 835, Atlanta, GA 30308, 404-320-1472,

The dates of our next extended programs (without compensation) will be January-June 2022 and July-December 2022. Applications are taken up to two months before the programs begin.

For more information or to apply for CPE at MEDVAMC, please contact:

Chaplain James E. Duke, DMIN, BCC, ACPE Certified Educator
Chaplain Services
2002 Holcombe Blvd.
Houston, TX 77030
713-791-1414, extension 22523