Clinical Pastoral Education



Contact for Information

Email us: [email protected]

Mercy Springfield
Susan Buchanan
Manager of Pastoral Education

Mercy Oklahoma City
David Kilpatrick
Certified Educator Candidate

Mercy St. Louis
Allison Wible
Certified Educator Candidate

Mercy South (St. Louis)
Roman Kozlov
Certified Educator Candidate

Ministry Office
Sam Naidoo
Director of Pastoral Education

CPE Residencies are available in Springfield, MO, St. Louis, MO, and Oklahoma City, OK.
Extended units and the summer intensive are available throughout the Mercy system in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
Online CPE for students not doing clinical hours with Mercy is limited to extended or summer units as spaces are available.

About Mercy CPE Program

Mercy Clinical Pastoral Education Program prepares ordained, professed, licensed and lay persons for chaplaincy and faith-based ministry. The program provides experience-based theological education in five key categories: spiritual formation and integration, awareness of self and others, relational dynamics, spiritual care interventions and professional development.

We honor the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy by respecting the dignity and the unique diversity of all CPE students as they prepare for service, regardless of culture, ethnic group or faith tradition.

As the name suggests, CPE is:


CPE has a strong "hands-on" component. Students meet with patients/residents/clients and from their interaction develop their awareness and skills for pastoral care. Mercy includes a variety of clinical possibilities in urban, suburban, and rural settings. Board-certified chaplains serve as clinical mentors.


CPE is pastoral, focusing on putting an individual’s theology into practice. Some describe CPE as “doing” theology versus “learning” theology. Depending on the particular CPE program, participants bring to their work a graduate degree in theology, work toward such a degree, or have the sufficient theological background to do pastoral ministry.


Above all CPE is adult learning. A unit of CPE is at least 400 hours combining no less than 100 hours of structured group and individual education with supervised clinical practice in ministry.

Chaplain Certification

Most national certifying bodies require a minimum of four accredited units of CPE prior to application for chaplain certification. For certification information consider the following:

CPE units taken at Mercy are recognized by all of these certifying bodies.

CPE Program Accreditation

Mercy has offered Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) since 1974 through accreditation by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Commission on Certification and Accreditation (USCCB/CCA). Since 2008 the program has been accredited by ACPE: The Standard for Spiritual Care & Education.

Our CPE Programs

Residency Program

Full-time, 12-month, four-unit CPE program from early September to late August. Intended for persons aiming at a level of competence that permits them to attain professional board certification as chaplains and/or admission to Educator CPE, or serve as faith community spiritual care specialists. Learn more about our Residency Program here.

Summer Unit

Full-time, 11-week, program from early June to August. One unit of CPE. Intended for seminarians as part of their ordination process and for other qualified persons—lay and ordained—who wish to discern their future ministry options, hone their ministry skills, or prepare to do a CPE residency. Learn more about our Summer Unit here.

Extended Unit

Part-time, 17-week or 9-month program for CPE Interns serving at institutions with the Mercy Health Ministry. The program seeks to accommodate persons with commitments (e.g. job or profession) that do not permit full-time CPE. Learn more about the Extended Unit Program here.

Educator CPE

The Certification Process is designed as a developmental, competency-based approach to learning. Evaluation of CECs/CESs is ongoing and is grounded in clearly articulated competencies that are required to successfully engage in our work. Competency-based learning utilizes systems of instruction, assessment and reporting that are based on students demonstrating that they have learned the knowledge and skills they are expected to learn as they progress through the process. Learn more about the Educator CPE here.

Online CPE

Students are accepted as space is available in the summer or extended units. Part-time program for CPE Interns who arrange for a clinical placement, with approval of the CPE Educator, outside of the Mercy Health Ministry. The program seeks to accommodate persons with commitments (e.g. job or profession) that do not permit fulltime CPE.  Learn more about our online program here.

Upcoming CPE Programs

Learn more about upcoming CPE Programs here.

How to Apply to CPE

Applications may be sent by email to [email protected]

Payment should be sent to:

Mercy Hospital-5H
Attn: Michelle Barone
Pastoral Education Center
1235 East Cherokee
Springfield, MO 65804