Welcome to the NCH Healthcare System ACPE CPE Program

CPE is theological and professional education for ministry. In ACPE CPE, theological students, ordained clergy, members of religious orders and qualified laypersons minister under qualified supervision to people with a variety of pastoral needs and crisis.

The CPE Chaplains serve as ecumenical chaplains at the NCH Healthcare System providing pastoral care to patients, families and staff. Through action, reflection, sharing, supervision and seminars. CPE Chaplains explore the pastoral role, pastoral identity and ministry in a multidisciplinary environment.

The ACPE CPE programs at NCH Healthcare System include an Extended Unit and a Summer Unit. Each unit of CPE is 400 hours. The ACPE CPE program fulfills one of the requirements for certification as an institutional chaplain and forms the basis for specialization as a supervisor or pastoral counselor.


The NCH Healthcare System CPE program is accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc., (ACPE) an accrediting agency nationally recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Methodology

The methodology of ACPE CPE is clinical and experiential. Clinical assignments allow students to experience the immediacy of ministry in real situations. Students also have opportunities to draw back from this setting and reflect on their work through verbatim and didactic presentations, spiritual and pastoral care seminars, the students' peer group and individual supervision. During the program, students are assigned to one or more medical units. Students meet patients and families who are facing serious acute illness, chronic illness or who are limited in their cognitive or physical functioning.

Patients' experience of loss, grief, healing and ethical questions create fertile ground for the development of significant pastoral interaction. Patients with chronic illness with limited relational abilities challenge students to learn a variety of ways to provide pastoral care. Students have the opportunity to interact with other staff members to more fully understand patient experiences. Each student has the opportunity to experience him/herself in ministry and to identify the individual theological resources brought to ministerial experiences.

All students serve as chaplains in the hospital. They minister to persons from every social strata, persons who are experiencing a wide variety of physical and emotional stress. A unique component of the NCH CPE Program includes training in crisis intervention and stress management.


ACPE Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), a supervised learning experience in understanding and practicing the art of pastoral care, has been a part of theological education for more than 75 years. The ACPE CPE program focuses on pastoral ministry in the rapidly changing climate of health care. Students are challenged to identify their own learning needs and objectives and establish a learning covenant. The supervisor, peer group, staff and patients become educational resources for the completion of the learning covenant.

  • Pastoral Reflection - Reflection of one's self as person and pastor in relationship to persons in crisis, the supervisor, and peer group members, as well as the curriculum and institutional setting.
  • Pastoral Formation - Focus on personal and pastoral identity issues in learning and ministry.
  • Pastoral Competence - Deepening and unfolding of competence in pastoral function, pastoral skills and knowledge of theology and the behavioral sciences.

As developing ministers, students have the opportunity to pursue educational goals related to pastoral identity, self-understanding, relational skills, theological questions and the use of religious resources. Clinical supervision provides guidance and structure for the overall program. The action-reflection methodology allows students to experience themselves in ministry and then utilize reflective opportunities to understand these experiences.

The Hospital

The NCH Healthcare System is comprised of Naples Community Hospital (422 beds) and North Naples Hospital (325 beds) located in Naples, Florida. Inpatient services include medical and surgical including the Neuroscience Center, the Shick Heart Center, Comprehensive Rehabilitation Center, NCH Behavioral Health, Oncology, Emergency, Birth Place, and Pediatrics.

Specialty services that are provided for the care of certain critical and life-threatening medical conditions are: Medical Intensive Care Unit, Cardiac Care Unit, Telemetry, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Community Health Clinic and the Lutgert Cancer Center.

The Community

Naples is located in Collier County on the Gulf of Mexico in Southwest Florida. Recreation, natural beauty, education and cultural opportunities can all be a part of the ACPE CPE experience.

Professional Advisory Group

The Professional Advisory Group is an interdisciplinary committee made up of members of the NCH Healthcare System and the religious community of Naples. The committee is charged with the oversight and advisory functions of the ACPE CPE program. It meets to review policies and procedures. Members also meet as a sub-committee to interview prospective CPE students. The PAG members are strongly committed to providing quality Clinical Pastoral Education at the NCH Healthcare System and also serve as faculty throughout the year for a variety of presentations.

Program Options

The following ACPE Clinical Pastoral Education programs are offered:

  • An Extended Quarter: 22 weeks, 20 hours per week, October – March
    • Applications for this program are due no later than the first week of April.
  • An Intensive Quarter: 10 weeks, 40 hours per week, June - August
    • Applications for this program are due no later than the first week of December.

Each quarter of CPE includes over 400 hours of pastoral care training. Tuition is $550.00, Application Fee is $35, and Interview fee is also $35.

Requirements & Application

Enrollment is limited to five students per program. Each group is interdenominational. Those qualified for an ACPE CPE unit include seminary students, clergy or lay people with an interest in ministry. Students need to articulate their goals for taking Clinical Pastoral Education. A completed application form and an interview with an ACPE CPE supervisor are part of the application process. Questions regarding the program should be directed to:

Rev. Michael R. Harper
ACPE Supervisor
NCH Healthcare System
P. 0. Box 413029
Naples, FL 34101-3029
PH: (239) 624-2600
FAX: (239) 624-2601

Email the Pastoral Care Department

For Additional Information
Contact ACPE, Inc. at:
1549 Clairmont Rd., Suite 103
Decatur, GA 30033-4635
(404) 320-1472 • Fax: 320-0849


The  Application for The Clinical Pastoral Education Program is presented in PDF format which may be downloaded, printed,  filled out and mailed to:

NCH Healthcare System
Attn: Chaplain's Office
P.O. Box 413029
Naples, FL 34101-3029

Click Here to Download an NCH Application for Clinical Pastoral Education Program

Click Here to Download the Clinical Pastoral Education Brochure