VITAS Clinical Pastoral Education: Admissions Policy


VITAS shall not discriminate against any individual for reasons of race, gender, age, faith group, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.

This policy is notwithstanding, all students accepted in the program shall be able, with reasonable accommodation, to physically perform the duties as contained in the chaplain (staff) or chaplain intern (volunteer) job description.

At all levels, the CPE student needs to sustain sufficient physical and emotional health to deliver spiritual care. The student must demonstrate the capacity to consistently establish and maintain relationships at significant levels and be open to diversity, learning, change and growth. The CPE student must demonstrate a capacity to endure at least moderate amounts of stress, which is a normal part of institutional culture. It is also necessary for students to provide their own transportation to patient/family visits, clinical meetings and educational sessions. Students should have a solid understanding of the English language and be able to effectively communicate in oral and written form.

Admission Requirements:

  1. Applicants shall provide a completed ACPE application with accompanying materials and documentation.
    • Submitted materials should reflect an openness to sharing, the capacity to reflect at deeper levels and being receptive to the learning process.
  2. Persons applying for an initial unit of training shall complete an admissions interview with an interviewer that ACPE deems qualified to determine readiness for clinical learning. Other persons required to interview are those applying to VITAS who did previous CPE with other organizations. Individuals who have completed at least one unit of training with VITAS and desire to take additional units, may be accepted based on the student’s previous materials and evaluations. Acceptance is at the discretion of the ACPE Certified Educators.
  3. Applicants shall provide evidence of either graduation from high school/ completion of a GED or ordination by a faith community or commission to function in ministry by an appropriate religious authority as determined by ACPE.
  4. Master’s level training and the ability to reflect theologically is preferred but not required.
  5. Applicants will be accepted for a specific program of CPE: Level I, Level II or ACPE Certified Educator Training.
  6. Persons pursuing Level II training are to include previous CPE evaluations written by the supervisor demonstrating that Level 1 outcomes have been met, as well as any process notes or report composed by a consultation committee regarding readiness for advancement.
  7. Clinical placements with other institutions will be negotiated on a case by case basis involving consultation with senior management. If an agreement is made, a clinical placement agreement will be created and appropriate signatures secured. Such an agreement may require administrative oversight fees in addition to tuition. For proprietary reasons, the general rule of VITAS is not to accept students who work for other hospices.


The CPE Certified Educator at the local component/site will follow up with all applicants within two weeks of receiving their materials and the required application fee via telephone or email to confirm receipt. At that time, the CPE Certified Educator will review the admission interview process with the candidate and discuss the time frame involved. The Annual notice is posted on the webpage for review at any time at Persons applying to one of the VITAS CPE components/sites are asked to sign a FERPA release form and submit it along with their written materials prior to the admission interview – or at least before the start of the training program.

Notifications of decisions will normally be made within three weeks of the time the interview took place via telephone, email or letter.

If there is a possibility that prospective students accepted into a VITAS CPE program will be working with a Candidate or Associate Certified Educator for their unit of training, they will be asked to sign a Consent form (see Appendix 5, ACPE Certification Manual 2016) that will be explained to them and made accessible during the interview. Written permission will be received prior to “formal admission” to the program.

Students accepted into the program must successfully complete all minimum requirements delineated by the Human Resource Department of VITAS Healthcare prior to starting the CPE program and have positive responses from references given.

If any concerns regarding the admissions process arise and persons are not comfortable speaking with the CPE Supervisor at the local site, they are welcome to contact the CPE System Director, Rev. Dr. Martha Rutland at

Revised 1-13-2020 MJA