Continuing Education Program Guidelines

The Continuing Education Program is focused on the professional development of board certified, provisional certified and associate certified chaplains who are designated by the Board of Chaplaincy Certification Inc. (BCCI). The purpose of continuing education for maintenance of BCCI certification is advancement of professional clinical and/or administrative practice. Continuing education benefits the individual, the employing facility and the profession as a whole. Guidelines for continuing education activities are described below.

Per the Common Standards for Professional Chaplaincy:

  • All board certified, associate certified and provisional certified chaplains are required to accumulate at least 50 hours of continuing education (CE) per calendar year through participation in a broad range of educational experiences that relate to professional chaplaincy.
  • Guidelines by Methodology

General Guidelines

  1. An Annual Summary of Continuing Education must be submitted each year by January 31 for the previous calendar year through the certification portal.
  2. Continuing education hours counted should be in the field of professional chaplaincy development for the board certified or associate certified chaplain and to further advance professional practice or skills, as outlined in the Common Standards for Professional Chaplaincy.
  3. A continuing education (CE) hour is equal to 60 minutes. Actual education time is counted (total time minus meals and breaks).
  4. A continuing education activity may be counted only once. For example, if a chaplain presents a program multiple times, the preparation and presentation time can be counted only once. If a book or article is read more than once, it is counted only once.
  5. Activities that are a regular, or routine, part of one’s professional job description that are not intended to contribute to one’s professional development may not be used as continuing education.
  6. Up to 10 hours of education that contributes to development as a chaplain manager, department director or administrator may be counted as CE. Examples include finance, personnel management, leadership and HR law.
  7. CE hours must use at least two methodologies, as outlined below.
  8. At least 5 of the 50 hours must be recorded under Methodology 8, Research.

Guidelines by Methodology

As you complete your Annual Summary of Continuing Education Hours please refer to the following guidelines, listed by methodology, regarding what may and may not be counted as CE on your form.

Click the blue bar below to view the details of each methodology.

Methodology 1 – Attending Educational Events

DOES Count:

  • Workshops, symposiums, seminars, Webinars
    • related directly to chaplaincy
    • elated to the specialty field in which a chaplain works (e.g. palliative care, trauma, etc.)
    • related to the culture to which the chaplain ministers
  • Grand Round lectures
  • Academic Courses related to chaplaincy, leading to a certificate or advanced degree

DOESN’T Count:

  • Educational events on topics unrelated to chaplaincy (e.g. the environment)
  • Clinical pastoral education (CPE)
  • Interdisciplinary rounds

Methodology 2 – Writing

Writing activities should be counted for the year in which they were written, not the year in which they were published.

DOES Count:

  • Writing for publication or presentation, such as articles, books or media materials you have authored on topics related to professional chaplaincy
  • Original articles utilizing some amount of information-gathering (literature search) and that are presented for review before publishing; include reviews of professional, chaplaincy-related books and/or articles
  • Writing or compiling a presentation (see Methodology 3, Teaching)

DOESN’T Count:

  • Sermons
  • Newsletter articles
  • Blog entries
  • Op-ed pieces
  • Letters to editors

Methodology 3 – Teaching

I. Categorizing Time Related to Teaching

Typically, teaching and preparation involve three steps:

  1. Literature search (information gathering)
  2. Compiling and organizing the information
  3. Actually teaching

On your Annual Summary of Continuing Education Hours form, log the time expended for each step under the three different CE methodologies actually used, as follows:

1. Literature search/information gatheringReading, Methodology 5 or, if reading research-based literature, then Research, Methodology 8
2. CompilingWriting, Methodology 2
3. TeachingTeaching, Methodology 3


  • Compiling does not include time spent making PowerPoint slides look nice or photocopying handouts. Ask yourself the following question: “Is this content creation or format creation?”
  • The first time you teach a particular set of material may be counted as CE. Subsequent presentations of the same material may not be counted as CE.

II. Teaching Forums*

DOES Count:

  • Formal teaching
  • Leading a seminar
  • Grand Rounds (not interdisciplinary patient care rounds)
  • CPE didactic
  • Conference workshop
  • Chaplaincy-related seminary class

* list the specific title/topic on your Annual Summary of Continuing Education Hours form.

DOESN’T Count:

  • Ongoing CPE supervision of students
  • Presiding over worship or a service in one’s place of employment
  • Facilitating a grief or spirituality group*
  • Retreat*
  • Leading or teaching adult/teen/children’s education in one’s place of worship

* except to the extent that it includes new didactic content that is appropriate, per Teaching Content guidelines below

III. Teaching Content

Reminders: Count reading time as Reading (Methodology 5). Count compiling time as Writing (Methodology 2). Count actual teaching time as Teaching (Methodology 3). The first time you teach a particular set of material may be counted as CE. Subsequent presentations of the same material may not be counted as CE.

DOES Count:

  • Teaching chaplains new tools/information to help them become better chaplains
  • Teaching about a faith or culture in order to enhance the care provided
  • Spiritual matters
  • Chaplaincy matters
  • Medical ethics
  • Teaching aspects of spiritual, pastoral or ethical issues in class for medical residents or interdisciplinary colleagues

DOESN’T Count:

  • Teaching general class on scripture or religion
  • Teaching subject not connected to experience of chaplaincy
  • Sermonic
  • Meditation moment
  • Ritual service
  • Memorial service
  • Bible study
  • Leading worship

Methodology 4 – Professional Self-Care

(4 hours max.)

Professional self-care sessions must be structured, and geared toward professional growth and balance.

DOES Count:

  • Sessions with a Spiritual Director
  • Spiritual retreats
  • Professional counseling with licensed psychologist, social worker or therapist

DOESN’T Count:

  • Personal massage
  • Yoga
  • Case review
  • Colleague support group
  • Denominational clergy meetings

Methodology 5 – Reading/Self-Instruction

Self-instruction in professional chaplaincy-related topics through documented literature search and reading, including peer-reviewed literature, professional journals, books, and other media. Cite the books, articles, and media on your Annual Summary of Continuing Education Hours form.

DOES Count:

  • Reading books and articles about chaplaincy-related topics
  • Reading for educational coursework toward an advanced degree related to chaplaincy or professional chaplaincy-related function
    • Examples: ethics, pastoral care, psychology, sociology, and pastoral leadership
  • Self-instruction for the purpose of teaching a topic related to chaplaincy
    • Example: reading new literature about grief to teach a seminar on grief

DOESN’T Count:

  • Anything not related to self-instruction; part of job
  • Reading not directly related to chaplaincy, e.g. computer manuals, hospital policies
  • Reading that is part of educational coursework, which is not related to chaplaincy, e.g. church history

Methodology 6 – Own Peer Review

Include up to five hours for your own BCCI peer review (or equivalent for dually certified chaplains). BCCI peer review meetings for another person may be counted under Methodology 7, Service to APC.

DOES Count:

  • Your personal maintenance of BCCI certification peer review (submit Peer Review Report Form to national office within 10 days of peer review, per maintenance of certification requirements)
  • Your personal licensing and/or ordination exam/group interview for your own faith affiliation, if it includes a face-to-face meeting with two or more colleagues and a dialogue about your ministry as a chaplain
  • Your personal covenant group, if it includes a formal presentation of your ministry as a chaplain (such as a verbatim or case study) and allows for documented critique and frank discussion by two or more colleagues
  • Your professional consultation as a chaplain, supervisor, manager or director about your related ministry that includes a formal presentation (such as a verbatim or case study) and allows for documented critique and frank discussion by two or more colleagues

DOESN’T Count:

  • A covenant or support group (as a leader or as a participant) that does not include a formal presentation of your ministry, as described above
  • Regular (weekly, monthly, etc.) meetings and groups that are a part of your function as a chaplain, employee or faith group leader (e.g. report time, departmental meetings, grief, cancer support, spirituality, ethics, palliative care, faith group, reunions, interdisciplinary rounds)
  • Your personal ACPE certification meeting for readiness, associate supervisor and/or supervisor
  • Your similar personal certification meetings for any of the chaplaincy professional organizations
  • Your personal CPE consultation to move from Level I to Level II CPE
  • Consultation, review, certification and accreditation meetings for another person

Methodology 7 – Service to APC/BCCI

(20 hours max.)

Service to APC/BCCI that is of educational value to you.

DOES Count:

  • Serving on a peer review committee for another chaplain’s BCCI maintenance of certification peer review (1.5 hours)
  • Serving on a BCCI certification committee (1 meeting = 5 hours, up to 20 total hours)
  • Serving in a state, area or national leadership role within APC or BCCI (up to 10 hours)
  • Serving as a BCC consultant on ACPE accreditation site reviews (up to 10 hours)

DOESN’T Count:

  • Volunteer activities for groups other than APC or BCCI

Methodology 8 – Research

(minimum of 5 hours)

Research-based continuing education related to chaplaincy. Research is defined as participating in a research study as a principal investigator, co-investigator, collaborator, or consultant (including design, literature search/evaluation, intervention, data analysis, writing/revising manuscript or poster) and or reading about a research project conducted by others which has been published in a peer-reviewed journal or presented in poster form at a conference and reflecting on how the study findings relate to one’s practice of clinical chaplaincy.

DOES Count:

  • Reading research articles/papers (e.g. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, Journal of Religion Spirituality & Aging)
  • Attending research-based continuing education events (e.g. APC Webinar Journal Club)
  • Writing an article/paper based on quantitative or qualitative research
  • Conducting qualitative or quantitative chaplaincy-related research, including time spent analyzing data, conducting interviews, literature review, etc.

DOESN’T Count:

  • Time spent being interviewed/studied as part of someone else’s research

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