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Registration Open for May and June Start Dates
for Two Highly Praised Online Certificate Courses from HealthCare Chaplaincy Network and the California State University Institute for Palliative Care

Fundamentals Course: Palliative Care Chaplaincy Specialty Certificate

 “Fantastic course! It is well prepared and is a great foundation the broad aspects of palliative care practice for entry level and long serving palliative care chaplains ─ typical comment from a student who has completed the course

Next cohort starts May 18th   Learn more or to register here.

Advanced Palliative Care Chaplaincy Specialty Certificate

“I believe future students will be amazed by the new skills they will have gained by the completion of the course.   I am one of them.” ─ typical comment from a student who has completed the course

Next cohort starts June 15th.   Learn more or to register here.


Following the announcement of the new Spiritual Care Association (SCA) two weeks ago, many Board Certified Chaplains have said they will obtain Board Certification from SCA by providing the required documentation of their certification. Other chaplains who are not Board Certified have said they will pursue the BCC or Credentialing process through SCA.

A key requirement for those seeking status as a newly Board Certified or Credentialed chaplain is proof of their competency through SCA's assessment, which consists of the new online test of evidence-based scope of practice plus demonstration through either a simulated patient experience or one or more verbatims.

Chaplains have asked, "In addition to my clinical training, clinical experience and education, what is the curriculum to prepare me for this assessment of my competency?"

The curriculum consists of one credit or the equivalent in at least three of the following areas: a) quality improvement b) research c) spiritual assessment, care planning, and documentation d) cultural competency/inclusion e) end of life f) grief/bereavement g) ethics h) religious faith systems i) communication or j) basic pathophysiology.

These courses can be pursued in two ways - either through SCA's Online Learning Center OR Master's level studies through another institution of higher education.

In addition, to help candidates prepare for testing, SCA will provide test preparation modules for those who apply to become newly BCC or Credentialed.

I extend an open invitation to all chaplaincy education providers to incorporate content from the SCA Online Learning Center as didactics into their programs. Special arrangements can be made for students to participate. I welcome a conversation. Please contact me at info@SpiritualCareAssociation.org.

We welcome your comments and questions at info@SpiritualCareAssociation.org.

Peace & Blessings!

Eric Hall Signature

Rev. Eric J. Hall
President & CEO
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network and Spiritual Care Association


The chaplaincy field's response has been overwhelmingly positive to the announcement last week of the Spiritual Care Association's new evidence-based standards for Chaplain Credentialing and Certification.

Also, many of you have asked us to explain more the thinking behind the development of these standards.

We were guided by a goal that might be called evidence-based competency. In short, to be included there must be some evidence that a requirement contributes to the competence of the chaplain. For example, the requirement for credits in specific content areas is aligned with and supports the named competencies.

To summarize:

  • The process to develop these standards was methodical and disciplined.
  • The key feature of this new process is testing, which has two major components: demonstration of clinical competency through use of simulated patient interviews and testing of knowledge and skills through a state-of-the-art online test.
  • An objective assessment of competencies replaces a subjective assessment.
  • Minimum number of CPE units is one part of overall requirements for credentialing and certification. Recognize that the inability to pass the simulated patient interviews may result in a recommendation by the committee to take additional CPE units to acquire the skills necessary.
  • SCA’s credentialing and certification process will not require faith group endorsement. This endorsement is not an evidence-based indicator of the person’s competency as a chaplain.
  • This new system for credentialing and certification, and all of the other components on which it rests are open to continuing research and development by the field.

Please find the full rationale document for these evidence-based standards here.



What a week!

It is with great excitement and gratitude that we announce that in just one week since our introduction, more than 500 members now belong to the Spiritual Care Association! This is not to mention the dozens upon dozens of emails we are currently responding to in which  individuals and organizations of all professions are reacting with enthusiasm to the rallying cry to collaborate around the spiritual care agenda and the profession of chaplaincy.
Months ago when we decided it was time to finally establish a Gold Standard for chaplaincy -- a standard marked by a defined curriculum and competency exams already set and in practice by other health care professions, we believed there was the need, but we were unaware whether those of you in the field would respond as favorably as you have. Would you accept the challenge to raise the bar of your profession and assist in making it on par with other professions?  Based on the responses, you, as well as your organizations and institutions, are in favor of -- and demanding of -- standardization, clearly defined quality indicators, a defined scope of practice, and objective testing of clinical competencies.  Yet another find from your correspondences is the value you place on the SCA Learning Center, our more flexible and convenient approach to Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), and our robust advocacy agenda.  We are very glad all of these are being so well received.
In just this past week this conversation has risen to the international level with chaplains and organizations from all over the world asking questions and getting involved. Also, surprisingly, several associations are beginning to collaborate. This is great news for us at SCA and HCCN, but most importantly this is awesome news for all of us in spiritual care. Together, united behind this well-defined vision articulated last week, we have the opportunity to make a real difference for the field, the profession, and people in need of spiritual care.
Peace & Blessings!

Rev. Eric J. Hall
President & CEO
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network and Spiritual Care Association

The formation of the Spiritual Care Association (SCA), announced this past week, is aimed at modernizing, standardizing, growing and unifying the profession of chaplaincy and field of spiritual care -- for the benefit of health care settings, providers, and, most of all, patients and their families. 

Through our new credentialing and certification process for chaplains, we are opening up the field to include capable and competent chaplains, and we are significantly raising the bar for certification. We will accomplish this through education based on research (evidence) and testing based on knowledge, demonstration of clinical competencies, and skills.

Currently, more than a dozen chaplaincy groups within the U.S. offer varying education/training, research, certification and accreditation. It is time for standardization and objective certification.

SCA's innovative approach to chaplain training, credentialing, certification, and continued education incorporates the desires and issues raised by those of you in the field and thought leaders over decades, and:

  1. Provides education and a required knowledge base founded in the latest research. It will build over time as more research unfolds.
  2. Brings chaplaincy to the level of training and demonstrated clinical competencies required by other professional disciplines, including doctors, nurses, social workers and therapists. SCA's credentialing and certification responds to the need for training to be tested, and relies on standardized testing and a standardized patient encounter to demonstrate clinical competency, knowledge base, and best practices.
  3. Opens professional chaplaincy to all capable and competent individuals, who can now enter the field through various pathways while ultimately demonstrating the required degree of knowledge and competency. By providing pathways for credentialing and certification that focus on knowledge and demonstration of skills, those who have been unable to meet the outdated and rigid requirements that do not consider culture, belief tradition, geographical location, age, and financial resources will now be able to be trained, credentialed or certified, and continually educated to provide the best care for those whom they serve.
  4. Commits itself to continually evolve as further evidence becomes available in the fields of chaplaincy training, practice, and education. 

SCA can take spiritual care to its next phase of growth in a structured and professional route. We invite you to learn more about SCA at www.SpiritualCareAssociation.org. We welcome your comments and questions at info@spiritualcareassociation.org, and we look forward to your participation. 


Rev. Eric J. Hall

President & CEO

HealthCare Chaplaincy Network and Spiritual Care Association