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Chaplain New Credentialing & Certification Standards

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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.

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