Chaplaincy Certificate Fully Online

Prepare for a Career in Chaplaincy at Central Seminary

Are you thinking about a new vocation to care for people and their loved ones? Do you love helping people through conversation and prayer? Consider preparing for your career in Chaplaincy through one of Central Seminary's certificate programs in Chaplaincy.

Where do chaplains serve? You can find Chaplains in a variety of settings including hospitals, hospice care, retirement communities, fire/police, military, corporate, corrections, sports, marketplace, veterans, camps and government. Wherever people are in need of spiritual care, the chaplain can play a vital role in helping persons and their families through difficult times.

Read further to discover the benefits of completing a chaplaincy certificate learn at Central Seminary. If you are ready to discuss your options with an admissions counselor, contact us today. We want to talk with you about your future in chaplaincy.



Attend class two nights per week to complete your certificate in one year.
Start in August, January or May.



Central is fully accredited by the
Higher Learning Commission and
Association of Theological Schools.



Excellent tuition rates.
Payments plans available.
Combine graduate certificate with a degree program and qualify for scholarships.

Chaplaincy Certificate Purpose & Outcomes

Central Seminary offers two certificates in chaplaincy. These certificates are designed to provide a basic theological and biblical foundation for pastors, church leaders and prospective students who desire to develop chaplaincy skills.

Students can earn their certificate solely through our online interactive platforms. Our online education connects you with instructors and learning colleagues live through video conferencing. You can submit all of your coursework and converse with your peers from you own home or place of work.

The curriculum of each certificate will guide students in developing a professional level identity for caregiving, understanding ethical boundaries, honing their ability to comprehend human needs, and integrating biblical and theological reflection into their vocational life.

Graduate Certificate in Chaplaincy

The Graduate Certificate in Chaplaincy is a non-degree, for credit program designed for persons interested in employment or working toward board certification as a chaplain. Persons who intend to seek professional work as a chaplain are strongly encouraged to complete the MDiv and graduate chaplaincy certificate program.

The Graduate Certificate provides a free-standing credential or can be combined as part of the Master of Arts (Theological Studies), Master of Divinity or Master of Arts in Counseling degree programs.

Professional Certificate in Chaplaincy

The Professional Certificate in Chaplaincy is a non-degree, not for credit program designed for persons interested in caregiving skills, volunteering as a chaplain or possible part-time employment as a chaplain (limited to specific types of chaplaincy).The Professional Certificate in Chaplaincy is a free-standing certificate.

Learning Outcome

Students graduating from Central Seminary's Chaplaincy Certificate program will:

  • Provide professional ministry presence to individuals in a diverse multicultural society and in varied settings.
  • Practice professional ethical boundaries in chaplaincy settings.
  • Exercise the skills and sensibilities for human spirituality needed to establish and maintain rapport with patients.
  • Be grounded in a healthy integration of multiple interpretative horizons in biblical and theological reflection.

Chaplaincy Certificate Courses & Schedule

Languages Offered In: English

Program Length: 18 credits - 1 year (full-time status = 6 or more credits per term)
*Students in the Professional Certificate will not earn credit but will take the same 6 courses listed below.

Calendar: Three 12-week terms per academic year

New students can begin in any term. Terms begin in August, January, or May.

Required Courses

The following courses can be taken in any order with the practicum occurring in the final term of the program:

Introduction to Chaplaincy
Chaplaincy in Hospice and Elder Care
The Helping Relationship
Caring Ministries
Practicum (this course generally requires in-person hours of attendance at a practicum site)

Chaplaincy Certificate Tuition & Fees

Graduate Certificate

  • Tuition - $375 per credit
  • Registration Fee - $250 per term
  • Graduation Fee - $200
  • Payment plans are available

Professional Certificate

  • Tuition - $600 per course
  • Registration Fee - $250 per term
  • Payment plans are available

(Amounts shown are for academic year 2022-2023 and only represent basic costs. Consult the current academic catalog for complete financial information.)

Interested in a Degree Program?

Combine the Graduate Certificate in Chaplaincy with one of our Master's degrees to get the best preparation.

Master of Divinity (MDiv) - complete the MDiv degree plus Introduction to Chaplaincy, Chaplaincy in Hospice and Elder Care, and The Helping Relationship

Master of Arts in Counseling (MACO) - complete the MACO degree plus Introduction to Chaplaincy, Chaplaincy in Hospice and Elder Care, Caring Ministries, Ethics

Master of Arts (Theological Studies) - complete the degree with an emphasis in Chaplaincy


Start your application anytime. Classes start in August, January, and May. Application, character references and an autobiographical statement will be required. For admission to the graduate certificate program, applicants should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited educational institution. A limited number of students without an earned baccalaureate degree or its equivalent may be admitted to a certificate program through completion of coursework in the Diploma program. Students participating in the English program for whom English is not their first language will be required to demonstrate their English proficiency.

Contact the Director

Header text

Julie J. Kilmer, Ph.D.
Director of Chaplaincy Studies
Supplemental Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics

What training and experience are required to be a Chaplain?

Although many chaplains are ordained ministers, this training is not required to work as a chaplain. However, endorsement from a faith group is often required. An endorsement may be obtained after satisfying specific education and training objectives outlined by an authority in a specific church or faith tradition. Educational requirements vary depending on the type of chaplaincy. For example, military chaplains need a master’s degree with a minimum of 72 hours in theology and ministry (MDiv), while an entry-level chaplain at a camp or workplace may only require a bachelor’s degree along with specific classes in chaplaincy. A volunteer position or part-time position as a chaplain in hospice or retirement communities may not require a bachelor’s, or master’s degree or board certification, although they are helpful.

What is required to be a Board-Certified Chaplain?

There are many professional chaplaincy organizations that offer certification, the largest of which is the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC). The APC’s Board-Certified Chaplain program provides you with the opportunity to become board certified through an extensive educational program, including four units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). Although certification is not always required, it demonstrates that you have education, training and experience in chaplaincy and will make you the most marketable when it is time to find a job.

How do I earn Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) units?

Students are eligible to use their Practicum course to earn one unit of CPE from an ACPE-approved CPE center. Students can find eligible programs here: Central does not place students and does not have input on which students are accepted into CPE programs. Students must take the initiative to find a program of interest, apply and be accepted. If CPE is not an option or required for a students educational or vocational goals, the Practicum credit can be fulfilled through a contextualized learning experience.

Get Started on your Chaplaincy Certificate Today

If you are thinking about chaplaincy, please contact us today. Central Seminary has over 100 years of history launching students into the world to be a loving presence for people who are hurting. Let us be a part of your educational and vocational journey.

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