Hospital Chaplaincy Overview

Addressing the spiritual needs of the sick and dying and their loved ones can be an incredibly rich and rewarding experience. Over half of The Chaplaincy Institute alumni work or volunteer in a hospital or hospice setting, applying the interfaith spiritual care and application principles they have learned through our programs.

Our Interfaith Studies Certificate Course prepares individuals to serve the spiritual needs of our religiously and culturally diverse world in whatever capacities they are called, including hospital or hospice chaplaincy. Many of our faculty members are professional chaplains working in these settings.

Depending on your academic and professional goals, Interfaith Studies students are required to complete 100-200 hours of supervised practicum in an area of interest that relates to their desired focus of ministry or spiritual care, and often students choose to do their practicum in a hospital or hospice environment. For many, this is the deciding factor in undertaking the journey to becoming a hospital or hospice chaplain.

Becoming a hospital chaplain involves a different set of certification criteria than becoming a hospice chaplain. Chaplaincy in a hospital generally requires a graduate degree, CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education), and board certification as a professional chaplain. The Interfaith Studies Certificate Course can be part of the process to become a hospital chaplain, and a student's practicum can be completed in a setting that meets CPE criteria.

Currently, becoming a hospice chaplain does not require certification. In many hospice settings the individuals fulfilling the chaplaincy role are called spiritual counselors. These can be paid positions and involve many of the same responsibilities undertaken by a chaplain in an institutional setting. The interfaith focus of those who participate in The Chaplaincy Institute programs make them ideal candidates for spiritual service in a hospice setting where patients and their families embrace a wide range of spiritual and religious paths and practices, or none at all.


 The Role of a Hospital Chaplain

  • Addresses spiritual needs of hospital patients and their loved ones, aligned with patients’ values and preferences
  • Provides competent and compassionate spiritual care interventions based on spiritual needs assessment
  • Offers spiritual presence and listening during times of suffering and despair
  • Comforts patients using inspirational resources important to them, such as blessing, prayer, meditation, or reading of sacred texts
  • Works to mitigate spiritual pain and to address end-of-life fears and hopes
  • Provides spiritual support, counseling, grief and healing interventions, and education for hospital staff
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