Graduate Studies

Pastoral Care and Counseling Certificate 
for the Pastoral Care Specialist (CPCS)

The Certificate for the Pastoral Care Specialist (CPCS) program seeks to strengthen pastoral identity, spirituality, and pastoral care practice through a combination of theoretical understanding and practical skills. This certificate meets all the requirements and standards of membership in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors’ (AAPC) category of the same name.

The Certificate for the Pastoral Care Specialist program is designed for persons, e.g., ministers, deacons, hospice workers, and/or lay pastoral caregivers, who, while involved in ministries of pastoral support and caregiving, do not aspire to function as a pastoral counselor/psychotherapist. Completion of an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited degree-granting institution is required for admission into this certificate program. 

To earn the CPCS, the student must successfully complete 18 credits of required course work and clinical practice, as well as confer with a faculty advisor at the conclusion of his/her study to complete a consultation portfolio that provides needed resources and contacts for continuing referral and consultation. This portfolio both serves as the culminating integration and summation of all course work taken throughout the certificate program, and meets the stated directive of the AAPC that the Pastoral Care Specialist “receive guidance regarding the limits of supporting pastoral care, including the criteria for referral to qualified professionals.”

Certificate for the Pastoral Care Specialist Outcomes

At the completion of the CPCS program, the student will be able to:

  • Understand pastoral care theology and principles.

  • Embrace holistic training in the integration of the psychological with the spiritual.

  • Develop competencies in crisis intervention; substance abuse, grief and loss, and supportive counseling methods for individuals, marriages, and families; as well as diagnosis and referrals.

  • Increase an awareness of the importance of demographic issues (such as age, faith tradition, ethnicity, gender) when dealing with a diverse population of clients.

  • Reinforce the belief and application that “knowledge, while valuable of itself, is to be used in the service of others.” (Neumann University Mission Statement)

  • Be prepared for continuing study, if desired, in either the Pastoral Counseling or Spiritual Direction Master’s degree program at Neumann University. (All credits that are obtained in the CPCS program can be applied to either of the two Pastoral Care and Counseling degree tracks.) 

For more information, please call the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid
at (610) 558-5616 or (800) 9-NEUMANN or feel free to e-mail us at