Clinical Pastoral Education
at Harris Health

Harris Health System Clinical Pastoral Residents

Harris Health is proud to offer world-class educational opportunities for those seeking to grow their spiritual care practice. If you are interested in learning more about this rewarding and enriching program, please review all of the resources on this page. We look forward to welcoming you into our community.

Residency Requirements

Step 1: Research

Visit the ACPE website to learn more about Clinical Pastoral Education. If you believe that this is the right program for you, please download the ACPE application and FERPA form.

Step 2: Complete the Application

  • Complete the ACPE Application & FERPA form
  • Submit your resume, completed application and FERPA form via email or post mail the application package.
  • Post mail the application fee of $25. The application will not be processed without the fee.
  • Application Deadline: May 30th each year
  • Candidate Interviews: Throughout the Year
  • Residency Offer: Immediately following the formal interview
  • Program Start Date: August 14th 2023
  • Program Duration: From August 14th 2023 till August 8th 2024
  • Faculty:
    • John Opiyo MDiv, MA CE, Professional Board Certified
    • Chaplains
    • Ladislao Robinson
    • Cletus Udoh
    • Jacob Verugese and Adjunct ACPE Certified Educators in the Houston Medical District

Step 3: Application Review & Interviews

We will contact you either by phone or email when we receive your application. If you are selected for an interview, we will invite you to come to Ben Taub Hospital or may interview by phone. We will stay in contact throughout the process to let you know the status of this decision.

Steps to admission

  1. Submit a completed ACPE application. Application may be found on the ACPE website.
  2. When applying for residency, make sure that you submit a copy of all evaluations (Student and supervisor) from previous CPE units.
  3. After screening selected applicants will be invited to interview with supervisor and the centers interviewing committee.
  4. Applicants will be notified of acceptance or denial by letter.

CPE Year Residency: Five positions are available beginning the first week of September each year. The Residency is for 12 months. Prior CPE unit and master’s degree preferred but not required.

Tuition per unit: $300.00


  • First Year Residency: $43,326.00
  • Second Year Residency: $43,326.00

Other for chaplain Benefits include:

  • Competitive Health insurance
  • Sick leave
  • Public Holiday paid time off
  • Accrued Paid Time off

Extended Unit: (We are currently not accepting applications for this program)

For more information, contact: Harris Health System Human Resources and the Certified Educator of Clinical Pastoral Education:

Application forms can be obtained from the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education website provided;

Step 4: HR Hiring Process

If you are invited into the program you will then be responsible to complete the HR hiring process. This includes an online application, background check and physical in accordance with Harris Health policy. If you are an individual with a disability and require assistance during the hiring process, this can be requested by sending an email to

FAQs about CPE at Harris Health

What are the program's admission requirements?

What kind of educational requirements do you have?

  • Master of Divinity degree or equivalent and one unit of CPE preferred
  • Experience that demonstrates the ability to function pastorally in Level I trauma center
  • Religious and adjudicatory endorsement or written recommendation from faith group experience in ministerial work.
  • Computer competency and communication skills both written and verbal
  • ACPE online application
  • Acceptance by Harris Health System’s CPE admission committee

If I don’t have these educational requirements, will I be considered?

While the M.Div. is the traditional route into professional chaplaincy, we recognize this may not be available or appropriate to everyone who wishes to gain ministry skills in spiritual care and is not the norm for persons of every faith tradition. Diversity in the peer group is highly valued. We will consider alternative backgrounds in education to evaluate the applicant’s formation for ministry and readiness for CPE learning. We also consider both paid and volunteer experience. Because CPE is considered graduate level education, the applicant should be able to demonstrate ability to succeed at that academic level. Graduate work in a related field or significant experience and interest in the care of souls will be considered on a case by case basis.

What is the typical day for a CPE resident?

While there might be some variations, a typical day as a CPE Student would like the following (subject to change): 8:00 a.m. – 4:30p.m.

  • Required Shift Change meeting 8:00am - 8:15am
  • Clinical Ministry 8:15 - 12:00 noon
  • Lunch Break 12:00 - 12:30pm
  • Class prep and handing over 12:30 - 12:45
  • Class Sessions Tues, Wed, Thurs 1:00pm - 4:00pm
  • Shift Change 4:00pm - 4:15pm
  • Wrap up 4:15 - 4:30pm

NOTE: Each chaplain resident is scheduled to work an overnight shift on a given Friday once a month on rotational basis. The shift begins at 8:00pm to the next day at 8:00am

Secondly, CPE schedule at some given weeks be more than 40 hours a week combining education and clinical hours. Please refer to CPE guideline # 17 on Work schedule in the handbook.

Is CPE learning like college or seminary?

Not exactly, because it is goes beyond theoretical and experiential learning to the integrative aspects of education. The learning provides the learner the forum to test various theories and theological assumptions within a structured, guided and reflective environment of adult education. The learning is built around group process that is guided and directed by a trained, experienced ACPE educator. It is an internship with both work and student roles. Half of the training involves academic learning similar to seminary education and the other half is work and experiential knowledge. Class assignments and projects are given and evaluated both by the educator and peers. If you are interested in learning more about general requirements for successful completion of the CPE program, please reach out to a member of the CPE team.

What does ‘process theory of learning’ mean?

A process model of learning focuses on providing opportunity for experiences which educators have identified as offering intellectual challenge through thinking tasks and problem solving without identifying singular outcomes. In teaching information skills within a process model, students are encouraged to actively engage in information rather than to listen unquestioningly as they receive the knowledge of others. Not only do students learn by doing, they also reflect on the learning process itself so that when a situation arises where information skills are called for, they can create a plan to address their needs drawing on their own understanding of previous knowledge and interpretation. In this way they take control of the learning process and are able to transfer their skills from one situation to another. The relationship of the learner to the information source is direct whereby student learning is a personal interpretation rather than translation of the teacher's experience. Learners can construct their own framework of understanding to make meaning of a subject and convert it into personal knowledge. This kind of internal processing encourages the use of metacognition whereby students question what they need to know and identify the means to obtaining needed information. For more information on this topic, please reach out to a member of the Harris Health CPE Team.

Will I be expected to provide direct patient care?

Yes. Residents will be assigned to patient care areas throughout the Harris Health System. These assignments will be made in consultation between the CPE educator and the students taking in consideration their requests and needs as identified in their learning goals. Each assignment will include opportunities for providing care to the wide spectrum of patients and their spiritual needs that are present in Harris Health.

Can I choose where I work in Harris Health or the patients I work with?

Our priority is to provide residents with comprehensive training experiences throughout the hospital, while also focusing on specific learning goals. Our program is designed to provide students with a strong generalist education in chaplaincy. Specializing in specific arenas of spiritual care generally comes after the first year of residency.

How can I find out more information about CPE?

The Essential Elements of Clinical Pastoral Education include:

  • The practice of ministry to persons
  • Detailed reporting and evaluation of that practice
  • Pastoral supervision
  • A process concept of learning
  • A theoretical perspective of all program elements
  • A small group of peers in a common learning experience
  • A specific time period
  • An individual contract for learning consistent with the objectives of CPE

For more information, go to

What levels of CPE does Harris Health offer?

Harris Health System is accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education to provide CPE training for chaplain residents working on Levels I and II. The center is accredited and authorized to offer a one year fulltime chaplain residency training of four units and a second year residency of specialized training.

What does it take to become a professional chaplain?

There are several certification organizations that clearly address the subject of becoming a professional chaplain. Here are links for more information:

Does Harris Health System provide board certification for chaplains?

Board certification is provided by other entities (See above listed websites). Our center can provide guidance and help towards the process. Part of our training is tailored to help students prepare for board certification if desired.

I’m not sure if being a chaplain is for me, what benefits are there to CPE if I don’t work as a chaplain?

  • CPE serves as a key part of one's preparation for parish ministry, chaplaincy, military chaplaincy, lay ministry, teaching, or counseling. Student's learning goals may be focused toward integration of theological, psychological, and pastoral insights into pastoral functioning for parish work. Or the goals may be designed with a career goal of chaplaincy or pastoral counseling.
  • Some students, after completing several units of ACPE certified CPE, choose to enroll in Educator CPE working toward certification as an ACPE Certified Educator. In Educator CPE the student learns the theory and practice of education and gains experience in educating CPE students under the guidance and with the consultation of an ACPE Certified Educator.

In what other situations in life is CPE good training? (Pastors, career transition for ministers and nurses, seminarians trying to discern what they want to do).

The Department of Spiritual Care offers a multi-faith environment. We provide a compassionate presence with sensitivity to multi-cultural and multi-faith realities. We respect patient’s religious preferences and offer a spiritual presence and understanding of the impact of illness on individuals and their caregivers. The Harris Health System Clinical Pastoral Education Program complies with the required ACPE Accreditation Standards for Ethics and professionalism. This means students own the information about them and must know what is being collected and how it is being used. Their information cannot be shared without their written permission.

Annual Notice

  • This ACPE/CPE center/program guarantees to its students the rights to inspect and review education records, to seek to amend them, to specified control over release of record information, and to file a complaint against the program for alleged violations of professional ethics.
  • A student has the right to object to record content. If not negotiable, the written objection will be kept with and released with the record. Grades are exempted from this right.
  • Violations of these protocols may be reported to the Chair of the Accreditation Commission at:
    ACPE, The Standard for Spiritual Care and Education
    We Work, Floor 4
    120 West Trinity Place
    Decatur GA 30030
    Phone: (404) 320-1472

Need assistance?
For additional information, please contact:

Cletus U. Udoh
Director - Spiritual Care, Chaplaincy Service
T: 713-566-5681
?Rennekia Goffney
Operations Coordinator II
T: 713-873-2480
John Okoth Opiyo
CPE Manager/ ACPE Certified Educator, Chaplaincy Service
T: 713-873-4425