Becoming a Board Certified Chaplain (BCC) or Pastoral Counselor (BCPC) with the Association of Certified Christian Chaplains indicates your dedication to the highest professional standards and ethics. ACCC certified professionals have demonstrated their devotion to continuing professional development and a devotion to the spiritual health of those they care for.

Certification is available as either board certified Chaplain/Associate Chaplain or Board-Certified Pastoral Counselor.

ACCC also accepts reciprocation of those certified under other organizations for certification with ACCC. See below for the requirements. To get started, see below.

Board Certified Chaplain (BCC)

The Chaplain is a professional that is employed in outside industry such as medical care, prisons, commerce, military, etc. They serve the employees and/or patients of these organizations.

Board Certified Pastoral Counselor (BCPC)

The Pastoral Counselor primarily a Congregational Pastor. Their primary area of responsibility is the local church.

Board Certified Associate Chaplain (BCAC)

The Associate category is for those seeking professional chaplaincy certification but do not yet meet the other requirements for that status. The Associate level still requires four (4) units of CPE and, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree. The applicant may be lacking one of the other requirements (e.g. M.Div, ecclesiastical endorsement, or ordination/licensure/consecration). Once an associate completes the requirements they are automatically granted full board certification.

Certified Chaplain Assistant (CCA)

The Chaplain’s Assistant category is for those lacking the higher education component of full certification. To meet this category the applicant is required to complete all the other requirements for certification but is lacking a higher education degree. A high school diploma with some college credit is required.

Application Procedure

Proceed to the Application page and follow the directions there to submit your application.  Below is a video to help understand the process along with a detailed listing of qualifications and requirements.


To receive board certification with ACCC, you must meet the following requirements:

• Receive four units of Clinical Pastoral Education from a COMISS Network approved institution

• This CPE must have 400 classroom instruction hours and a minimum of 1,200 documented clinical hours with a trained Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisor

• Have an M.Div. or equivalent degree from an accredited institution of higher learning

• Be ordained, licensed or consecrated, depending on denomination processes or traditions

• Receive endorsement for chaplaincy by their denomination’s endorsement body, or a letter in good standing from the individual’s senior pastor or church board if they belong to an independent congregation or denomination that does not provide endorsement

• Must pass a 25 question common knowledge online test from a pool of 50 questions. The test covers core competencies of chaplaincy. The questions are selected randomly by the system. There is no limit to the number of attempts, but each attempt generates new questions from the pool.

• Must pass an interview which tests knowledge of self, patient assessment, “patient-centeredness” and includes a simulated role play which demonstrates the ability of the interviewee to follow core chaplaincy tenets including following the information presented, probing of emotions, relationships and experiences as part of one’s sacred story and the avoidance of the fix-it reflex. Additionally, one must demonstrate the ability to provide care to all people, regardless of race, religion, creed, sexual orientation or any other deeply held tradition within one’s own sacred space.

• Applicants must provide all of the information outlined above including two recent verbatim case studies, a biography outlining the interviewee’s journey to chaplaincy including formative events in one’s life and calling, a document outlining their theology of chaplaincy in light of their faith. Interviewers reserve the right to question any of the provided documentation, including the interviewee’s narrative or verbatim case studies during the board interview. Interviews are recorded, and portions may be sent to the candidate for additional work if the interviewers discern an area of need. The interview is kept confidential and is not posted for anyone’s use besides the interviewers and the interviewee.