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Updates & Announcements

BCCI Certification Updates (published in APC Forum, April 2019)

The BCCI® Commission on Certification and Board of Directors have approved the following additions to the BCCI Policy and Procedures Manual for Certification.  The whole manual will be posted in the coming weeks but these new additions pertain to plagiarism, professionalism and ethics.

Section 1. Part 1(and 2). II. Procedures for Certification….
E. All material submitted by the candidate must be original and written by the candidate.  Plagiarism of any form will not be tolerated.

  1. Plagiarism will be defined as:
  2. Submitting someone else's work as your own.
  3. Copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit.
  4. Failing to put a quotation in quotation marks.
  5. Giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation.
  6. Changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit.
  7. Copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not.
  8. Plagiarism will be subject to a review by the APC Professional Ethics Committee in consultation with the BCCI Commission on Certification. If found in violation, the candidate will be withdrawn from the certification process for at least one year.

Section 1. Part 1(and 2). II. Procedures for Certification….
F.  The applicant/candidate will conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner, respecting the boundaries and personhood of any BCCI Staff, Commission Member, Area Certification Chair or Certification Committee Member. If at anytime an applicant/candidate acts in an unprofessional, unethical or threatening way, the conduct will be subject to a review by the APC Professional Ethics Committee in Consultation with the BCCI Commission on Certification.
Section 3. Part 1. II Procedures for Committees
W. All committee members will conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner, respecting the boundaries and personhood of any Candidate, BCCI Staff, Commission Member, Area Certification Chair or Certification Committee Member. If at anytime a committee member acts in an unprofessional, unethical or threatening way, the conduct will be subject to a review by the APC Professional Ethics Committee in Consultation with the BCCI Commission on Certification.
Section 3. Part 1. II Procedures for Committees
X. If an Appeal has been upheld or if any of the Policies and Procedures for BCCI Certification Committees have been discovered to have not been followed, a review of the committee members will be conducted by the BCCI Commission on Certification. Committee members may be subject to a review by the APC Professional Ethics Committee, as described in Section 3. Part 1.II.X.

Questions or comments on any of these items can be directed to

BCCI Certification Updates (published in APC Forum, February 2018)

The BCCI® Commission on Certification and Area Certification Chairs have continued to be hard at work since the fall.  Area Certification chairs coordinated interviews for 122 candidates in October & November and are currently preparing for 130 candidates in February and March.  The Commission has reviewed and updated several items which have been approved by the BCCI® Board of Directors.
1. Theological Education Equivalency Committee Announcement of Change to Section 7 of the Education Equivalency Worksheet
A change has been made to the Theological Education Equivalency Worksheet. Certification applicants will find a restructured Section 7 and mentors will need to be alert to the revised approach to Work Experience and Professional Attestation. This change applies to all Theological Education Equivalency Worksheets submitted beginning August 1st.
Under the new Section 7, applicants will be able to earn up to 15 graduate semester hours of education credits by demonstrating workplace learning. Applicants who have earned a minimum of 10 hours through workplace learning will have the option of earning up to an additional 5 hours of credit with a well-documented Letter of Attestation from a qualified BCCI or ACPE certified chaplain.
Currently, applicants can earn up to 30 hours, with 15 hours accrued independently for Work Experience or Professional Attestation. The change to a maximum of 15 total hours represents a refocusing of priority toward academic learning while continuing to value the learning that takes place in the course of practicing chaplaincy. The proposal for the change was submitted to the BCCI® Commission by the Theological Education Equivalency Committee and voted into effect by the Commission and the BCCI Board of Directors.
2. Demonstrating and Evaluating ITP6: Articulate how primary research and research literature inform the profession of chaplaincy and one’s spiritual care practice
For ITP6, the writing guide states:  Spiritual care providers integrate research literacy and may conduct research to ensure that their spiritual care is current and innovative in their practice. Using examples, demonstrate how you are utilizing current research literature in your spiritual care practice and work with interdisciplinary team members.  If applicable, what primary research have you participated in and what were the key findings?  How are you integrating your findings in your spiritual care practice?
To demonstrate this competence, a candidate will—at a minimum—demonstrate with one specific example how research has impacted their practice of chaplaincy. We recognize that this is an evolving competency for many of us and the criteria for demonstrating competency in research literacy will grow over time.  For now we encourage candidates to give examples of a research study or article or book they have read and give a clear example of how that research has informed their care.  Questions committees might ask are: Has the candidate used any research in their work as a chaplain?  Has any finding prompted the candidate to start, stop, change, or continue any particular part of their chaplaincy work?   
The answer could be something like, “Research shows that patients and families perceive care givers to be more attentive and spend more time with them when the care giver is seated rather than standing. So, whenever possible and appropriate, I ask the patient/family for permission to sit with them (rather than standing over them),” or “I’m aware of a study about chaplaincy visits being associated with higher patient-satisfaction scores, which I told my VP about as I was advocating for more chaplains to be hired,” or “I heard about a study of spiritual-care communication boards for non-vocal ICU patients, and I got the board and use it now when I make visits in the ICU.” None of those is a sophisticated answer, but they illustrate where the acceptable minimum is. Unacceptable would be just a generic “I believe in research” statement without reference to any specific finding or even general findings, and without a clear example of how they have demonstrated this within their work. 
3. Buddhist Task Force Work
Last year, a task force was formed with representatives from the BCCI® Commission on Certification, representatives from Buddhist studies programs and centers, and several Buddhist chaplains.  The first task the group worked on was reviewing the Faith Group Recognition form and determining new language and requirements which would be understood by Buddhist sanghas and communities.  This form is completed and can be found HERE.
The task force will now begin reviewing the 2006 Buddhist White Paper which delineates the method for Buddhists to receive a theological education equivalency. 
4. Research Hours Count for Work Experience Hours
At the request of a provisionally board certified chaplain and a board certified chaplain candidate, the commission considered the request to allow profession-related research to be counted as work experience.  The Commission and Board of Directors approved this request, with the following criteria:  Profession-related research is defined as participating in a profession-related research study as a principal investigator, co-investigator, collaborator, research assistant, project coordinator or consultant (including design, literature search/evaluation, intervention, data analysis, writing/revising manuscript or poster). 
Questions or comments on any of these items can be directed to

BCCI Certification Updates (published in APC Forum, June 2016)

The Commission on Certification meets 10-12 times per year to tend to many tasks. Among their duties: review applications from candidates already certified by partner organizations, assess appeals and identify ways to improve the certification process.
The following changes to the certification application process have been approved and are effective immediately: 
  • Endorsement letters may now be emailed or faxed directly from the faith group (or sent by mail as before.)
  • Undergraduate degree transcripts are no longer required except in the case of a theological education equivalency application. Those applicants who do not need an equivalency do not need to submit an undergraduate degree transcript.
  • Graduate degree transcripts must be originals, but do not need to be in a sealed envelope.
  • As noted in the July 2015 issue of APC e-News, all competencies must be addressed in the essays. As a result, the essay cover sheet which required check-marking the competencies included in the essay, is no longer required.
  • The final disposition of materials form is no longer required. Applicants should keep a copy of all of their materials prior to sending to the BCCI office. BCCI staff will no longer return materials to an applicant, unless the application is incomplete. After a candidate has met with a committee, all materials will be shredded.
  • As noted in the February 2016 issue of APC Forum, evaluations from the applicant’s CPE units 1-3 are no longer required. An applicant can submit a copy of a certificate of completion OR a verification transcript for these units. The supervisor and self evaluations for the 4th unit are still required.
The following change will be effective for all subsequent appearance applications submitted beginning January 1, 2017:
  • A Chaplain Clinical Contact demonstrating one or more of the missed competencies will now be required to be submitted along with an additional essay.

BCCI Certification Updates (published in APC Forum, February 2016)

Change in documentation of required units of CPE for certification.

The Board of Chaplaincy Certification Inc. (BCCI) has implemented a change in the documentation required for units of CPE. The former requirement was to submit the supervisor and self-evaluations for each of the units required (four units for board certified chaplain and two units for associate certified chaplain.)  Now, the candidate will need to submit a Verification Transcript for the first unit(s), and the supervisor and self-evaluation for only the last unit.

The reasons behind the change are multiple: First, it is less for certification committee members to read. Second, it helps to keep the committee focused on demonstration of competencies not on CPE outcomes. Third, it will assist candidates who are not able to obtain the evaluations from units taken long ago. Lastly, it saves some trees!

In certification (not CPE), verbatims are now called “Chaplain Clinical Contacts.”

Certification interview committee members need to “see” the work of a candidate in order to determine demonstration of the competencies. One method used for this insight is the two verbatims required to be submitted by the applicant.

Over the years, applicants have asked for a template for the verbatims. Additionally, feedback from committee members has indicated that many applicants take a verbatim that has been completed for CPE and recycle it to submit with the application. The problem with using a CPE verbatim is that the purpose is for growth and learning toward CPE outcomes, not necessarily to demonstrate competency.

Beginning at the 2015 APC Annual Conference in June, a task force took on the task of developing materials to help an applicant write verbatims to demonstrate the competencies. The work of the task force has been completed and can be seen in the new Chaplain Clinical Contact Cover Sheet now found on the BCCI website. And to emphasize the difference in purpose between CPE verbatims and the requirement for certification, the nomenclature has been changed.  BCCI will now refer to these narratives as “Chaplain Clinical Contacts.”

In addition to a different name, the cover sheet has instructions for the applicant, a format for the narrative and important information regarding HIPAA and items that MUST be removed before sending in the narrative.

If you have questions on these changes or anything else regarding certification, please contact the national office staff at

Applicants, Mentors and Supervisors, Be Mindful of HIPAA Regulations (published in APC Forum, September 2015)

BCCI has seen a recent increase in HIPAA violations by certification candidates. These are not in any way intentional, but nonetheless, HIPAA is the law and BCCI’s Commission on Certification takes it seriously. Any applicant with a HIPAA violation must wait six months before reapplying for certification. In an effort to decrease the number of violations, please be aware of the following...Read More

BCCI Certification Application Updates (effective 9/18/15)

The following updates to BCCI® requirements were initially announced in the July 2015 issue of APC e-News. These changes are effective September 18, 2015.
The Association of Professional Chaplains (APC), with its affiliate the Board of Chaplaincy Certification Inc. (BCCI), has over 450 faith groups and churches that are recognized by our organization. Our board of directors recently affirmed the requirement of a letter of endorsement/support for certification and maintenance of certification. Our process for confirming endorsement/support has not changed. The national office will review letters of endorsement/support to ensure they are being issued by the proper authority in your faith group. We appreciate the commitment of faith groups to notify us if a chaplain is no longer endorsed or supported for ministry as a chaplain.We will continue to notify the faith group when a chaplain's certification has not been maintained. The relationship between APC/BCCI and the various faith groups is a valued one.

Faith Group Documentation Requirements

The board also announced an important change related to qualifications for board certification. Each faith group has its own requirements for ordination, commissioning or recognition of laypersons. Because ecclesiastical requirements differ broadly among the diverse faith groups we recognize, BCCI will no longer require evidence of ordination, commissioning, etc. as of June 8, 2015. The board of directors knows that our faith groups set the parameters for endorsement/support. Therefore, if a faith group requires a chaplain to be ordained, commissioned or otherwise trained and awarded designation, the group will ensure that all is in order prior to issuing a letter to BCCI in support of that chaplain as a candidate for certification.
Other Important Updates

Transcripts: Candidates are now required to send official transcripts with their application - not copies.
Essays and Chaplain Clinical Contactss: ALL competencies must be addressed in the essays.  Competencies may still be demonstrated and noted in Chaplain Clinical Contact narratives, but the candidate must also write about them in the essays. See the "Competencies Chaplains must Demonstrate, with Writing Guide" for assistance.

For further information, e-mail

BCCI Revisits CPE Unit Requirements (published in APC e-News, February 2015)
At its June, 2013 meeting, the BCCI board of directors changed the "double dipping" rule and allowed units of CPE which were part of a theological education degree to be also counted towards the CPE requirement for certification. This decision led to an unintended consequence - educational institutions began looking for ways to incorporate all four units of CPE into their 72-hour (or less) graduate degrees.

After hearing from several such institutions, the certification commission reviewed and discussed what a program like this would mean for the training of professional chaplains. The commission considered the roles of conceptual learning and experiential learning in the development of professional chaplains. They found both types of learning to be imperative aspects of training.

As a result, when the BCCI board of directors met in November 2014, they approved the recommendation from the commission to allow only one unit of CPE to be counted for both theological education hours as documented on a transcript and for the CPE requirement. Additional units must be counted either toward theological education requirement OR the CPE requirement, not both. If you have any questions, please contact BCCI at