Pastoral Counselor

  • Pastoral Counselor

Pastoral counselors or hospital chaplains provide spiritual and religious guidance to patients and families in health care settings.

Work Activities/Work Locations

Hospital chaplains usually work in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, psychiatric facilities, correctional institutions or other health care environments. They work with patients, families and staff to provide spiritual and ethical direction and instruction on religious practices and beliefs. They conduct religious masses, provide counseling and companionship to patients and family members, and may deliver religious rites and ordinances. They may also oversee the pastoral care program in a health care setting.

Getting Started

High school students should study humanities, social sciences, religion, and health. Chaplains usually require a bachelor’s degree and then enroll in a 3-year program to acquire a professional degree (M.Div. or B.D.) from a seminary. Chaplains may also further their education with a specialized masters or doctoral degree in their field or the clinical field. 

Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh
225 N. Eagle Street
Oshkosh, WI 54902-4125

Mendota Mental Health Institute
301 Troy Drive
Madison, WI 53704-1521

Samaritan Counseling Center
709 W. Pine St.
New London, WI 54961

St. Camillus Campus
10200 West Bluemound Road
Wauwatosa, WI 53226
414/259-6333 or 800/317-9422

American Association of Pastoral Counselors
9504A Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA, 22031-2303

Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) – North Central Region
Gary Sartain (North Central Region)
PO Box 1832
Burnsville, MN, 55337-1832

Association of Professional Chaplains
2800 W. Higgins, Suite 295
Hoffman Estates, IL, 60169

Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
1001 N. Fairfax St., Suite 510
Alexandria, VA, 22314

National Association of Catholic Chaplains
4915 S. Howell Ave., Suite 501
Milwaukee, WI, 53207

National Board for Certified Pastoral Counselors

Career Outlook

Number Employed in 2012 (Wisconsin): 580
Number Employed in 2014 (U.S.): 244,200
Expected Employment in 2024 (U.S.): 258,000
Percent Employment Growth (2014-2024): 6%
Expected Annual Openings: 6,630
Median Salary in 2014 (Wisconsin): $45,449

Salary information is located at Career One Stop

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.