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

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High School Courses

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. 

Education and Training

Professional Organizations

Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh
225 N. Eagle Street
Oshkosh, WI 54902-4125
920/235-4653
http://www.lutheranhomes.com/index.php/educational-opportunities/clinical-pastoral-education.html

Mendota Mental Health Institute
301 Troy Drive
Madison, WI 53704-1521
608/301-1000
www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/MH_Mendota/Programs/OtherServices/OTHER.HTM

Samaritan Counseling Center
709 W. Pine St.
New London, WI 54961
920/982-7863
www.samaritan-counseling.com

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

American Association of Pastoral Counselors
9504A Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA, 22031-2303
703/385-6967
www.aapc.org

Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) – North Central Region
Gary Sartain (North Central Region)
PO Box 1832
Burnsville, MN, 55337-1832
612/270-3313
www.ncracpe.org/

Association of Professional Chaplains
2800 W. Higgins, Suite 295
Hoffman Estates, IL, 60169
847/240-1014
www.professionalchaplains.org

Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
1001 N. Fairfax St., Suite 510
Alexandria, VA, 22314
703/535-5990
www.cacrep.org/template/index.cfm

National Association of Catholic Chaplains
4915 S. Howell Ave., Suite 501
Milwaukee, WI, 53207
414/483-4898
www.nacc.org

National Board for Certified Pastoral Counselors
www.nbcpc.org

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.