UnityPoint Health - Des Moines

Clinical Pastoral Education

UnityPoint Health - Des Moines provides students with an excellent learning environment where people are more important than ideas. UnityPoint Health - Des Moines enjoys a rich history as a faith-based, not-for-profit health care organization where pastoral care is valued as a vital component of the care of patients and their families. Our programs provide an immersion in crises, grief, behavioral health and chemical dependency that sets the stage for profound learning, personal growth, meaning-making and wholeness. Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) provides clinical education for clergy, theological students, members of religious orders and laypersons.

Program Offerings

Summer Intensive Internship

This program of CPE is designed primarily for entry-level students such as seminarians, ordained clergy, qualified laypersons, and postgraduate theology students fulfilling a prerequisite for CPE. The summer intensive unit is a full-time, 11-week program meeting early June through mid-August. The education fee is $1000.

Extended Internship

The extended (part-time) is one unit of CPE extended several months, usually October to May. It convenes on one day per week for seminars. The clinical placement may include one's parish or other ministry site as well as clinical time and serving on-call in the hospital. The education fee is $1000.


The Residency is a full-time, 12-month program (4 units) designed for ordained clergy, postgraduate students, and qualified religious leaders preparing for specialized ministry or seeking to enhance their pastoral care skills. Acceptance in the residency program also requires having successful completion of one unit of CPE. This program pays a stipend of $25,885 and health benefits. Although we have a limited number of stipend positions, we also offer non-stipend units. We accept applications throughout the year, but students usually enter the program in the fall. The education fee is $500 per unit.

The residency also offers opportunities for students to focus on particular specializations depending on their interest. Examples of areas for focused specializations include but are not limited to: Behavioral Medicine & Chemical Dependency, Pediatrics, Physical Rehabilitation, Oncology, Palliative Care, Trauma, and Crisis Intervention.

Supervisory Residency

The residency in supervisory CPE is offered to outstanding applicants who demonstrate a particular aptitude and motivation to master the skills to become a post-graduate educator. Applicants must meet high standards of character, maturity, motivation, theological grounding, and competency in pastoral care. Candidates must have completed at least four units of CPE including having sufficiently addressed Level II Outcomes.

UnityPoint Health - Des Moines offers students an excellent context for CPE with a depth of supervision by certified clinical educators. The clinical settings offer students opportunity to become fully integrated into treatment teams in their assigned units.