Certified Associate Chaplains (CAC) are Roman Catholics who have formal education in Catholic theology and spiritual care praxis and develop competence in all NACC-Specific competencies and select Common Competencies in the areas of Professional Identity and Conduct and Professional Practice Skills.
The NACC offers this level of certification for those who are seeking a national credential for spiritual care ministry but may not have the four units of CPE and master’s degree required for Board Certification. This includes permanent deacons working in a pastoral ministry setting or those who are working for per diem, part-time, or on call chaplaincy. The CAC is also encouraged for full time ministry/chaplaincy in areas such as prison ministry, ministry to first responders, port ministry, etc.
This level of chaplaincy:
- Encourages theological and professional training to the many non-Board Certified chaplains who are providing spiritual care in various healthcare facilities as well as in other settings.
- Raises the level of professionalism through increased accountability and proficiency.
- Encourages non-Board Certified chaplains to maintain their skills through continuing education required for renewal of Certified Associate Chaplaincy.
- Offers a stepping-stone to Board Certification.
Comparison Between BCC and CAC
The following is a comparison of the certification requirements between Board Certification and Certified Associate Chaplaincy:
|Education||Graduate Degree||18 Graduate Credit Hours or Equivalent|
|Membership||Chaplaincy Membership||Chaplaincy Membership|
|Work Hours||None||500 within 3 yrs of application|
|Competencies||All NACC and Common||All NACC and some Common|
|Scope of Practice||Full-time Chaplains||Part-time, Volunteer, and Per Diem Chaplains|
The Path to Becoming a Certified Associate Chaplain
As in Board Certification, CAC Certification is determined through written materials (CP231.3) and a virtual interview in which an Interview Team assesses the Applicant’s competencies for certification. At the completion of the interview, the Team recommends or does not recommend the Applicant to the Certification Commission for certification. It is the decision of the Certification Commission to certify or not to certify. The NACC encourages Applicants for certification to engage in a mentoring relationship with a NACC Certified Chaplain or Certified Educator upon entering the certification process.
The following list outlines the path to becoming a Certified Associate Chaplain. Click on the links below for more details on each step of the process.
- Meet Prerequisites.
- Prepare and Submit Application Materials.
- Interview with an Interview Team. (See Application and Interview Timeline page for specific dates.)
- At the completion of the interview, the Interview Team recommends or does not recommend the Applicant to the Certification Commission for certification. It is the decision of the Certification Commission to certify or not to certify.