Association of Professional Chaplains
The Military Specialty Certification offered by the BCCI is now available and applications are being taken. To provide more information on this important achievement for our profession, here are some quick observations on the program, to include what it requires "first," what it is not, what it is, and what it could mean:
What does this process require "first"
? It could be easy to skip over this, however to insure that no one does that, it first requires the basic level of board chaplaincy certification by the Board of Certified Chaplaincy, Inc (BCCI), the certification arm of the Association of Professional Chaplains. (APC). This requires four quarters of clinical pastoral education (CPE) or approved equivalency, faith group endorsement, a Master of Divinity (MDiv) (or faith tradition equivalent) and the completion of one year of professional experience as a professional chaplain, as well as meeting the competency requirements laid out in the BCCI requirements in writing, and then articulated in meeting a certification committee.
What it is not
: It is not an additional graduate degree in addition to a MDiv or equivalent to a DMin .
What it is
: It is a specialized certification process that demonstrates a professional specialized competency in the field of military chaplaincy, and it does require additional documentation, and a committee appearance.
What it could mean
: From my experience as a General Officer having sat on eight Department of the Army Promotion and Command Selection Boards, this can be a clear and articulate positive discriminator for both promotion boards and assignments. Receiving this certification will demonstrate a focus and dedication to go "above and beyond" basic certification as a BCC chaplain, with a depth and knowledge of military chaplaincy that demonstrates expertise in the field. When sitting on a board, or having discussions with branch mangers when I was the Deputy Commanding General of the Army's Human Resources Command (HRC), we were always looking for the distinctive, qualitative positive discriminators that could identify an officer from their peers for special assignments and promotions. This could be one of those tools that allow boards and branch manager/detailers to do that more readily.
In conversations with Chaplain Jan McCormick, DMin, BCC, who has worked this from concept to actualization, there are already folks who have lined up to start this process and be the first ones out of the gate to work toward this level of professional competence. In my experience with APC over the past 30 years, this will definitely be a seminal event for military chaplains to be recognized by their chaplaincy peers for the contribution they have made- and will continue to make- in the field of military chaplaincy.
We are looking forward to assisting as many of you as possible in this process. If you have any questions, feel free to go to the APC website for additional information, or feel free to ask Jan, Lyman, Mike Langston, or me about what the next steps can be for you. We are excited as this becomes a reality, and from what we have heard so far, so are a number of you as well.
We will be telling the stories of those who earn this certification, and what it means for them to be recognized for this professional achievement both in future Newsgrams and in our magazine.