The Mission Statement for the WELS Chaplain Certification Program

The WELS Chaplain Certification Program exists to help address the challenges that face WELS chaplains in meeting requirements to gain access to and to carry on ministry with public and private healthcare agencies, in hospitals, in correctional facilities, on military installations, and with public safety agencies.

The WELS Chaplain Certification Program also exists to assist (WELS) certified chaplains to receive ongoing education and training opportunities so that they may enhance and increase their skill sets as they learn new insights for sharing the love of Christ with others.

WELS Chaplain Certification Continuing Education (CE) Requirements

The continuing education program for maintenance of WELS Chaplain Certification is designed to develop and promote chaplaincy skills for the WELS certified chaplain.

This program publicly establishes the commitment of the chaplain to develop and maintain quality professional skills on a continual basis. To maintain their certification, individuals are required to engage in continuing education for their professional growth and development. The Chaplain Certification Committee is committed to supporting the chaplain’s recertification plan.

Continuing Education Objectives

Through continuing education, the Committee seeks to . . .

  • provide opportunities to maintain and enhance the professional knowledge, pastoral competency, and performance of chaplains.
  • provide opportunities for chaplains to identify personal and professional needs, and to receive consultation, support, and counsel from peers.
  • promote the development of resources and networks for the chaplains’ ongoing personal and professional learning and growth experiences.

Continuing Education Requirements

To maintain certification, WELS certified chaplains are required to accumulate a minimum of 75 hours of continuing education (CE) in 3 years (or 25 hours per year) through participation in a broad range of educational experiences that relate to professional chaplaincy. We strongly suggest that such a plan include spiritual growth topics from within our own WELS circles as well as practical topics that relate to a person’s specific field of work.

Guidelines for Continuing Education Hours

Three areas of educational experience count toward the 75 continuing education (CE) hours every 3 years (or 25 hours per year): education, teaching/presentation, and service.

Note: A  three-credit, one-semester chaplaincy certification class through MLC would equal 75 CE hours.

1. Education

CE hours can be acquired through . . .

  • workshops, symposiums, seminars, and webinars directly related to chaplaincy and/or related to the specific field in which a chaplain works (i.e., military, police, fire, hospital, nursing home, jail, prison, etc.). Appropriate documentation of credits or CE hours is required.
  • academic courses related to chaplaincy that lead to a certification or advanced degree.
  • independent study, which may be arranged through Martin Luther College (MLC) and through the Continuing Education Sub-Committee of the Chaplain Certification Program Committee. A member of the CCP may be used as the instructor/advisor of the independent study.

CE hours cannot be acquired through attending or participating in events or courses unrelated to chaplaincy work. Examples might include, but are not limited to, academic courses, educational events, circuit meetings, conference meetings, and district conventions that are unrelated to chaplaincy work or that will not benefit chaplaincy growth.

2. Teaching/Presentation

CE hours can be acquired through . . .

  • time spent researching a chaplaincy topic, writing or compiling the presentation, and the time spent presenting the topic. Such a paper/presentation could be done for circuit/conference/district and may count toward CE hours with documentation of hours spent, as noted above, plus a copy of the final paper or presentation.
  • time spent writing an article on a chaplaincy topic for Forward in Christ (FIC) or Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly (WLQ).
  • time spent researching a chaplaincy topic and presenting a written presentation to the CCP Committee for future use in Chaplaincy CE.

CE hours cannot be acquired through routine chaplain duties or through non-research publishing tasks, such as formatting a presentation or making copies.

3. Service

CE hours for service can include up to 10 hours per year for CCP committee members for attendance at CCP Committee meetings and service to the committee.

Renewal of Certification

Your certificate is valid for three years from December 31 of the year in which it was granted. You should renew it every three years thereafter. (Example: If you were certified in June 2012 or December 2012, you will need to renew by January 1, 2016. The next renewal date would be January 1, 2019, and every three years thereafter.) The renewal date is also on your WELS Chaplain Certification ID card, which is provided by WELS Special Ministries upon your certification.

A reminder will be sent by the committee secretary to all chaplains by email on December 1 and August 1 each year, reminding you to be actively pursuing continuing education hours for the eventual renewal of your certificate. A form will be included to apply for your renewal when it is due.

A renewal fee of $75, a recent digital photo, and your driver’s license number should be submitted one month prior to the renewal date, with the verification of 75 hours of continuing education for the previous 3 years. Submit the renewal information and fee to WELS Special Ministries at . . .

WELS Special Ministries
N16W23377 Stone Ridge Drive
Waukesha WI 53188

Please make checks payable to WELS SPECIAL MINISTRIES and include in the Memo line: “Chaplain Certification Renewal.”

A sub-committee of the CCP will review and make recommendations for continued certification.

For questions about the WELS Chaplain Certificate Program, please contact . . .