CHC42315 Certificate IV in Chaplaincy & Pastoral Care

The Certificate IV in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care is a 12-month course for developing practical skills to help people work through life issues and assist in times of crisis. Within this course you can also choose to specifically study just some units as part of our School Chaplaincy Upgrade (SCU), Ministers Chaplaincy Upgrade (MCU), or complete some of the elective subjects for professional development. More details below.

Course Description

The Certificate IV in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care is a dynamic, practical course designed to equip you to provide a high standard of chaplaincy support in a variety of contexts in the community. It is taught by experienced and passionate chaplains through a series of intensives.

The intensives involve you in an interactive group learning environment in which to learn, discuss and practice. These intensives are supplemented by the practicum component of working in the field in areas such as prisons, schools, hospitals and aged care. Students arrange and undertake a 100 hour chaplaincy placement in an area of choice as a part of their training.

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Course Structure

This course comprises 13 units of competency completed over 1 year full time or 2 years part time.

To be awarded the Certificate IV in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care, students must demonstrate competency in all units.

  • 11 core units
  • 2 elective units


Course Structure

The course is conducted as 5 intensives:

  • 4x 3-Day Intensives across 1st and 2nd Semester
  • 1 x 2-Day Intensive in Summer/Winter School

Core Units / 1st Semester (Intensive 1 & 2)

Intensive 1 content:

Intensive 2 content:

Core Units / 2nd Semester (Intensive 3 & 4)

Intensive 3 content:

Intensive 4 content:

Electives / Summer or Winter School (Intensive 5)

Intensive 5 content:

Choose two of the following elective units:

For more details on which subjects you can choose, see the current enrolment guide for this course.

Entry Requirements

  • Government-issued Unique Student Identifier (USI) number.
  • A 200-word Statement of Purpose, which is a short summary of why you wish to study this program.
  • Letter of Endorsement
  • A current Working with Children Check (WWCC) is needed to participate in chaplaincy placement.

For details of how to meet the entry requirements, check the How to Apply page.

Study Modes

Locations: Online, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Perth
Full-time Duration: 1 year
Part-time Duration: Up to 2 years

See the timetable to confirm individual subject location and mode availability.

How Chaplaincy study works

Training is completed in 3 day Intensives, which means taking minimum time off work. This Intensive format creates opportunities for networking and enhanced learning. There is also a weekly evening class format offered in Sydney. Assessments are completed online, which means greater flexibility in your study plans.

How placement works

The placement component of the course gives students the opportunity to apply skills in a diversity of chaplaincy roles – including prisons, schools, aged care facilities, hospitals, youth centres - with links to potential employment and Chaplaincy networks.

Study support

Alphacrucis offers a high level of support to all students. Chaplaincy Tutors are available Monday to Friday by phone, email, Zoom or in person to answer your course questions, to assist you assessments and with the online Moodle system.

Fees & Timetable

A complete Fee Schedule for all Alphacrucis programs and courses can be found in our Fees Information section.

For a full list of course dates for new and continuing students, please see our Timetables.

Government loans are unavailable for this course. An alternative option is Study Loans, a private student loan provider. To learn more about VET loans provided by Study Loans, click here.

Course Learning Outcomes

Not applicable to VET courses.

Meet Laura

Laura Douglas describes her joy working as a Chaplain at a school in Western Sydney.

Meet Nadia

"Studying the Cert IV in Chaplaincy & Pastoral Care at AC was the first course I had ever done which truly felt like 'me'. The course sharpened my skills and taught me so much about professionalism, governance, crisis support, and boundaries around caring for people. Now I'm working as a Community Manager in the corporate space and I can see how God is using my life's journey to show that it serves a greater purpose."

Nadia Lino,
Certificate IV in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care Graduate

Nadia Lino (1)

Work-Integrated Learning

As part of unit CHCPAS002 Provide Pastoral and Spiritual Care, students must arrange and undertake a 100-hour chaplaincy placement in an area of their choice and engage in supervision as a part of their training.

Chaplaincy Career Opportunities

Wherever there are people, chaplains are needed.

Sectors where chaplains work

This program equips you to become a Chaplain or pastoral carer in diverse areas such as: Schools, Street Chaplaincy, Sports, Universities, Workplaces, Aged Care, Ambulance, Arts, Defence Force, Community, Corrective Services, Courts, Cruise Ships, Disaster Relief, Fashion Industry, Airports, Food Care, Home Care, Hospitals, Mental Health, Mining, Police, RSL & Veterans, Rural, State Emergency Service and Shopping Centre Chaplaincy.

Pastoral care topics

Some of the topics you might cover when providing pastoral care include:

family and relationships, trauma, loneliness, death or dying, unemployment, disaster response, colleague tension, grief and loss, education and schooling, housing and accomodation, medical or physical health, career transition or relocation, domestic and family violence, addictive behaviour including drugs and alcohol, moral or ethical decision-making, self-harm or harm behaviour, suicide ideation, geographical separation issues as well as spiritual health or belief.

Professional Development Days

We have a range of electives that you can study as a part of a Professional Development Day to equip you for some of the biggest issues faced today. Our electives allow you to specialise in your field of interest, in subject areas as varied as Domestic Violence, Homelessness, Problem Gambling, Drugs & Alcohol, Aged Care and Young People.

Special rate applies for Chaplaincy Australia members and ACC Pastors completing as a Professional Development day.

Note: Students who are enrolled in the full Certificate IV course must complete elective units for credit. Optional accreditation for all others.

School Chaplaincy Upgrade (SCU)

How it works

Students needing to obtain the two mandatory units for school chaplaincy can complete the School Chaplaincy Upgrade (SCU) by attending the relevant sessions during a Chaplaincy intensive or a School Chaplaincy Upgrade course. Dates for upcoming SCU are listed on the AC timetable page. This intensive with assessments is completed online.

Units Included

  • Respond to client needs (CHCCCS016)
  • Work with people with mental health issues (CHCMHS001)
  • The School Chaplain and Self-Care (additional non-accredited unit)

Professional Accreditation

All Alphacrucis Chaplaincy training is endorsed by Chaplaincy Australia. The Courses are approved by the C.C.A.C. (Civil Chaplains Advisory committee), which means that students who have completed this course are eligible to apply for chaplaincy positions in NSW hospitals and prisons.


Get the support you need while studying at AC

For information on the range of student support services available, please see Student Services.

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Ministers Chaplaincy Upgrade (MCU)

How it works

This is a short program for Pastors and Ministers with years of experience looking to upskill or move into the Chaplaincy field. This includes a 3-day Intensive (8.30am-5pm) and assessments completed online. Pastors who choose this option complete 2 units of study (below), receive a statement of attainment, and may complete additional units.

  • CHCCCS016 Respond to client needs
  • CHCMHS001 Work with people with mental health issues

Student Story

"I recently completed the Ministers Chaplaincy Upgrade. The balance of a 3-day intensive and then assignments in an online setting made the course very manageable.

The intensive equipped me to better understand some of the challenges and principles around issues like mental health and responding to client needs. The assignments resourced me to know what is available in my local area to support people, which I have found invaluable. It has also opened a door for me to volunteer as a Chaplain in my local community. Highly Recommended."

Ps Paul McCullock
Hope Unlimited Church

Ps Paul McCullock

Course Code: CHC42315