CASC/ACSS Certification occurs by means of a “three step” process. This process derives from the belief that a person who has accomplished all formal requirements (Step One) and written professional papers that are scored and approved (Step Two) will find that a face-to-face interview (Step Three) can be an opportunity for collegial conversation with professional colleagues who share the same passion and expertise as the candidate.

Completing the three step process and receiving formal affirmation from the Certification Committee and Education Standards Commission of our Association results in the person receiving a Certificate verifying that he/she is a nationally recognized CASC/ACSS Spiritual Care Practitioner, Psycho-Spiritual Therapist or Supervisor-Educator in one of both of these streams.

The following outline is provided to assist certification candidates as they read the official Standards found in the Manual of our Association in preparation for certification. (See Chapter two)


Before making application for Certification, a prospective candidate needs to:

  1. Read the Manual.
    For example, those seeking to be certified as a Spiritual Care Practitioner need to thoroughly read Chapter 2, Section II, part C, numbers 1 through 11.
    Likewise, for certification as a Psycho-Spiritual Therapist see Chapter 2, Section III, part D, numbers 1 through 10, and for Supervisor-Educators see Chapter 2, Section IV, parts C and D.
  2. Self Assess.
    1. Have I completed all the Pre-requisites?
    2. Am I clear about my Role as a Candidate?
    3. Have I selected a Pre-Certification Mentor?
    4. Do I understand the role of the Pre-Certification Mentor and how I need to engage with this person in my preparation for Certification?
  3. Write the required Professional Papers:
    This is done in consultation with a Pre-Certification Mentor. [See Role of the Pre-Certification Mentor for further details.]
  4. Gather together all required Formal Documentation [See Quick Contacts if there are questions or concerns regarding this documentation.]
  5. Make Application to the Certification Chairperson [See Manual, Chapter 2, Section VIII for the appropriate – e.g. Form 2.8, 2.10 or 2.11.]

Step One: Documents and Role of the Verifier

The following information should be read in tandem with the “Procedure – Step One: Approval of Formal Documentation” pages of the applicable Section of Chapter 2 in the Manual

  • Formal Documentation is assessed by a member (or designate) of the Certification Committee who is referred to as a “Verifier”. This person reviews the candidates formal documents with the following questions in mind:
    • Is everything there or are some documents missing?
    • Are all of the requirements met?
    • Are there any questions or concerns that need to be discussed with the candidate and/or Certification Committee before an approval motion and e-vote occurs? [If ‘yes’, this is communicated to the Certification Chairperson and appropriate follow-up occurs.]
    • Has the candidate provided a self-addressed stamped envelope for return of the documents? [If ‘no’, the Verifier shreds the documents and records the date of this action.]
  • The Verifier completes appropriate parts of the Step One Report and sends this to the Certification Chairperson [see Form 2.17].
  • Next, the Verifier makes a formal motion (that is usually seconded by the Certification Chairperson) recommending approval of the candidate’s Formal Documentation. [This motion is active for several days during which time e-voting by all members of the Certification Committee occurs.]
  • Following the e-vote, the decision of the Committee is recorded on the Step One Form and the candidate is notified by the Certification Chairperson that her/his Formal Documents have been approved.


Step Two: Papers And Role of the Reviewers

The following information should be read in tandem with the “Procedure – Step Two: Approval of Papers” pages of the applicable Section of Chapter 2 in the Manual

  • The Step Two Review team consists of two CASC/ACSS Certified members in the same category (Spiritual Care Practitioner, Psycho-Spiritual Therapist, Supervisor-Educator) as the candidate. One person is selected by the candidate. [Note: the candidate is free to ask his/her pre-certification Mentor to serve in this capacity.] The second person is appointed by the Certification Chairperson.
  • The Certification Chair usually notifies the candidate of her/his Review Team following the Step One Report e-vote.
  • Each Reviewer receives a copy of the candidate’s Step Two documents and reads/reviews them independently.
  • The role of Step Two Reviewers is twofold:
    • First, they assess and score the candidate’s Professional Papers using the rating scale that has been incorporated into the Step Two Report (see Form 2.13, or other numbering as appropriate up through Form 2.23).
      The Reviewer may want to consider the following questions when rating the papers:

      • Does the person demonstrate at least a minimal (preferably greater) achievement of each CASC/ACSS competency?
      • Is there evidence the person can function with professional autonomy and integrity in her/his practice of Spiritual Care, Pastoral Counselling, and/or Supervision?

Note (using the Standards for Specialist in Spiritual and Religious Care): In order for the candidate to proceed to Step Three, he/she must receive both “minimal” points for all three Professional Papers and a total score of “60” points and more.

  • Second, the role of Step Two Reviewers is to read the candidate’s Supporting Documents.
    While these documents are not scored, the Reviewer is asked to consider the following questions:

    • Does the document provide new insight into the candidate’s achievement of CASC/ACSS competencies?
    • Does the document provide new insight into the candidate’s ability to function with professional autonomy and integrity?
    • Are there any comments the Reviewer would like to make about the candidate in relation to insights gained by reading the Supporting Documents?

Step Three: Collegial Conversation

The following information should be read in tandem with the “Procedure – Step Three: Personal Interview” pages of the applicable Section of Chapter 2 in the Manual

  • The same people who read, score and reflect upon a candidate’s Step Two papers also meet with the candidate for the Step Three interview.
  • As shared elsewhere, the optimal hope for this face-to-face meeting is a collegial conversation among professional colleagues who share the same passion and expertise.
  • Reviewers and candidate alike may wish to ask themselves:
    • Does the person (do I) – here and now in this setting – communicate the integration of CASC/ACSS competencies?
    • Does the person (do I) – here and now in this setting – demonstrate an ability to function with autonomy and integrity as a CASC/ACSS Spiritual Care/Pastoral Counselling Specialist and/or CPE/PCE Teaching Supervisor?
  • There are three possible outcomes of the Step Three interview:
    • Overall Competency indicators were sufficiently demonstrated and the candidate is recommended to the Certification Committee for certification.
    • Overall Competency indicators were not sufficiently demonstrated but the candidate is invited to return for a second interview within 8 weeks – at which time there is a further opportunity for the candidate to engage her/his professional colleagues with benefits gained from recommendations received in the first interview.
    • Overall Competency indicators were not sufficiently demonstrated and Certification is not granted.
  • An essential (not optional) aspect of the Step Three Report – whether Certification is granted or not granted – is to provide the candidate with a few recommendations to take with him/her into the interim between:
    • This Certification interview and a Peer Review process that will occur after five years.
    • This interview and a second interview within 8 weeks.
    • This interview and a re-application for Certification at some future time.
  • Note: In the event there is need for supportive care of the candidate during or following the Step Three interview, resources are made available either from within the Review Team or with assistance of others.

Concluding Comments

As shared elsewhere, the process for Certification is set within a context of collective experiential learning as well as continual improvement. If this resource is helpful, or if improvements are needed, please contact the Certification Chairperson