Appendix 2: What’s in the Test?

The following is intended as an overview for persons preparing for the Standardized Clinical Knowledge Test as required for Advanced Practice Board Certification (APBCC), Board Certification (BCC) or Credentialing (CC) by the Spiritual Care Association. This guide can assist you in multiple ways, by providing you with:

  • An outline of the topics within the Quality Indicators and Scope of Practice developed in 2016 by international, interdisciplinary panels of experts. These two documents served as the foundation of the evidence-based Standardized Clinical Knowledge Test
  • A list of the learning objectives that generate the questions included in the Standardized Clinical Knowledge Test
  • A description of areas to be knowledgeable about in preparation for the Standardized Clinical Knowledge Test
  • Sample questions to become familiar with the format of the Standardized Clinical Knowledge Test (Note: these are not actual questions from the test) • A list of articles and resources to assist in preparation for the Standardized Clinical Knowledge Test



For many years, chaplains have been allowed and even sometimes encouraged to develop their own style or process. Part of this came from the fact that there was no evidence for best practice in the field. That situation has fortunately changed. SCA and this test are focused, not on what you or I or your institution do or think, but on what the published guidelines, research and expert opinion in the field generally say should be done. This change brings us into alignment with other health care disciplines. As an example, while your institution for very good reasons may emphasize readmission rates their as primary quality metric, that metric is not considered a major driver of health care value and quality nationally. A review of the literature would support that. Likewise, some choices to some questions are close in content. However, all of them are clearly differentiated in the literature. The material in this document gives some direction on literature you should be familiar with before you take the test.



The Spiritual Care Association Learning Center has a full course available, Preparation for Standardized Clinical Knowledge Test, which provides more in-depth preparation, articles and resources to assist candidates in preparing for the Standardized Clinical Knowledge Test.

By the end of the course, the learner will be able to:

  • Name the learning objectives used in the Standardized Clinical Knowledge Test
  • Define evidence-based competency in chaplaincy practice, and provide examples
  • Describe each of the Quality Indicators and the knowledge required to demonstrate an understanding of each
  • Distinguish the competencies identified in the Scope of Practice, and articulate methods by which to integrate them into one’s professional practice
  • Identify additional book and article resources and ways in which to locate them to increase one’s knowledge in preparation for the Standardized Clinical Knowledge Test



While many books can be useful as part of a chaplain’s education, the following are considered to be essential foundational texts that every chaplain should read, have in his or her library, and be able to discuss and integrate into his or her practice. For those desiring to complete the Standardized Clinical Knowledge Test for Board Certification or Credentialing, the texts below are invaluable:

  • Making Health Care Whole. Puchalski C and Ferrell B. 2010. Templeton Press. ISBN-10: 159947350X
  • Professional Spiritual & Pastoral Care: A Practical Clergy and Chaplain’s Handbook. Roberts, S. Ed. 2012. Skylight Paths Publishing. ISBN-10: 1594733120
  • National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care. Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care, 4th Edition. Richmond, VA, National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care, 2018. (Note: This is a free download)
  • Hall, E., Hughes, B., Handzo, G. (2016) Spiritual Care: Why It Matters in Health Care. HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, New York, NY.
  • Fitchett, G., White, K., Lyndes, K. (Eds). (2018) Evidence-Based Healthcare Chaplaincy: A Research Reader. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.