Support First Responders & Families

Public Safety Chaplaincy Certification

Pursue a rewarding and faith-filled career as a professional chaplain.

Aerial view of LTSS campus with City of Columbia skyline

Public Safety Chaplaincy is the work of providing pastoral care and support to employees of first responder agencies and their families, as well as to victims of related public safety incidents.

Many public safety chaplains work as volunteers, though some departments have paid chaplain positions. The public safety chaplain should be a person who experiences a call to this particular ministry of service and sacrifice, offering themselves as a source of support to people whose daily work is often stressful and rigorous emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

The certification in Public Safety Chaplaincy is designed to provide a thorough course of training for those desiring to serve as a public safety chaplain. The curriculum covers the breadth and depth of the topics and issues encountered in the field by a public safety chaplain. It is well-suited for those already serving as chaplains and those who have experienced a call to this ministry but are not yet connected with an agency.

The cost of the certification program is $1,500, plus housing, books and meals

For more information about the program, contact Chaplain Eric Skidmore at or 803.206.8961.

Certificate Curriculum

The curriculum includes six modules and 18 months of training. Each module involves coursework to be completed at home, including reading and writing. Students are also expected to attend all monthly class meetings as they appear on the schedule.

  • Foundations 1: Foundations for The Office of Public Safety Chaplaincy
  • Foundations 2: Pastoral Theology and Issues in Public Safety Chaplaincy
  • Crisis Intervention Training
  • Clinical Perspectives/Issues and Answers in Public Safety Chaplaincy
  • Capstone Course: Putting It All Together
  • Foundations 1

    Foundations 1: Foundations for The Office of Public Safety Chaplaincy
    An introduction to the historical function and theological framework for the Office of Chaplain. Biblical models and methods will be presented from a chaplaincy perspective, utilizing situations from course participants and faculty. (June-September 2023)

  • Foundations 2

    Foundations 2: Pastoral Theology and Issues in Public Safety Chaplaincy
    An examination of core issues in the ministry of public safety chaplains. Case examples related to suffering, tragedy, evil, grief, death, crisis, suicide and crisis will be addressed. (October 2023-February 2024)

  • Crisis Intervention Training

    Certification in the basic Critical Incident Stress Management Skills learned in two ICISF Courses:  Assisting Individuals in Crisis and Group Crisis Intervention. Students will receive two ICISF certificates and have a deeper understanding of the interaction between Chaplains, Mental Health Professionals and Peer Team Members. This course includes a field trip to Charleston SC to visit the sites of the Sofa Superstore Fire and The Mother Emmanuel AME Church and meet Chaplains, MHPs, Peers and Coroners involved in those mass casualty events. (March-May 2024)

  • Clinical Perspectives/Issues and Answers

    Clinical Perspectives/Issues and Answers in Public Safety Chaplaincy
    An examination of issues commonly addressed when working with Public Safety Personnel.  These include: Addiction, Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Sleep Disorders, Post Deployment Issues, Divorce, Infidelity, Suicidal Ideation, etc.  This unit will also include overview of The Fitness for Duty Process and Psychological Evaluation. (June-September 2024)

  • Capstone Course

    Capstone Course:  Putting It All Together
    This course integrates biblical, theological, practical, and professional models and methods presented through the program. Participants will prepare a project that demonstrates their own unique gifts and qualifications for public safety chaplaincy. (October-December 2024)

  • Class Schedule

    June 2023 – December 2024 Class Schedule
    Classes normally meet on Friday and Saturday

    • June 9-10 - Foundations 1            
    • July 14-15 - Foundations 1            
    • August 18-19 - Foundations 1            
    • September 8-9 - Project presentations
    • October 13-14 - Foundations 2            
    • November 10-11 - Foundations 2            
    • December - Holiday Break
    • January 12-13 - Foundations 2            
    • February 9-10 - Project Presentations
    • March 8-9 - Crisis Intervention Training
    • April 12-13 - Crisis Intervention Training
    • May 10-11 - Crisis Intervention Field Trip to Charleston
    • June 7-8 - Clinical Perspectives/ Issues and Answers
    • July - Summer Break
    • August 9-10 - Clinical Perspectives/ Issues and Answers
    • September 13-14 - Clinical Perspectives/ Issues and Answers
    • October 10-12 - Capstone Course   
    • November 8-9 - Capstone Course   
    • December 13- 14 - Capstone Course -  Project presentations 

    The graduation ceremony will be planned for date after January 1, 2025.


  • Co-requirements
    • One unit of Clinical Pastoral Education done in conjunction with the regular schedule of the chaplaincy classes as an extended unit. Certification options will be “Certification in Public Safety Chaplaincy” or “Certification in Public Safety Chaplaincy with Clinical Pastoral Education.” Possible times for the extended unit would be January through June 2025.
    • Post Critical Incident Seminar (PCIS): Students will be required to attend one  PCIS event as an observer. The schedule for these events may be found on the SCLEAP website. The PCIS is a three-day seminary and is offered by SCLEAP four times a year.

Application Requirements

Group of LTSS students walking together on campus after class

Please carefully review all application requirements. In addition to a completed and signed application form, applicants must submit the following items.

An application will be complete and ready for review when all items are received.

Following the submission of all application materials, applicants will be contacted to schedule an interview with the admission panel.

Jay Ortiz

This program has challenged, encouraged and motivated me to become a better chaplain for all those that I’m able to reach both in public safety as well as the general public.

Chaplain Jay Ortiz, City of North Myrtle Beach, Department of Public Safety

Course Delivery

Coursework is offered in a hybrid distance learning and classroom setting over a period of 18 consecutive months. Students are expected to complete assigned reading and writing on their own in preparation for monthly class sessions held on campus at the seminary in Columbia, S.C.

All students in the cohort are required to attend the monthly class sessions that begin on Friday afternoon and conclude on Saturday afternoon. Students who successfully complete the training program will receive a certificate of completion. Coursework will reflect the academic rigor and theological depth consistent with an Association of Theological Schools accredited seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. However, courses are not graduate level and are not transferable credits for seminary. Courses are unrelated to licensure or ordination as a public safety chaplain.