Applicants must be members in regular standing of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  A Master of Divinity degree is the recommended level of professional training, although in certain situations other graduate study in theology, religion or pastoral care is sometimes acceptable.

If an applicant’s undergraduate degree was not obtained at an accredited Seventh-day Adventist college or university, then the applicant will need to take additional prescribed undergraduate courses.  Applicants must also have a minimum of two years post-seminary pastoral experience or proven equivalency as determined by the ACM Committee.  That experience implies that an applicant will also possess current ministerial credentials (credentials for ordained ministers/commissioned credentials/ministerial license/commissioned minister license) issued by a conference.  Ministerial credentials are the church’s way of recognizing and affirming the validity of one’s calling to the ministry.  Exceptions to these criteria for individuals are determined on a case-by-case basis by the ACM Committee, whose decision is final.

Note:  To qualify, all education must be obtained from colleges, universities and seminaries that are accredited to ACM standards.

FA 13 30 Requirements for Ecclesiastical Endorsement for Related Ministries—Endorsement for the specialized ministerial disciplines of pastoral counseling and spiritual director may be issued in cases where the applicant is qualified and is engaging in that specialty as part of an ongoing professional practice or organized program.

1. General Requirements
a. The person must be functioning with a clear pastoral identity.
b. The local conference must be supportive of this ministry and willing to issue appropriate
ministerial credentials.
c. Applicants must meet all requirements for chaplain ecclesiastical endorsement, as well as the
specialized requirements below.

2.  Specialized Requirements
a. Pastoral Counselor – The applicant must qualify as a professional counselor, which includes an
appropriate graduate degree and supervised practice in counseling, and marriage and family therapy.
1. State licensing where available and required.

            2. Certification from a recognized national association, such as the American Association
of Pastoral Counselors, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, etc.

b. Spiritual Director – The applicant must qualify as a practicing spiritual director,
which requires training and certification from a recognized spiritual formation training program.