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Pastoral Thanatology CE Courses Program

Pastoral Thanatology CE Courses Program

The American Academy of Grief Counseling offers a comprehensive program of continuing education courses which are designed to fulfill the education requirements for application for Certification as a Certified Specialist in Pastoral Thanatology. This program does not provide for any type of education to meet any licensing requirements.
pastoral thanatology certification
To meet the requirements for Certification, all of the defined seven (7) continuing education courses (270 hours of education) provided below, must be successfully completed. Those interested may register for and take one or more courses at any time. Course descriptions and information is provided below. Upon completion of each course, you will be awarded the corresponding continuing education contact hours and receive the CEU certificate verifying course completion and the award of education credits. Registration may be completed online, by accessing the links below. These courses are continuing education courses. All courses are by distance education in online classrooms and can be taken from anywhere in the world. Prerequisites for applying for Certification in Pastoral Thanatology are provided on the main page detailing the Certification Program. Please be sure you meet one of the prerequisites before considering the continuing education courses below. To preview information: access here.

Course Fees: Below are listed the required courses for this curriculum. At the end of each course description you will find the course cost listed.

The following CE Courses have provider approvals: The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc. is a licensed Continuing Education Provider in the State of California, Board of Registered Nursing, Provider # CEP 15595.

1. Death, Dying & Mourning

This online CEU course provides a very comprehensive overview of studies, research, and dynamics related to death and dying. Students study many facets of death and dying, as well as major theories, process models, cultural issues, religious issues and other related content. Progression in the course then focuses on processes of mourning and grieving, including effective strategies for assisting the bereaved. Death, dying and mourning is presented also according to various age groups. This course provides for scientific inquiry into death and dying and care of the bereaved. Upon successful completion of this course, students are awarded 30 contact hours of continuing education credits. This course has approvals for Social Workers, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors, Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists, Nurses, and Marriage and Family Therapists. See below for more details.

Course Code: GC 400. Course Cost: $150.00

2. Needs of the Dying

This comprehensive course provides for an in depth journey into the major needs of the dying. The course material provides a very practical approach to this subject matter and leads students to a great awareness of what the dying really do need and want. This course is foundational for anyone who will be working with dying patients. Many issues and needs of the dying are examined with a focus on actual experiences with the dying. Students will examine and learn how to communicate more effectively with the dying. Needed skill sets will be examined, such as active listening and the development of compassionate communications. Students will also examine the physical and emotional experiences of the dying facing different life-challenging illnesses. The physiology of death is also examined. Issues of spirituality are presented with an emphasis on such needs of the dying. By studying the needs of the dying, students grow in awareness of how they may best provide supportive care at the time of life’s transition stage. The role of the pastoral thanatologist in providing compassionate care becomes more real.

Course Code: PT 450. Contact hours of education = 40 hours. Course Cost: $150.00

3. Physical, Emotional and Pastoral Care of the Dying Patient

Welcome to Physical, Emotional and Pastoral Care of the Dying Patient. This comprehensive CE course provides a very comprehensive overview of studies, research, and dynamics related to the care of the dying patient. I’m pleased to offer you this course. This is an exciting course. This course identifies the spiritual and emotional needs of dying patients. It presents means for pastoral care, spiritual guidance and support to meet those needs. This course will provide practical, specific intervention strategies in grief, dying and death.
Course Code: PT 460. Contact hours of education = 40 hours. Course cost: $150.00

4. Bereavement Ministry and Support Groups

This continuing education course provides an overview of concepts, dynamics, and practical teaching related to engaging in bereavement ministry and construction and facilitation of grief support groups. Adult learners will be exposed to what it means to minister to mourners of various ages, both in and out of a support group context. Anecdotal accounts of mourners’ experiences will be presented, along with seasoned practitioners’ perspectives on providing caring and respectful bereavement ministry as well as effective grief support group programs. Progression in the course then focuses on better understanding how to minister to the bereaved from a faith as well as a practical perspective, how to walk with the bereaved on an individual basis, and assisting grief processing via group method.  This course provides a contemplative, functional, and practitioner-oriented presentation of issues regarding bereavement ministry and support group leadership.

Course Code: PT 470 Contact hours of education = 40 hours. Course cost: $150.00

5. Pastoral Response to Multiple Social/Cultural Variable in Grief and Thanatology

With the world becoming smaller, pastoral and medical caregivers must have the additional training and resources to handle the demands of a multicultural pool of patients.  Caregivers need to be sensitive to the spiritual, cultural and religious needs of an individual and also be well trained in dealing with end of life ethical decision making with the patient and family.  This course helps to introduce these new concepts to the caregiver and give them an in depth guide to potential issues that can arise in their care giving.  This course not only deals with dying concerns but also adds a variety of grief situations as well.  This bonus makes this course a very complete guide for caregivers who wish to help grieving people. Upon completion of this course, students are awarded 40 contact hours of continuing education credits.

Course Code: PT480. Course Cost: $150.00

6. Pastoral Care of Families of the Dying

This continuing education course provides an overview of studies, research, and dynamics related to pastoral care of families of the dying. Adult learners will study theories on the role of faith in contexts of dying and grieving, family systems, perspectives of pastoral care over family issues, and other related content. Progression in the course then focuses on processes of faith development, pastoral care for dying persons, pastoral care for mourning and grieving family units and members, ideas on the administration of religious resources in grief-related contexts, and the importance of self-care for the pastoral care practitioner.

This course provides a theoretical and functional presentation of issues regarding the influence of faith in circumstances of dying in the midst of grieving family systems and methods of approach for the pastoral care practitioner. Upon successful completion of this course, students are awarded 40 contact hours of continuing education credits.

Course Code: PT 490. Course Cost: $150.00

7. Death, Dying, and World Religions

This CE course provides a comprehensive look at world religions and their perspectives on death and dying.  Within the course, you will examine both Eastern and Western philosophies on death and the next life.  Within the personal aspect of death, the course will delve into various ideals of heaven, hell, judgment, reincarnation, and other methods of salvation as seen through the prism of multiple religious ideals.  In addition to personal death, the course also examines the broader elements of eschatology or end times.

This course provides for knowledge acquisition regarding death and dying, specifically related to the religious affiliations of clients. Students will gain a greater insight into client beliefs about death and dying, related to their own beliefs and practices. Upon completion of this course, participants are awarded 40 contact hours of continuing education.

Course Code: PT 500. Course Cost: $150.00

Additional Information:

All candidates for Certification must have achieved one of the following prerequisites:

  • Holds current licensure as a minister/clergy
  • Holds a degree in theology and/or ministry from a legitimate school providing curriculum to meet defined objectives for conferral of a degree.
  • Holds a college level degree in medicine, nursing, or health sciences and is able to document experiences in providing care/support to dying patients, including spiritual care.
  • Holds a legitimate current certification in pastoral care
  • Currently works in pastoral care under the direct supervision of a clergy, church or other type of organization or has a sponsorship by a licensed clergy/minister to study pastoral thanatology.
  • Holds a college level degree in a human behavior related field and has past experience working with the dying.

Candidates must have achieved one of the above prerequisites and must be able to show evidence of the educational requirements as provided above.


Note: candidates must provide official documentation of at least one of the established prerequisites at the time of application for Certification. Failure to provide such documentation and evidence of education requirements will result in rejection of the application.

Continuing Education credit for this Course (GC 400: Death, Dying and Mourning) is awarded by Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES) for the following professions:

Social Workers: CES, provider #1117, is approved as a Provider for Social Work Continuing Education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. CES maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 10/5/15 through 10/5/18. Social Workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval. Social Workers participating in this course will receive 30.0 clinical continuing education clock hours.

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors/Licensed Mental Health Counselors: Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES) is entitled to grant continuing education credit for LCPCs/LMHCs in the following states: AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, ME, MA, MO, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NC, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WI, WY. CES maintains responsibility for this program. LCPCs/LMHCs completing the program will receive 30.0 continuing education hours of credit.

Psychologists: Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES) is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to offer continuing education credit programs. CES maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Psychologists receive 30.0 hours of continuing education credit upon completing this program.

Marriage and Family Therapists: Continuing education credit for Marriage & Family Therapists is awarded in the following states: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IN, IA, KS, ME, MD, MO, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NC, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WI, WY. CES maintains responsibility for this program. Marriage and Family therapists completing this program will receive 30.0 CE hours of credit.

Nurses:  As an American Psychological Association approved provider CES programs are accepted by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Every state Board of Nursing accepts ANCC approved programs except California and Iowa, however CES is also an approved Continuing Education provider by the California Board of Registered Nursing, (Provider Number CEP15567) which is also accepted by the Iowa Board of Nursing. Nurses completing this program receive 30.0 CE hours of credit.