Online Spiritual Direction Certification

Spiritual Direction Certificate

The Spiritual Direction Certification program will:

  • Enable students to deepen ethical skills and professional practices in spiritual direction
  • Enhance student capacity for noticing and attending to self while maintaining effective spiritual-direction relationships


The Spiritual Direction Certification program is designed to equip individuals who have completed initial spiritual direction training to serve as professional spiritual directors. The program offers scriptural and Christ-centered training from skilled and experienced spiritual directors who are attuned to the vulnerability of the other and noticing the internal dynamics that arise in the context of a contractual relationship.


Students can take advantage of the flexibility of a fully online structure for both certification credits (SFAD 576 & SFAD 577).

If students need to complete spiritual direction prerequisites (see Admission Requirements), those prerequisites may be completed through either hybrid (both online and in person) or in-person courses at Portland Seminary.


Our spiritual formation curriculum is biblically grounded and Christ-centered, and our understanding of spiritual formation involves the intersection of Scripture, theology, and social-cultural factors. The focus of our curriculum, therefore, is on developing awareness, increasing empathy and compassion skills, and building distinct practices that are spiritually centering.

Completion of prerequisites may be required prior to starting certification courses (see Admission Requirements).

Course Requirements

The certification program includes:

  • Successfully completing SFAD 576 Spiritual Direction Certification I and SFAD 577 Spiritual Direction Certification II
  • Completing 30 hours of spiritual direction with at least three persons over one year
  • Receiving 10 hours of supervision
  • Providing a written recommendation from the student’s spiritual-direction supervisor after all supervision and direction hours are complete
  • Passing a final interview with a Portland Seminary spiritual-formation professor
Note: There is a course fee for SFAD 576 and 577 to cover the cost of contracting with program selected spiritual directors and supervisors.

Admission Requirements

  • A graduate theological degree from an ATS-accredited seminary
  • Previous spiritual direction training equivalent to that earned through our spiritual direction specialization OR completion of 14 additional credit hours of prerequisites prior to start of certification. NOTE: The prerequisite courses include an in-person intensive once a semester.

If applicants have experience in spiritual-direction relationships without formal training or if training was completed at another institution (Renovaré, etc.), the seminary will do a leveling evaluation on a case-by-case basis in light of the standards of this certification program.

Explains admissions requirements