Affiliation and Designated Affiliation – new applications

A comprehensive demarcation of the profession consists of a full description of the scope of practice of clearly specified designations registered on the NQF by SAQA. As defined by SAQA, a “professional designation means a title or status conferred by a professional body in recognition of a person’s expertise and/or right to practise in an occupational field.”

This consistent structure of designations enables a concrete career path for practitioners. Furthermore, career path development can be based on a formal Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme.

Registration with CPSC automatically implies affiliation with ACRP. However, note that this registration is with ACRP/CPSC and not with SAQA itself.

The ACRP designations and CPSC subcategories

The table below indicates the four ACRP designations, the seven CPSC subcategories, qualification required as well as its level in terms of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

ACRP designationCPSC subcategoryQualificationNQF level
Religious Practitioner1Religious Practitioner in Christian Pastoral Caregiving Basic course in the field of Pastoral and Spiritual Caregiving-
Advanced Religious Practitioner2Advanced Religious Practitioner in Christian Pastoral CaregivingQualification in the field of Pastoral and Spiritual Caregiving4
Religious Professional3Basic Religious Professional in Christian Pastoral CounsellingHigher Certificate or Diploma in the field of Pastoral and Spiritual Counselling5 or 6
4Intermediate Religious Professional in Christian Pastoral CounsellingBachelors degree in Religious Studies/Theology, Pastoral Counselling  focussed7
5Advanced Religious Professional in Christian Pastoral CounsellingHonours degree in Religious Studies/Theology, Pastoral Counselling  focussed8
Religious Specialist6Religious Specialist in Christian Pastoral CounsellingMasters degree in the field of Pastoral and Spiritual Counselling9
7Advanced Religious Specialist in Christian Pastoral CounsellingDoctoral degree in the field of Pastoral and Spiritual Counselling10

Levels of CPSC affiliation

The three levels of CPSC affiliation are as follows:

  • CPSC associated affiliates are those interested in, but not qualified in pastoral counselling, nor actively involved in the pastoral counselling field. No CPD points are required for this level of affiliation. Pensioners and full-time students can also apply for this level of affiliation. 
  • A person qualified in pastoral counselling and actively involved in the pastoral counselling field must apply for “CPSC designated affiliation”. The required number of  CPSC CPD points needed can be collected as the affiliate prefers and they do not need to be part of a structured CPD programme. Designated affiliation would imply that the required qualifications are met and the applicant is adhering to the appropriate Scope of Practice.
  • “Non-designated affiliation” accommodates those applicants actively involved in pastoral counselling but without the necessary qualifications, with compulsory participation in a structured CPSC CPD program, towards acquiring a designation.

NOTE:  It is really important to rather apply for designated affiliation if you already hold the required qualifications. The requirements for the lower designations are easily met - these categories provide even for pastoral caregivers.

The Association of Christian Religious Practitioners (ACRP) is the professional body for:

  • the Council for Pastoral and Spiritual Counsellors (CPSC), the specialist council specifically for Pastoral Counselling
  • the Council for General Ministry Practitioners (CGMP), the specialist council specifically for Christian ministers
  • the Council for Ministry Training Practitioners (CMTP), the specialist council specifically for Ministry Training

This website is focused on the specialist council specifically for Pastoral Counselling in South Africa. For more information in the other specialist areas, see the ACRP website.

To ensure registration in the proper council, Christian religious practitioners should carefully consider the relevant specialist area that they are trained for, qualified in and are currently practicing in. Application for the wrong council may lead to unnecessary delay.