Students accepted into Upstate's CPE program generally begin as Level I students. CPE Standards define Level I by distinct learning objectives and outcomes that range from the ability to initiate a helping relationship to being able to articulate one's religious heritage as it impacts pastoral care.
The CPE Standards describe Level II as having accomplished the Level I learning outcomes and working at a greater depth and with intent, generally, towards national chaplaincy board certification. At Upstate, a student must complete two units of Level I CPE before applying to be accepted as a Level II student. Students who have prior CPE training at another center and who wish to enter as a Level II student will be assessed on a case-by-case basis during the application process. An Upstate student is required to meet a consultation committee composed of several CPE Professional Advisory Council members and a certified chaplain to assess readiness to function as a Level II student.