What Are The Requirements To Be A Military Chaplain

What Are The Requirements To Be A Military Chaplain


Equipping You For Service Within The Service

CHAPLAIN 101: HOW TO BECOME A CHAPLAIN! Learn the basic requirements for becoming an Army Chaplain.

If you are looking for a way to serve God and minister to the soldiers, airmen, sailors, and Marines of our country, consider becoming a military chaplain throughGrace Theological Seminarys Master of DivinityChaplaincy Studies degree. The degree will provide a solid biblical and theological foundation as well as a balanced training of pastoral counseling skills and intercultural studies, and is designed to prepare students to answer the Lords call to a life of service within the service.

Can I Choose Which Military Branch I Would Serve As Chaplain

Yes. Candidates are free to choose whether they wish to serve with the Army, Navy, or Air Force. The Coast Guard and the Marine Corps are served by Navy chaplains.

What if my bishop or I discern that I should not be a military chaplain?

The decision to end a candidates status as a Chaplain Candidate or a Reservist whether by the candidate, his bishop, or the military service removes you from the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program. Termination of this program, however, does not directly affect your status as a seminarian or priest of the local diocese or religious community.

Become A Chaplain Candidate

The Chaplain Candidate programs are for those who are interested in serving as a Chaplain but have not yet completed their graduate education or received local church ordination. Chaplain Candidates must have completed their undergraduate studies, be accepted or enrolled in a Master of Divinity program at an accredited seminary or are not ordained at the time of commissioning. Generally those interested in becoming Chaplain Candidates must apply and be accepted before their 36th birthday. Like all military officers, they must meet the physical, moral, educational and legal requirements for military service. Chaplain Candidates can receive pay and benefits for participation in military training opportunities. In some cases, tuition assistance is available. Interested persons must check with the Chaplain Recruiter for the branch in which they desire to serve.

You May Like: Does Cox Give Military Discount

Become A Military Chaplain

Ephesians 4 tells us that the Lord gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. We believe he also gave military chaplains pillars of light in a specialized setting outside the local church context.

How To Become A Military Chaplain

Military chaplains deployed in pandemic

Chaplains have been present throughout military history to support the emotional and spiritual well-being of the troops. Even in the 21st century, all of the service branches recognize that beyond just beans, bullets, and band-aids, servicemembers and their families require sustenance of a less tangible nature, regardless of their specific religious beliefs. That’s why chaplains are still around in all of the service branches

But the way the chaplain program works might seem pretty peculiar to those who think in terms of the local minister, priest, rabbi, et cetera spiritual leaders in the civilian community who often cater to one specific flock. Although GoArmy.com maintains that “each chaplain ministers according to the tenets of his or her distinctive faith community,” every branch also insists on an atmosphere of plurality and tolerance.

That’s not just open-mindedness. It’s practicality: There are no restrictions on one’s religious beliefs in order to join the military, and there’s also no way serve such a diverse population by employing chaplains for each and every religion represented at every base and installation around the globe. Instead, chaplains are asked to “adapt and overcome” by serving all soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines with a spirit of tolerance and religious pluralism. In fact, the Air Force website lists “understand all major theologies” as a chaplain career task.

You May Like: Does Sears Have Military Discount

Earning A Master’s Degree

To become a certified chaplain, and in some cases, to become an ordained minister, you will need to hold a masters degree. Generally, this is a Masters of Divinity or Theology, but some universities offer other graduate degrees in Religion. These programs offer more advanced studies in religion, including in-depth studies of the Bible and church history. Again, some of these programs, especially those that are aimed at preparing students for church leadership, will go into psychology, communication and counseling.

Roles Of The Chaplains Family

The choice to become a military chaplain is an important decision and should not be taken lightly. Frequently, chaplains are away from their families and friends for significant periods of time. Nevertheless, the opportunity to serve others and make a difference in their lives is an important aspect of the chaplaincy. The chaplains family is an essential part of this service:

Read Also: Does Cox Give Military Discount

What Denomination Is A Chaplain

Pastors have a church as their base, and the church has a specific Catholic or protestant denomination. Chaplains are based in a community rather than a particular church. Although they apply to be chaplains through their own church, they are trained to minister to all faiths.

Education Qualifications And Training


The Air Force has strict requirements for individuals who wish to join as a Chaplain.

This is to ensure that people who wish to serve as a Chaplain can meet not only the physical requirements but have the experience to give proper support.

When you join, you will be commissioned as an officer and the actual rank you will receive will be dependent on the education level and experience.

You May Like: Does Sears Have Military Discount

Salary And Job Outlook For Military Chaplains

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics includes military chaplains in the broad category of clergy and reports that their annual median salary is $50,400. The salary can range based on a chaplains years of experience, education level, and job location, among other factors. The size of a base or camp can impact how much a chaplain earns. However, salaries in the highest 10% of the range average $86,970. In addition to salaries, chaplains may receive free on-site housing or a housing allowance, medical and retirement benefits, vacation pay, and other incentive payments from the U.S. military.

The BLS projects the number of jobs for clergy, including chaplains, will grow by 4% between 2019 and 2029, which is the same as the average projected growth for all jobs. Since 1789, the U.S. government has required chaplains to hold positions in the army, federal prisons, and the Veterans Administration. Even though not all military personnel have religious affiliations, the government ensures that they will have access to spiritual care providers should they want or need them. As long as members of the military continue to serve their country, the need for religious ministers and chaplains will be present.

What Are The Duties Of A Chaplain

The chaplains responsibilities include performing religious rites, conducting worship services, providing confidential counseling and advising commanders on religious, spiritual and moral matters. Chaplains are commissioned officers stationed wherever there are military members, including combat environments.

Read Also: Navy Seal Underwater Swim

What Can I Do Now To Prepare For Chaplaincy

My first recommendation is to focus on your faith. Men and women in uniform deserve the most competent ministers of the gospel in our country. Youre going to need to understand your faith and be able to communicate your faith in ways that others can understand it, in order for you to be a successful Army chaplain.

If youre still in high school or college and considering the chaplaincy, my recommendation would also be to focus on your education. The education requirements for military chaplaincy is very high. This is the US militarys way of ensuring that the men and women who minister to the military are qualified and competent in their faith. You cant stumble your way through school and be an exceptional chaplain at the same time.

The Young/schumacher Chaplaincy Candidate Scholarship Program

How To Become A Chaplain In The Army

Sponsored by Grace Brethren Investment Foundation, Inc. and The Eagle Commission.

The Young/Schumacher Chaplaincy Candidate Scholarship Program, in memory and honor of Grace Alumni Dr. Jerry Young and Dr. John Schumacher , is designed to offer financial assistance to qualified students who are attending graduate schools of theology and are preparing for an active-duty or reserve career ministry as a chaplain in the US Armed Forces. Recipients of this scholarship must be members of or currently attending a local church in the Charis Fellowship. They must also be accessioned as Chaplain Candidates in one of the military branches. The applicant affirms that his plans are to pursue a ministry in the chaplaincy and further agrees to repay any funds awarded should those plans change. For every year of active-duty service, 25% of the cumulative funds awarded will be forgiven.

For information and an application form:

Please contact Dr. Mark Penfold and now Charis Fellowship Endorsing Agent, Chaplaincy Ministries, at or via the Eagle Commission Contact Us link at www.eaglecommission.org.

Also Check: How To Obtain Military Records Of Deceased Relative

Provision Of Chaplains Civilian Officiants And Chaplain Services

For the purposes of article 33.06, the responsibilities of a commanding officer include

  • providing a chaplain or a civilian officiant under their command with every assistance in the provision of chaplain services
  • providing for chaplain services on recognized days of religious and spiritual observance
  • providing adequate accommodation and facilities for conducting chaplain services and
  • providing officers and non-commissioned members and the families of officers and non-commissioned members with the opportunity to receive additional chaplain services if desired.
  • If a base, unit or other element has a position of chaplain but the position is vacant, the chaplain is unable to provide chaplain services because of temporary duty, illness or leave or additional chaplain services are required, a commanding officer may provide a civilian officiant for the base, unit or other element.

    If a base, unit or other element does not have a position of chaplain, the officer commanding the command or formation shall ensure that

  • a chaplain or a civilian officiant is provided or
  • other adequate provision is made for the officers and non-commissioned members at that base, unit or other element and the families of those officers and non-commissioned members to receive chaplain services.
  • What Can You Learn In Our Master Of Divinity Professional Chaplain Degree

    Liberty Universitys chaplaincy programs are taught by experienced military chaplains who provide real-world experience and practical application methods. Our program can help you meet the militarys chaplain requirements. Students pursuing their military chaplain degree online will receive chaplain training on effective expository preaching. You will also explore the biblical nature of chaplain ministry and its application to military, healthcare, and community chaplain settings.

    In counseling and pastoral care courses, you will study methods and practices of biblical ethics in evangelism preparing you for a number of future counseling roles. Learn to advise and care for our service members with our Master of Divinity in Military Chaplaincy degree online.

    You have the option to complete one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education as part of this program. In CPE, you will be supervised by a Liberty-trained mentor to develop your ability to provide pastoral care. You have the flexibility to take your courses online or residentially as an intensive.

    Featured Courses

    Also Check: Can You Join The Navy With Autism

    What Is The Pay Like For A Chaplain In The Air Force

    The officers rank will be based on the education and experience they have.

    All individuals in the Air Force get paid the same based on rank and years of service.

    As an officer with less than 2 years experience in the Second Lieutenant rank , you can expect to receive just over $3,100 base pay monthly.

    What Is The Hardest Part About Being A Chaplain

    Qualifications for the U.S. Army Chaplain Candidate Program

    One of the most challenging parts of being an Army chaplain is the demands shat it will place on a family. Serving in the military itself can be overwhelming to a family. If you want to be a successful military chaplain, youre going to have to figure out how to give time and attention to your family at the same time that youre meeting the demands of life in the military.

    A second challenge that I faced as a military chaplain is the physical demands of being a soldier. Depending on the type of unit that you find yourself in a chaplain is expected to be able to meet the physical requirements of any other soldier in that unit. Soldiering is not easy! Serving our country will often take you to your physical limits. I recommend that you get in excellent physical condition and stay in excellent physical condition if you want to be a successful military chaplain.

    The last challenge that I experienced as an Army chaplain was ministering to families after their soldiers had been killed. It was heart-wrenching to lose a soldier whom I loved deeply when he was killed in my unit. What made this even more of a challenge as a chaplain, was ministering to that family after that soldier had been killed. I called this my terrible privilege. It was terrible to have to minister to a family in that kind of loss. It was a privilege to be the minister asked to do this on behalf of the country.

    Also Check: Does Sears Have Military Discount

    What Was The Chaplain Basic Course Like

    The chaplain basic course was an opportunity for me to learn what ministry looked like through the eyes of other faith groups. The U.S. Army selects chaplains from a multitude of different religious backgrounds. Many of those I have never personally interacted with until sitting in the same classroom in the Chaplain Basic Course. I consider this a great privilege to learn what ministry looked like from other faith backgrounds.

    The chaplain basic course also teaches chaplains how to be a soldier. I already had 13 years of enlisted experience in the Army before I went through the basic course. Frankly, this part of the basic course was very easy for me. As I look back on it now, I think that period of the basic course could be very challenging for someone who comes to the chaplaincy with no military background. I think the basic course struck the perfect combination of giving a chaplain the basic skills necessary to be a soldier in the Army.

    Are Chaplains Allowed To Train With Firearms

    Army regulation determines that chaplains are not allowed to carry a weapon in combat. This was agreed upon by the United States government and other nations of the world as part of the Geneva Accords. The prohibition from carrying a weapon means that the chaplain is considered a noncombatant on the battlefield.

    In training, however, the chaplains ability to train with the firearm is largely governed by the unit commander. Many commanders dont allow their chaplains to train with firearms even when the rest of the unit is training in this manner. Some commanders strongly encourage chaplains to be at the firing range with the rest of the soldiers from the unit. Therefore, the answer to this question largely will be answered by the type of unit the chaplain is assigned and the individual commander to that unit.

    Read Also: Does Sears Have Military Discount

    Responsibilities Of Military Chaplains

    As members of commanders staffs, chaplains serve as moral, ethical, and spiritual advisers to their commanders. They ensure that individuals are afforded religious freedom and oversee the unit and base religious programs. Much of their work is done one on one with service members and their families. They must be able to minister effectively in a pluralistic religious environment, respecting and accommodating members of all faiths, without compromising their own religious beliefs.

    In addition to the ministry functions listed under General Ministry Responsibilities, military chaplains have the following responsibilities:

    • Advise commanders regarding the impact of religion on military operations.
    • Minister aboard Navy and Coast Guard ships at sea and during combat operations.
    • Develop and support chapel-sponsored youth activities, youth vacation scripture study programs, and religious education programs.
    • Teach classes to service members on topics of religion, ethics, leadership, and other topics that build moral character in men and women.
    • Provide pastoral counsel to service members and families during times of crisis, and support them in the many challenges they face during military deployments and periods of family separation.
    • Work closely with local priesthood leaders in the activation and retention of less-active military members.

    Highlights Of Our Master Of Divinity In Professional Chaplaincy Degree

    7 things you probably didn
    • We are recognized by multiple institutions for our academic quality, affordability, and accessibility. Our commitment to excellence also helped us rank among Niche.coms top 5 online schools in America. Earning your online Master of Divinity degree from a nonprofit university with this kind of recognition can help set you apart from others in your field.
    • Your success is our success, which is why we are committed to providing quality academics at an affordable tuition rate. While other colleges are increasing their tuition, we have frozen tuition rates for our undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs for the past 6 years and counting.
    • Liberty Universitys John W. Rawlings School of Divinity has been accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools . Your divinity degree has been approved by ATS and has met rigorous accreditation standards, so you can feel confident that your degree is both academically excellent and well-respected among churches, ministries, and nonprofit organizations.
    • You will have the option of completing one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education as a part of your program.
    • You can complete this Master of Divinity in Professional Chaplaincy Military degree program in 3 years.

    Don’t Miss: Does Cox Give Military Discount

    Popular Articles

    Does Royal Caribbean Have Military Discount

    How Much Is Our Military Discount On Royal Caribbean Cruises ...

    What Branch Of Military Is Right For Me

    The Us Military: A Brief Overview ...

    How To Join Army Nurse Corps

    How To Join Us How to...

    Can I Join The Military At 38

    What Is The High Year Of Tenure In The Us Military ...

    Can You Join The Military With Sickle Cell Disease

    Why Does It Matter Helping families...

    How Does Enlisting In The Army Work

    Job Training And Experience How enlisted...

    Must read

    You might also likeRELATED
    Recommended to you