Chaplains provide religious and spiritual care to military personnel, ethical guidance to commanding officers, and partner with social workers and mental health professionals in responding to a variety of issues impacting active duty, reserve, and guard personnel and their families.
Training & Qualifications
To work as a military chaplain, you must be endorsed by a religious group recognized by the Armed Forces Chaplains Board. This Board recognizes about 200 endorsing organizations. While the majority of them are Christian, endorsers from other religious traditions are included. If you are not recognized by one of these endorsing organizations, you will not be eligible to become a military chaplain. Conversations between several groups excluded from this list and the Department of Defense are ongoing and longstanding.
Positions as chaplains with the federal government - in the military, federal prisons, and the veterans administration - require a graduate theological degree, the endorsement of a religious organization (described below), some work experience, and to pass age and physical fitness tests as outlined here.
As federal chaplains, they are required to have 72 hours of graduate education in pastoral studies (M.Div. or its equivalent) and receive branch-specific training at Chaplain Corps schools.