The Navy Chaplain Corps boasts more than 800 Navy Chaplains from more than 100 different faith groups, including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and many others. Each Chaplain is also a Navy Officer, meaning each holds an important leadership role.
Chaplains offer everything from faith leadership, to personal advice, to much-needed solace – all while living up to the guiding principles of the Chaplain Mission:
- Providing religious ministry and support to those of your own faith
- Facilitating the religious requirements of those from all faiths
- Caring for all servicemembers and their families, including those subscribing to no specific faith
- Advising the command in ensuring the free exercise of religion
As a Navy Chaplain, your job spans a broad range of duties. You will support fellow servicemembers during their most joyful moments, and during their most difficult. Your responsibilities might include:
- Conduct worship services in a variety of settings
- Perform religious rites and ceremonies such as weddings, funeral services and baptisms
- Counsel individuals who seek guidance
- Oversee religious education programs, such as Sunday school and youth groups
- Visit and provide spiritual guidance and care to hospitalized personnel and/or their family members
- Train lay leaders who conduct religious education programs
- Promote attendance at religious services, retreats and conferences
- Advise leaders at all levels regarding morale, ethics and spiritual well-being
Navy Chaplains immerse themselves in the daily lives of servicemembers. In what can be best described as a ministry of presence, they are there to offer guidance and insight in the moment, whenever they re needed. You could provide support while on land or at sea, when presiding over religious ceremonies on a base, or when conducting services from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.
TRAINING & ADVANCEMENT
Those pursuing a Chaplain position are required to attend Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, RI. Upon completion, they attend a seven-week course at the Naval Chaplaincy School and Center, also in Newport, RI.
Promotion opportunities are regularly available but competitive and based on performance. It s also important to note that specialized training received and work experience gained in the course of service can lead to valuable credentialing and occupational opportunities in related fields such as family counseling and behavioral therapy.
Navy Chaplains typically continue their education throughout their careers. Opportunities for continuing education are available through the Advanced Education Program while being paid full-time as a Navy Officer. Beyond professional credentials and certifications, Navy Chaplains can advance their education by:
- Pursuing opportunities at institutions such as Naval Postgraduate School (NPS)
- Completing Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) at one of the various service colleges
Also keep in mind: If you re in the process of starting or completing your graduate theological degree, you could potentially enter the Navy Chaplain Candidate Program (CCPO) as a student.
QUALIFICATIONS & REQUIREMENTS
A candidate seeking to serve as a Navy Chaplain and Officer must:
- Have a bachelor’s degree from a qualified four-year undergraduate educational institutio
- Have a graduate degree in theological or related studies from an accredited educational institution (note that a qualifying degree program requires no fewer than 72 semester hours or 108 quarter hours of graduate-level work with 2/3 of those course hours completed in residence; also note that related studies may include graduate courses in pastoral counseling, social work, religious administration and similar disciplines when one-half of the earned credits include topics in general religion, world religions, the practice of religion, theology, religious philosophy, religious ethics and/or the foundational writings from the applicant’s religious tradition)
- Have two years of full-time religious leadership experience that’s compatible with the duties of a Religious Ministry Professional (RMP) in their respective Religious Organizations (RO) and relevant to the settings of military chaplaincy
- Must be able to obtain an Ecclesiastical Endorsement from a religious faith organization registered with the Department of Defense.
General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you re currently serving, whether you ve served before or whether you ve never served before.
To learn more and see if you qualify to serve as a Navy Chaplain, please call 855-###-####.