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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:
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:
As a Navy Chaplain, your job spans a broad range of duties, seeing people through some of their most joyful moments to their most personally challenging. And it could include any of these responsibilities:
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.
Serving part-time as a Reservist, your duties will be carried out during your scheduled drilling and training periods. During monthly drilling, Chaplains in the Navy Reserve typically work at a location close to their homes. This gives you the flexibility to minister in the Navy while maintaining responsibilities to your congregation at home.
For Annual Training, Chaplains may serve anywhere in the world, alongside the Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen to whom they minister.
Take a moment to learn more about the general roles and responsibilities of Reservists.
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.
Most of what you do in the Navy Reserve is considered training. The basic Navy Reserve commitment involves training a minimum of one weekend a month (referred to as drilling) and two weeks a year (referred to as Annual Training) – or the equivalent of that.
Chaplains in the Navy Reserve serve in an Officer role. Before receiving the ongoing professional training that comes with this job, initial training requirements must be met.
For current or former Navy Officers (NAVET): Prior experience satisfies the initial leadership training requirement – so you will not need to go through Officer Training again.
For current or former Officers of military branches other than the Navy (OSVET), as well as for Officer candidates without prior military experience: You will need to meet the initial leadership training requirement by attending the 12-day Direct Commission Officer (DCO) School in Newport, RI. This will count as your first Annual Training.
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:
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.
Navy Officer. Beyond professional credentials and certifications, Navy Chaplains can advance their education by:
A candidate seeking to serve as a Navy Chaplain and Officer must:
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 855-904-4002.
A graduate degree of not less than 72 semester hours in theological or related studies is required to work as a Navy Chaplain. Candidates seeking an Officer position in this community must also have a bachelor’s degree from a qualified educational institution and hold an ecclesiastical endorsement from a religious faith organization registered with the Department of Defense.