As a Religious Program Specialist in the Navy, your role could give you the opportunity to:
- Support clergy of all faiths in the facilitation of religious activities
- Provide physical security for Chaplains during field exercises and in combat environments
- Maintain records, ecclesiastical documents and references for various faith groups
- Operate, manage and maintain religious ministry facilities afloat and ashore
- Assist in the preparation of devotional and religious educational materials and audiovisual displays
- Handle all phases of the logistical support requirements for religious programs aboard ships, at shore stations and hospitals and for Marine Corps units and other sea service commands
- Operate/maintain libraries and publicize the command’s religious activities
- Work under the oversight of Navy Chaplains
Wherever Chaplains are stationed, Religious Program Specialists are there to assist. Working indoors, in the field, on bases, in hospitals or in combat situations, they may serve literally anywhere in the world.
Training & Advancement
Upon completion of initial 7–9 week training at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes (known as Boot Camp), those pursuing a Religious Program Specialist role report to the Naval Chaplaincy School & Center at Fort Jackson, SC, where they receive formal Navy training at “A” School for 8 weeks. From there, Religious Program Specialists attend “C” School for 5 weeks of Marine combat training.
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 opportunities in related fields in the civilian sector.
Beyond offering access to professional credentials and certifications, Navy training in the field of religion can translate to credit hours toward a bachelor’s or associate degree through the American Council on Education.
You may also continue your education through undergraduate degree opportunities like the Navy College Program and Tuition Assistance and the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
Qualifications & Requirements
A high school diploma or equivalent is required to become an Enlisted Sailor as an RP in the Navy. Those seeking a Religious Program Specialist position must be U.S. citizens, possess a valid driver’s license, be able to type 30 words a minute and understand that their work schedule may require duties to be performed in the evenings and on weekends and holidays. Religious Program Specialists must be supportive of clergy and people of all faiths, set high standards and be of good moral character.
Serving part-time as a Navy Reserve Sailor, your duties will be carried out during your scheduled drilling and training periods. During monthly drilling, Religious Program Specialists in the Navy Reserve typically work at a location close to their homes.
For Annual Training, Religious Program Specialists may serve anywhere in the world, whether on a ship at sea, bases and installations on shore or in the field. Take a moment to learn more about the general roles and responsibilities of Navy Reserve Sailors.
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.
Religious Program Specialists in the Navy Reserve serve in an Enlisted role. Before receiving the ongoing professional training that comes with the job, initial training requirements must be met.
For current or former military Enlisted service members: prior experience satisfies the initial Recruit Training requirement – so you will not need to go through Boot Camp again.
For those without prior military experience: you will need to meet the initial Recruit Training requirement by attending Boot Camp for seven to nine weeks in Great Lakes, IL. This training course will prepare you for service in the Navy Reserve and count as your first Annual Training.