Overview of Army Chaplain
What is a Chaplain?
The Army chaplain is an experienced religious leader dedicated to serving Soldiers and families. Chaplains provide ministry worldwide, accompanying Soldiers and families as they carry out their units’ missions in both peace and war. Chaplains are charged to nurture the living, care for the wounded and honor the fallen.
The Army Chaplain Mission
A chaplain’s mission is to bring Soldiers to God and God to Soldiers. America calls on our Army to fight and win our nation’s wars and Army chaplains are there every step of the way. Whether in training or operations, Army chaplains represent hundreds of American denominations and faith traditions and fulfill a sacred calling of service captured in our motto, “Pro Deo et Patria” (for God and country).
Selecting a vocation as an Army chaplain means enjoying the pay and benefits of the military while making a difference in the world.
Chaplain Candidate Program
Our Chaplain Candidate Program is designed for ministerial students who desire to explore the Army chaplaincy while still in school. All Chaplain Candidates are commissioned officers assigned to the Army Reserve.
• Complete or possess a baccalaureate degree (120 semester hours) from an accredited university; college seniors may apply within six months of graduation
• Able to secure an endorsement for military service from your faith group
• Enrolled or accepted as a full-time student in an accredited graduate program that will qualify applicant for ordination/ministry
• Pass a military physical exam
• Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
• Pass a National Agency Security Clearance
Should you decide to become an Army chaplain by participating in the CCP, you will have a head start on entering the Army as a chaplain and enjoy the many benefits and privileges associated with being an Army officer. The training and experience you will receive as a Chaplain Candidate will enhance your ministerial education and training.
The Army has established itself as the world’s most respected institution in leadership training and will equip you to be a spiritual leader of Soldiers. This begins with attendance at the Chaplain Basic Officers Leadership Course conducted by the U.S. Army Chaplain School and Center at Fort Jackson, SC.
Chaplain Basic Officers Leadership Course (CH-BOLC)
All Chaplain Candidates must attend CH-BOLC. Candidates may opt to split CH-BOLC during the summer periods of graduate studies. Candidates who enter the CCP as seniors in seminary may complete all of CH-BOLC at once.
Chaplain Candidates have an opportunity to enroll in a practicum during the summer in order to shadow and active duty chaplain. Chaplain Candidates may participate in these mentorship programs at Army installations. While practicums may vary in length, candidates may be involved in chapel ministry, hospital ministry, prison ministry, and basic training ministry. While serving on a practicum, Chaplain Candidates earn their respective salary and allowances.
Army Chaplain (Full Time - Active Duty)
Active Duty is similar to working at a full-time civilian job.
Active Duty chaplains serve almost every type of unit, including Special Operations, infantry, aviation, intelligence, hospitals, prisons, cyber, and community ministries. The Chaplain Corps also offers select chaplains advanced graduate degrees and specialized ministries in ethics, world religions, hospital ministry, and marriage and family counseling. You could be stationed in the United States, or in one of 180 countries around the world.
While Soldiers are at the heart of the chaplain’s ministry, chaplains are also responsible for the Soldier’s family. Family members often need spiritual encouragement, counseling and prayer. Through leading worship, preaching, administering the sacraments, or conducting retreats, chaplains execute a rich and full ministry to the Army.
Army Chaplain (Part Time - Army Reserves)
You're already busy in the life of your faith community. You have a clear calling where you currently serve, but you want to serve your nation. Why not expand your ministry by serving part-time in our nation's Army Reserve or Army National Guard?
Army Reserve Chaplaincy
The U.S. Army Reserve is the part-time force that provides essential capabilities to the Army, giving them added scale and scope to respond to challenges at home and abroad. As a chaplain in the Army Reserve, you will be able to pursue a civilian ministry while you train near home and serve your community. You will spend one weekend a month on duty and two weeks a year in training.
Army Chaplain Requirements:
We are looking for religious leaders who:
- Are not older than 42 by the date they commission into the Army.
- Have completed their basic theological education for their denomination or faith tradition (often the Master of Divinity degree).
- Have completed at least two years of post-theological education professional experience in their denomination or faith tradition (applies to active duty only).
- Are ordained and endorsed by their denomination or faith tradition to serve in one of the components of the Army.
- Have served a minimum of two years in a full-time professional capacity as a member of a denomination or faith group, validated by an endorsing agency (this requirement does not apply to Army Reserve or Army National Guard applicants).
You must obtain an ecclesiastical endorsement from your faith group.
This endorsement should certify that you are:
- A clergy person in your denomination or faith group.
- Qualified spiritually, morally, intellectually and emotionally to serve as a chaplain in the Army.
- Sensitive to religious pluralism and able to provide for the ‘free exercise’ of religion by all military personnel, their family members and civilians who work for the Army.
In order to qualify as an Army Chaplain, you must possess the following degrees from accredited institutions:
- A baccalaureate degree of no less than 120 semester hours.
- A graduate degree in theological or religious studies, and at least 72 semester hours in graduate work.
- U.S. citizens can apply for active duty, the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.
- You must be able to obtain a security clearance.
- You must pass a physical exam at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS).
- You must be at least 21 years old and under age 42 at the time of active duty commissioning.
- For Army National Guard or Army Reserve commissioning, you must be under the age of 47 at the time of commissioning. If you have prior service in the U.S. military, please talk to your recruiter.
U.S. Army Major & Chaplain Jeff Struecker tells his personal story of survival on the battlefield in Mogadishu that inspired the movie Black Hawk Down. He joined the Military to transform the world but after that night he realized that there is only one force great enough to transform the world, Jesus Christ. He challenges us to transform the world through Jesus wherever we go.
'No Greater Love' director Justin Roberts captured soldiers' experiences during his deployment in Afghanistan.
Nurture the living. Care for the wounded. Honor the fallen. This is the call of the U.S. Army Chaplains Corps.
1st Lt. Alexander Anake, one of the few Buddhist Chaplains in the US Army, explains his philosophy and how he ministers to Soldiers.
The U.S. Army Chaplain Corps is a profession of religious and spiritual Soldiers and leaders who build the spiritual and moral resiliency of the Army family now and for the future. Chaplain (Capt.) Patrick Van Durme is based at Fort Hood, Texas, but travels the world to serve deployed Soldiers and their Families.
Priests go to boot camp to learn how to be military chaplains.
Meet Your Army, with Chaplain (Major General) Paul K. Hurley, U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains.
For more Information about the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps visit: https://www.army.mil/chaplaincorps