Chaplain Navy Commissioned Officer Job Overview

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The Navy Chaplaincy is an exciting opportunity to bring spiritual values and guidance to the men and women of the sea services. If you are looking for unparalleled opportunities to serve God and country while ministering to people in diverse and dynamic settings, the Chaplain Corps offers you a future filled with possibilities. Chaplain Corps officers are religious professionals in spiritual care. They work in collaboration with all Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard commands throughout the world to deliver religious ministry to active duty personnel and their families. The areas of responsibility include:

- Navy ships at sea, homeported in the continental United States and overseas.
- Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard units and chapels at home and around the world.
- Navy hospitals near military bases.
- Service academies and military training schools.

Specific job elements for a first tour. Navy Chaplains conduct religious services, provide pastoral counseling, give spiritual leadership, supply religious education, facilitate the free exercise of religion for all faith groups, serve men and women of many religious backgrounds and work in a truly interfaith setting. Wherever assigned, you'll be a member of a highly professional, committed team. The Navy welcomes applicants who meet specific eligibility and educational requirements and who wish to begin the highly competitive process that leads to a commission in the Navy Chaplain Corps.


Chaplain Candidate Program Officer - This program is designed to expose seminary students to the diverse and demanding ministry of Navy chaplains serving sea service personnel in a variety of settings. Chaplain candidates wear the uniform and receive pay and benefits only while on annual training.

Active Duty - This program leads to a direct commission as a Naval Reserve officer on three years of active service. Chaplains on active duty may apply for an indefinite extension and a regular commission after selection and promotion to Lieutenant Commander.

Reserve Duty - This program leads to a commission as an officer in the Naval Reserve and a commitment of two days each month for drills and two weeks of annual training. While remaining in their civilian careers, Naval Reserve chaplains also have the opportunity to serve their country and accumulate points toward retirement. Naval Reserve chaplains also may apply for temporary or full-time active duty assignments.


Age: At least 21 and not older than 38 at the time of graduation from seminary.

Applicants must be "able to graduate by age 38", i.e., less than 39 upon graduation. For example, an applicant who is just beginning their graduate education program generally must be 36 years old or younger; applicants already in their second year of graduate studies generally must be 37 or younger; and applicants in their final year generally must be able to graduate by age 38 ( i.e. less than/before age 39). It allows applicants to meet the additional 2 years of required ministry experience before their 40th birthday. Contact your Region Chaplain Field Recruiter, or the Program Manager (N342), for clarification as necessary.


120 semester hours for an undergraduate degree, plus enrolled full-time in an accredited graduate program.


- Chaplain School (approximately 45 days).

Vision/Med: N/A


- Approval by the applicant's Ecclesiastical Endorser required.
- Peer recommendations required, including approval of graduate program.

Service Obligation:

Total 8 yrs USNR Ready Reserve.
- Not subject to recall or mobilization while in a 1945 status.
- No annual or weekend drill obligations.
- Annual on-the-job-training (OJT) periods, with pay, strongly encouraged

Special Info:

- ENS while in theological school; promoted to LTJG upon graduation. (Do accrue longevity for pay purposes while in program = 20% increase in base pay over Chaplain DA)

- Chaplain interview required (O-4 or above recommended; DC interviews NOT required).

Non-paid program. May apply for training at Chaplain School, held in June, September or January, after commissioning. Students are paid while in Chaplain School/OJT status only.

Additional training may be available, e.g., an additional period of up to 26 days of on-the-job-training. Limits per FY may apply. Exceptions considered upon request.