What does a Chaplain do?

Learn all about Chaplain duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Chaplain.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A chaplain is a religious leader who provides spiritual guidance and support to people in a variety of settings, such as the military, hospitals, prisons, or schools.

Chaplain job duties include:

  • Advise religious leaders and congregants on religious matters.
  • Provide spiritual guidance and support to individuals and groups.
  • Develop and deliver religious education programs.
  • Plan and oversee worship services.
  • Perform sacramental duties such as baptism, communion, and marriage.
  • Conduct funerals and memorial services.
  • Visit sick or injured individuals in hospitals or other institutions.
  • Provide counseling services to individuals or families experiencing crisis.
  • Serve as a liaison between the community and the church.

Chaplain Job Requirements

There are no specific educational requirements for becoming a chaplain, although most have at least a bachelor's degree. Some chaplains have a master's degree or higher in divinity or religious studies. There are also no specific certification requirements, although many organizations require chaplains to complete a certain amount of continuing education credits each year. Most chaplains have several years of experience working in the clergy or as a counselor before becoming a chaplain.

Chaplain Skills

  • Listening
  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Discretion
  • Respect
  • Counseling
  • Public Speaking
  • Writing
  • Organizational
  • Research
  • Interpersonal

Related: Top Chaplain Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Chaplain

A chaplain is a person who provides religious and spiritual guidance to people in a variety of settings. There are chaplains in the military, hospitals, prisons, and other places where people may be in need of spiritual support. Becoming a chaplain requires completing a bachelor’s degree and completing a professional chaplaincy program.

The first step to becoming a chaplain is to obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Manychaplains have degrees in theology or religious studies, but this is not always required. Once you have completed your undergraduate studies, you will need to complete a professional chaplaincy program. These programs typically last two years and include coursework in pastoral care, counseling, and ethics.

After completing your professional chaplaincy program, you will need to be ordained or commissioned by your chosen faith tradition. Once you have been ordained or commissioned, you will be able to work as a chaplain in a variety of settings.

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