How do I Become a Navy Chaplain?

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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 29 March 2019
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Religion and spiritual guidance are an important aspect of Naval life for many sailors. If you want to be involved in this powerful part of the Navy, you might want to become a Navy chaplain, a religious adviser to sailors. A chaplain performs many services, consults sailors, interacts with people and spreads the joy of religion while serving his or her country. This job demands a lot more educational preparation and training than most Navy jobs, but it will provide you with a unique opportunity to help others. You can become a Navy chaplain by gaining the appropriate education, learning about many religions, joining the Navy and being willing to travel and perhaps risk your life in order to help others.

Education is crucial in order to become a Navy chaplain. In most navies, you will not be able to become a chaplain without meeting the strict guidelines for education and/or experience. In the United States Navy, for example, you can attend Naval Chaplain School or be part of a post-graduate seminary school program to be admitted into the service as a Navy chaplain.

Other navies have different requirements. For example, the British Navy requires chaplains to be members of the clergy already. It is best to fully research the requirements of the Navy you want to join.


If you want to become a Navy chaplain, you must be a student of many faiths in addition to your own. Most navies are populated by people of a wide variety of religions, and having an understanding of these beliefs will help you relate to the sailors. You also must be willing to travel, mostly by sea, around the world. An armed forces chaplain rarely stays in one place for long, but you will get to know the men and women on your particular ship. Chaplains are not considered fighting soldiers in most navies, but that does not mean that they are not in harm's way, and if you want to become a Navy chaplain, you must be willing to take this risk.

When you are comfortable with all of these aspects of chaplain life, you will be able to embrace the daily duties of this unique job. If you become a Navy chaplain, you will hold religious services, often ones that appeal to a mass audience and not just one particular religion. You also will be expected to preside over weddings and funerals. Another important aspect of your chaplain job is providing counsel to sailors in times of stress, grief and joy. Finally, in the Navy, you will be expected to interact with civilians when your ship is docked and act in an ambassador-like role.



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